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Textiles and jewellery

As my own textiles practice has, for the past few years now, been venturing more and more into the jewellery sector, I have built up a real fascination with how textiles and jewellery disciplines have such a fine line between them and so easily blurred. I know that many, many practitioners work in a multi-disciplinary way, with many choosing to not specify which ‘section’ of the art and craft sector they reside – which I equally appreciate as well- but focusing in on just the relationship between more ‘typical’ textiles and jewellery disciplines is a very interesting area of research to me. 

Within my own practice I have begun to really adore things like the contrast between delicate embroidery and metal, the various contrasting joining techniques, the use of traditional fine jewellery construction methods with irregular textile investigations and the question of what actually is precious? The silver, or the time spent laboriously embroidering into discarded piece of lino? 

I thought I would write a post looking at three makers who blur the lines between jewellery, textiles, fashion and art so that you could see examples of exciting work achieving this! 

Lisa Walker constantly questions what exactly jewellery should be and is. Her work is widely renowned for celebrating textiles and objects that wouldn’t typically be used in a jewellery application and uses these non-precious materials to create forms that are often instantly recognisable as say, a brooch or a necklace. I absolutely adore her playful approach and also her quest to really question a viewer’s perception of what makes jewellery valuable. I have shared a link to a video of her explaining a little more about her practice that is really interesting, and I can also really recommend the publication listed at the end of this post too if you can get hold of a copy! It explores some of her methodology and archived works. 

Yuni Kim Lang explores textile processes such as braiding and knotting to discuss social conversations in sculptural context. Her work, even on just a visual level, is exciting in terms of how she applies it to fine art and photography but also pieces of large and not typically sized pieces of jewellery. Her surface details are exquisite, and I really love how she seamlessly drifts between the discipline areas and pushed the boundaries of textile techniques. 

Kay Kahn uses textile techniques and materials to construct work that includes jewellery, sculptures and vessels. Often using text, she creates her textile-based pieces to collect fragments of information and experiences and has an amazing use of colour. 

The more you research into cross-disciplinary makers, the more you see how exciting it is to see just how far your own practice can be pushed. Many textiles students of my own in the past have wrongly assumed they are destined to be in a small, textiles pigeonhole following their studies, but that is so far from the truth. Textiles as a media, a process and an application is so unbelievably diverse, and one of the reasons I can’t think of a better area to create with. 

Lisa Walker Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWBloPRUWs8

Lisa Walker Publication: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/A_Children_s_Guide_to_the_Jewellery_and.html?id=1bKhDwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=y

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Posted by author: Faye Hall
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4 thoughts on “Textiles and jewellery

  • Thank you for this really interesting post, especially the area of jewellery , which connects with my personal specialism of creating 3D objects with water soluble medium and machine thread, your post has made me consider looking into the diverse area of textile jewellery . I particularly loved the last item a bracelet / necklace of Kim Kahn. I must research this artists work. Many Thanks Faye

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