Joanna Graham (She/Her)
Why do ruins hold such significance for us?
In Scotland, large, derelict estate houses retain glimmers of previous ages of grandeur in their architectural details, fireplaces, plaster, tiles, and other decorative elements that remain. With doors and ceilings missing, exposed lath, brickwork, and crumbling plaster, these ruins evoke the kinds of material longing described by Susan Stewart as the translation between past and present, the signifiers of what will endure or dissipate. (Stewart, 2020).
The dramatic imagery and materiality of ruins feature in this series of jewellery objects as markers of the conflicted experiencing of encountering such sites: melancholy, sentimentality, nostalgia and longing, all of which feature as elements of subjective experiences of ruins. Architectural qualities are paralleled in the collection presented, in the use of copper and silver together as these contrast not only in colour but also in value and traditional use, bringing together utility and ornament.
The techniques developed here involve soldering strands of copper and silver together, creating panels of metal that can then be manipulated into 3D forms using many techniques normally applicable to sheet metal. This was an attempt to represent the wooden lath strips found on many ruined walls, and is subsequently applied throughout the collection to create a distinctive overall aesthetic, producing works as individual as the ruins themselves.
Research and Development
A selection of images recording my journey, from the experience, to the final design.