Contemporary Craft and Jewellery Showcase at Modern Art Oxford

Contemporary Craft and Jewellery Showcase at Modern Art Oxford

Launching 7 November 2015

In a brand new venture, the Modern Art Oxford Shop will provide a showcasing opportunity for artists across the UK, through an on-going rolling programme of changing “miniature exhibitions” of new work in ceramics, jewellery, textiles and other media.

Modern Art Oxford is committed to supporting the creative sector in all its forms as well as encouraging visitors to support makers directly through buying their work. All the pieces exhibited during the showcases are for sale; prices for handmade work start at just £35. Buying work directly from makers helps ensure that new ideas, works and the artists themselves can grow and develop over time.

In 2016, Modern Art Oxford will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a rich year-long programme, Kaleidoscope, during which the craft and jewellery showcase continues. It will feature work that responds to the exhibition themes, Oxford architecture, ancient Greek vessels, graphic patterns and more. The Shop will also host Meet the Maker events, with opportunities to meet the artists featured in the showcase and learn more about their work and contemporary craft.

Jewellery making in context

In the UK, contemporary jewellery has progressed hugely since the late 1960s and 1970s, when radical artist jewellers rejected ‘preciousness’ based solely on material value and challenged convention and conservative design. The result was an explosion of creative practice, in which ideas were explored in cotton, silk, wood, plastics, leather, rubber, and various metals. More than forty years on, this diversity continues, exploring arenas as varied as lyricism, wit, politics, architecture, and more. Each jewellery showcase highlights a selection of work across a range of styles and materials.

For up-to-date information about the showcase programme, leave your details with the Shop staff on your next visit, or contact them on / 01865 813 811.

Artists on display between 7 November 2015 and 10 January 2016

Barry Stedman – Stedman’s ceramics are influenced by his drawings, sketches and paintings, which are reworked as larger, abstract oil paintings which then inform his work in clay. Working with red earthenware, he slab builds and throws on the wheel before painting, incising and marking with colour slip, stains and oxides. His works are notable for their free and fluid approach to glazing and simple forms that combine colour and texture to create a sense of drama.

“I aim to create a sense of drama that is fresh and exciting, exploring vibrant colour compositions and exploiting the gestural qualities of fluid brush marks and soft clay.” – Barry Stedman.

Sue Christian – Christian is inspired by the geometry, precision and potential of weaving. She works across a range of scales, her textiles exploring the full scope of the simplest of weave structures.

“I buy silk in black and white and use the white to dye all my colours. Sometimes I wind the warp first and dye it; sometimes I dye the yarn in hanks before setting up the loom. Because of this, no two of the dyed scarves are ever exactly the same.” – Sue Christian.

Lisa Swerling – Swerling’s Glass Cathedrals are a series of art-boxes containing tiny, sparkling mise-en-scène and unique miniature portraits. Life provides an endless source of inspiration for Swerling – love, faith, celebration, ambition, nature, buses, even zebras – objects become absurd but also poetic and beautiful when placed in a Glass Cathedral. These artworks allow us to take a step back from the harsh vicissitudes of life and look at ourselves in miniature proportions.

Mirka Janeckova – Janeckova’s designs are based on surrealist automatic drawing and an innovative use of ceramics. Her jewellery is inspired by dreamy landscapes of the deep sea and exclusively made from white materials; porcelain, steel and sterling silver.

“Hand-built porcelain set in silver gives me a freedom of artistic expression. It has the potential to be shaped into any form and challenges restricted traditional faceting of gemstones. Porcelain pieces appear fragile, but are surprisingly durable; casting porcelain in place enables a flow between ceramic and metal forms.” – Mirka Janeckova.


Marlene McKibbin – McKibbin specialises in producing wearable jewellery in non-precious and mixed materials. McKibbin’s work with stainless steel was inspired from a period spent working in Germany, and has a fluid and elegant aesthetic, where delicate rhythms and pattern are drawn in graphic lines of steel.

“Acrylic has been my passion from the very beginning when I was first introduced to it in the 1970s. It has a wonderful tactile quality, yet you can achieve this very crisp hard edge, allowing the light to flow through the structure. Then there is the colour, which I dye by hand, and this is when the material really comes alive.” – Marlene McKibbin.

Malcolm Morris – Morris is a designer and maker of contemporary jewellery, with a continuing fascination for precious metals and gemstones. His fine jewellery background is reflected in the manner in which he sets stones into larger one-off pieces using diamonds, cabochons, faceted stone and pearls to encrust the surface, echoing the richly decorated textures of couture embroidery.

“I am fascinated by microbiology, the way that something potentially dangerous can also appear beautiful and intricate under the microscope. My current work has a sculptural feel, inspired by morphology; the study of the shapes and forms of organisms and how they grow.” – Malcolm Morris.

Clara Vichi – Vichi is a contemporary jewellery designer and maker, who works with mixed metals. Using calligraphy and typography as her inspiration, Vichi also utilises etching as a process.

“My work is an exploration in type, calligraphy and letterforms. Compositions of these, primarily in brooches, enable me to isolate the letter from its semantics and draw the eye to the simple line of the forms. Etching and piercing are the techniques I utilise to realise my graphic pieces with oxidation of the silver for emphasis and definition.” – Clara Vichi.

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