New brooch series, new work for Spring

A new brooch series made from pieces of a tin can for Regart, centre d’artistes en art actuel

brooches for encann at Regart


I have been very busy this Spring. I have been slowly working on a new series using pastel colours and different forms. After working with wire for the past couple of years I wanted to do something a little different.

I am taking part in a jewellery exchange. I have already received my brooch fro Miriam Arentz and sent her her’s. I played with new forms and colours, using beading and a variety of cold connections.

At the same time I was working on a series of brooches for an ‘encann’ at Regart, an artist run center in Lévis. They give you a can (a play on words with the encanne, which means auction) which you can fill up or use as a piece of art. The cans were all auctioned off last week.

I can’t share my pieces from the jewellery exchange but can show what I made or Regart plus the process.

I started with the can. I decided to cut pieces into the can then incorporate them in the brooches I was going to make. I knew I would be sewing the brooches together so I drilled holes around the empty spaces and used embroidery thread to fill them in.

can with holes and sewn together, pieces for new brooch series

I coated the thread with paraloid, a plastic that is mixed with acetone to create a liquid which can be painted on. It will soak into a porous material, when the acetone evaporates it leaves behing the paraloid essentially plastifying the material. Then I spray painted the can white.

cut can spray painted for encann at Regart in Lévis, pieces used for new brooch series

I kind of wish I had left it there, but I felt like it was too simple and wanted to add some ‘jewellery’ details. I added gold leaf and pearls for the final product. I am not one hundred percent happy with it, but I didn’t have that much time to complete it (I had a lot in my schedule) and I feel like it was okay.

For the brooches I tried a lot of things. I started by drawing a lot of pictures, and finally settled on using simple geometric forms. I started by using paper to mock up certain forms together. I also practiced some sewing.

paper sample pieces cut and sewn in different forms for new brooch series

I knew what four colours I was going to concentrate on, I also knew I would be using white as a background colour. I cut a bunch of shapes our of copper sheet and powdercoated them.

powder coated pastel pieces for brooches

I was experimenting a lot with beading on the metal, in particular on the can. I decided not use  it for this piece but, I did do some samples and am using it in another piece which is coming up.

powdercoated and sewn samples for brooch series for auction at Regart

I really love the assempbly of these brooches. put toegether the geometric forms which I powdercoated, when I find a group that I find pleasing I temporarily glue them together then drill holes and sew. The brooch mechanism is on a back plate which I attached with tiny machine screws. The shape for the backplate I decide after the first form is sewn together. Everything is built very intuitively, it is layered up without much forethought.

final brooches made from pieces of tin can for auction at Regart

I am really happy with the final result. I find them playful and fun to make.

The form comes originally from an idea of imaginary landscapes. I have been drawing colourful paysages that I have been keeping formally very simple. They are basically hills and valleys in flat colours. I keep coming back to the idea of imaginary landscapes and worlds, it is a theme I have worked with a bit before with installations, but in context of a relationship with a specific place. I have been exploring the idea of entirely imagined spaces as a place to escape to or hide. In my mind this theme is slowly tying into the symbols of frames and cages which I have been working with, but I am still working out the direct links and how to articulate the way the cage and the frame represent the same thing and an imagined landscape is the opposite.



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