Today's Maker Crush Monday artist is Jessica Calderwood. I've been following her work for since her large scale works appeared on both the cover of Metalsmith and 500 Enameled Objects. I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with her back in 2011, on painting and drawing in enamel. Her work appeals to me because she explores the same themes in large scale wall works as well as the more intimate scale of jewelry. Also, because she possesses skills that I do not, like her ability to render the human figure.
More recently, Jessica Calderwood's figures have shifted from 2D to 3D. They have also evolved from glass and metal into clay and textiles. Instead of the heads and faces of the figures, now the entire upper body have been engulfed in flowers. Calderwood says this about her work:
"The series combines flower/botanical forms with fragments of the human body in order to address the narrative of human life cycles: growth, metamorphosis, aging, death. These human/plant hybrids are large, voluptuous, headless, and armless. The flower forms become a negation, a censoring or denial of what lies beneath. These anthropomorphic beings are at once, powerful and powerless, beautiful and absurd, inflated, and amputated. "
The figures become more relateable because the details have been removed, whether the viewer feels them to be hiding something, or merely nameless and faceless. The sculptures also have a wonderful tactile contrast between hard and soft. This same contrast is less obvious in the enamel work, but still present. The soft painted edges contrasting with the physical hardness of the glass.
I've loved seeing the progression of Calderwood's ideas into a three-dimensional form, along with her drastic change in materials. Throughout it all, her voice and aesthetic remains clear. I admire her ability to create such loaded narratives with limited imagery. I have little interest in the human figure, particularly in my own work, but Calderwood's characters draw me in again and again.