While in my fledgling efforts to combine my paper art with my jewelry, I've become fascinated with artists who work across multiple media. I'm particularly interested in jewelers and metalsmiths who interpret their ideas in both metals and a material that may not have been present in their work at the beginning of their career. To better understand how to resolve material issues in my own work, the next few weeks of Maker Crush Monday will feature artists whose work I not only admire aesthetically, but have also successfully crossed or combined media.
This week's feature is on Clare Hillerby, a jeweler and collage artist in Manchester, UK. She holds a BA in Jewellery and Metalsmithing from Edinburgh College of Art in 1997. She moved to Manchester in 2012, and opened her Studio/Shop in 2015. Hillerby says this about her work:
"Surrounding myself in the studio with old postcards, letters, photographs, stamps and maps, dating from around 100 years ago, I create one off and limited edition pieces of jewellery
I source ephemera that has been separated from their original family ties and could otherwise be discarded as worthless. The handwritten messages from unknown characters leads us to question who they were, and transforming them into new pieces of jewellery preserves these finds, and gives them a new life where they can be treasured again
Interesting sections from the found ephemera are extracted then combined with new handmade metalwork. The metalwork elements are influenced by markings in the found papers, and markings found in our urban environment. Contemporary cityscapes with their layers of history are an inspiration for my work."
I first saw Clare HIllerby's work in Lark's 500 series, and was immediately taken with it. Hillerby's sense of design is very much in line with my own. Her use of vintage postcards and other papers adds color and textures softer and more subtle than most gemstones. The clean lines of the frames center your attention on the exquisite handwriting and delicate image within. Simple ovals, teardrops and circles, contrast with more ornate nature of the writing. Hillerby strikes a perfect aesthetic balance between vintage and modern.
You can see the direct relationship between her jewelry pieces and her collages. Sheet silver drilled with precise holes becomes hole puched paper, where Hillerby uses both the positive and the negative dots in her compositions. The collages feel looser, maybe a little softer than the jewelry. The size gives Hillerby more room to play with composition and mark making than in the wearables. Paper frames serve the same purpose as the metal frames, bringing the viewer's attention to details in the larger work.
Hillerby's work ticks all my boxes: the vintage ephemera, the mix of paper and metals, using text as field, ovals, subtle textures and framing devices. Her work is the more fabulous and European version of what I want my work to be. I'm a little jealous, because I'm convinced that the found objects and vintage papers of foreign countries are way more interesting than what I can find here in the states. The beautiful and direct relationship she has between her jewelry and her works on paper is what I'm looking for in my own studio practice. I'm glad I found such an inspiring artist to model my work after.
You can check out her webpage here.
Follow her on Instagram @clarehillerby