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"I make paper mâché jewellery that resembles enamel. It's light weight and virtually waterproof. My images and working methods are all my own ideas and techniques that I have developed over the last 20+ years. I aimed to bring the original 17th and 18th century techniques of the masters of Papier-Mâché into the 21st century.
My jewellery has sold in U.S.A in the Guggenheim Museum Shop, in Liberty in London in the British Crafts Room, in various galleries in Japan and Europe. In the U.K I sell mainly through Craft Council Selected and similar Independent Galleries.
My way of working is to travel and paint (my degree was in Fine Art and Ceramics) and to develop the paintings in the studio with more details - adding layers of paint and acrylic ink - opaque, transparent, dashes of iridescence and interference mediums, gold, silver and copper leaf plus various extras to recreate the colour and atmosphere of the places I've discovered - the alleys of Venice and Capri, frescoes from Pompeii, Parisian market debris caught in sunlight, reflections in the harbours in the South of France and Cornwall, etc. Very often I will research the history of the places where I find my original images and develop background stories to them.
I've found time and again that the colours in my work evoke passionate responses in the viewers. They tend to recognise something that reminds them of memories in their own life and consequentially really want to own it. Or they see the colours that they see their friends wearing and loving. Whatever it is my work has sold really well over the years and continues to do so.
I cut the work into jewellery sized fragments, each one echoing the whole in different ways. They're then mounted on paper mâché as in the traditional layered technique - I use conservation quality mount board for this - it's even better than the original board used in the 18th century - rather than with the addition of pulped paper - I make other work using that method - beaded necklaces and pressed brooches etc - gilded and scorched.
Process - The fragments of the paintings are sealed with a self adhesive copper tape around the edges and a self adhesive coated aluminium tape on the back and a little along the sides. I apply clear, hard epoxy resin on the surface of the painting - this naturally domes to form a lens that magnifies the image and intensifies the colours. It catches the copper edges, sealing and strengthening the whole piece. Each stage is relatively delicate but together is very strong and durable.
Findings - The eye pins for earrings and pendants are screwed in with the addition of a firm epoxy glue - usually Araldite. Brooch backs are glued in place with a slightly flexible glue - usually Bostick. All findings at this price range have silver plated findings. The earring hooks are from Cooksons and comply with E.U standards. Pendants with silver plated findings come with an 18" length of washable black artificial suede cord. " - Hilary Bravo
Artist Statement :
"I have a B.A in Fine Art and Ceramics and have continued to develop my ideas and methods since I left Art School in the 80's. This in turn lead me to research the history, techniques and art of papier-mâché.
I've painted and made vessels for just as long as I can remember - my next venture is 3D printing. I especially enjoy taking an era from history and delving into it's past whilst making, for example - a series of papier-mâché bowls, plaques, platters or a collection of jewellery based on say - ancient faience, aged iridescent glass, frescoes from Pompeii, the moods of the Arcades of Paris, the colours in Venetian glass, the distressed paintwork on French and Cornish fishing boats or the ever-changing atmospheres of Devon valleys.
This process inevitably leads me to look at details and at fragments - the pottery shards of past civilizations - this is also a way of focusing, of understanding, of slowing down and realizing that information is gathered in fragments from which we construct our personal view of the world we live in. We develop our imagination by use and creativity is the close companion and gift of the imagination - collective and personal.
I love the world I've created - it involves many things now and I'm daily surprised and delighted by the new fragments of understanding that come my way and I'm pleased to report that I am never bored.
I like to research, travel, paint, take photographs, write and make rather beautiful & very unique kinds of jewellery, that are sometimes made from fragments of my paintings or constructions of fine white papier-mâché paste, scorched and gilded or fragments of 18th century clay pipe stems (tobacco) and pearls etc, etc. They're all my talismans from traveling in this world or that of my imagination. Sometimes my daughter accompanies me and we work together on projects.
I use a combination of papier-mâché /mixed media/gesso/resin/beeswax/gold & silver leaf & found objects. And lots of colour - intense and subdued.
I've also been writing for most of my life, poems and fiction plus travel writing. I'm learning about the tools of the internet and finding the whole process fascinating. " - Hilary Bravo
She currently lives and work in Topsham, UK.