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EVOLVING SPACES: Transitional in Nature. Meet the 24 artists in dialogue with the topic.

Updated: Jan 26






When physical or emotional spaces change in such a way that they can no longer foster our growth or survival, we push forward under new conditions. Shrinking spaces, displacement, feeling cramped, or pursuing freedom, changes of perspective, self-discovery, and the search for safety are some of the many things that can propel us to a new normal.


But what do we find in those liminal spaces? In between what is lost and what will be gained, we may discover what is.


Our 2023/2024 Juried Exhibition is about to start. Here is a comprehensive guide to the amazing work the 24 selected artists have created and the way they engage with Evolving Spaces within the artistic framework.


They were asked to explore ideas of shrinking spaces, displacement, loss, pursuing freedom, changes of perspective, self-discovery, and the search for safety. These artists investigated these liminal spaces in between what is lost and what could be gained and discovered what is.


We encourage you to accompany your visit to the gallery with the artists' thoughts and statements. Please note the order in which the artists are presented in this article follows the placement in the Craft Council of British Columbia Gallery.




Gabbia Brooch

An artistic utopia takes shape in the Gabbia brooch—a canvas of expression and renewal. At its heart, a central construction of rectangular plates, each carrying its unique essence. Like a window opening, the cluster of concrete-pennants, and the final mesh piece form together a 3D symphony of composition. Amidst this artistic narrative, elements of concrete stand as witnesses to transformation. As you wear the Gabbia brooch, embrace the echoes of dynamic rebirth, where every fragment finds its place in the tapestry of resilience.


Matrix Ring

As if emerging from the echoes of an explosive past, the Matrix Ring carries the story of recomposition. A cube of concrete rests at its core, a reminder of strength within the vulnerability of reconstructing oneself. The foundation—a concrete and transparent resin cluster—depicts the bringing of shattered pieces together, thus birthing a new life. With each side you choose to analyze, the Matrix Ring is created to envision the mantra of dynamism and renewal.






Silver Lining

After moving to Canada, in her early forties, she rediscovered herself through moments of fear, embarrassment, reconciliation, and pride. These emotions, woven with pain, shaped her artworks blending tradition and modernity, reflecting profound changes. The silver lines, depicted through delicate silver threads and golden dots on the background of a fractured paisley motif, echoes memories of the homeland and the dynamic interplay within evolving spaces. Her artistic journey mirrors themes of transitioning physical and emotional spaces, the struggle for freedom, and the pursuit of a new normal. This work reflects on spatial limitations, heart changes, cultural shifts, and the silver linings emerging from the dance between loss and gain.





Lindsay MacDonald - www.annalindsay.com


Structure 2

In past bodies of work I have looked to material metaphors of optimism. I have recently begun experimentation with composition, exploring how much I can take away and still achieve a dynamic form. The idea of creating with negative space is compelling to me at this point in my life as my recent journey to motherhood was non-traditional, scientific, and felt like falling into a void. Loving someone who isn't there, someone who has been and gone, someone who now exists miraculously and mysteriously, it all feels so profound, and yet these journeys are common.

I refer to the connection points between these voids with objects and materials. The interactions of which (no matter how tenuous) still achieve balance and lightness.





Wang, Sishi - www.sishiwang.com


Unplaceable

Moving at least once a year in the past decade, I am extremely insecure about owning large things. I keep objects that are small, practical, and as multi-functional as possible. I kept reminding myself that I would be on my way again soon. Without a feeling of belonging and settlement, I must be ready all the time.

A lot of my belongings have been updated and replaced over the years, except my comb. It is a gift made by my dad, the man who had been loving me before I was born. He couldn’t be there when I was born, so he gave me my name 思詩 (Sishi), which means missing and poetry. I lost my first comb from him during a trip. I cried to him over the phone. He told me I got a life warranty on my comb and sent me a new one. It is what helps me feel safe and belong wherever I go.


Home

Jade is important in Chinese culture. Many people in China wear jade everyday without taking it off for years. The way that the jade was set by steel in the center makes me think of the protection and control. This piece is about my struggle for wanting to go home, but not being able to go back during covid.

The lock from inside indicates the lockdown at home and the unwelcome from the home country. The four piercing patterns on the gold are the four main airline company logos in China, which are the logos that I have seen overtime when I was homesick.


The price to Pay

This past Christmas, I received a phone call from my cousin letting me know my grandmother was hospitalized. She passed away before I could even find a flight back to China. This was one of my biggest fears living abroad. There is a price to pay as an international student which is being far away from home and family. This urn represents the loss of a loved one and the emptiness I feel for not being able to see her one last time.

In China, we give yellow chrysanthemums to the deceased. It is a symbol of mourning and grief within flower language. China has a rich flower culture. You will see flowers everywhere: as blanket patterns, home decorations, food, and medicine. People also name their children after certain flowers, which have different meanings in hopes the children will embody that personality. The flowers on this urn are all native to China. By piercing those flowers, I ask viewers to think of their loved ones who are no longer with them.





Metamorphosis

Orb with Dots


In the realm of transitional experiences, my practice serves as a dynamic journey, meandering through diverse and distinctive directions. It is always changing and evolving, going from crafting intimate jewelry pieces to sculpting intricate forms enhanced by LEDs and, ultimately, to creating large-scale suspended mobiles. This eclectic exploration of mediums mirrors the fragmented nature of our contemporary existence.

From the delicacy of wearable art to the integration of technology in sculptures, my work is a testament to the multifaceted nature demanded by our current era. In our ever-evolving world, remaining unchanging in one's pursuits is an antiquated notion. We must be polyvalent, capable of multitasking, exploring various avenues, and adapting to the demands of an environment in constant flux.

In each piece, the unifying motif of steel wire spheres becomes a visual metaphor for the interconnectedness of our individual narratives. As a visual storyteller, I extend an invitation to explore the unknown and to celebrate the continual metamorphosis we undergo in our quest for meaning.







Nature Unfurled

Blossom

Cradle


The observation and study of nature are important characteristics in my work. Nature is very expressive and unique. The transitions that nature goes through with the bud of a leaf, the growth of it, the changing of its colors-this is very curious and fascinating. How nature changes through life cycles, adapts to conditions around it, or is impacted is something I find fascinating. Developing individual expression inspired by nature in my metalwork is a delicate balance that I try to achieve through embracing experimentation, research and incorporating found natural media.






Ancient Future Necklace

Ancient Future Brooch

Ancient Future Earrings


Evolving Spaces to me means places that hold imagination and myth. I think of a rocky, desert like landscape... I'm hiking while contemplating my life and humanities' role + perseverance in harsh conditions that this environment presents to me. Soon, I see something in the sand. I pick it up and am struck by wonder. The object is made of metal, and I'm unsure if it's from this land or extraterrestrial. It has unusual triangular shapes, and I'm not sure if it's jewellery or some kind of technology. Whether, it's from a civilization of the past... or maybe from the future...

By continuing my explorations of triangles, and pushing my ability to create with the aid of computers, I'm able to visualize shape layering I just didn't have access to with physical tools themselves. This proves my point that some tools for our aid do not sit in the tangible physical world, and perhaps it's our lesson to uncover what these tools + technologies are. I am not only referencing computer aided design in the digital realm, but also spiritual technologies such as meditation that help us connect with this world, ourselves, and sometimes other worlds.






Chou-Durfee, Doris - www.amuletbyd.com


Wonton Stack


Growing up with immigrant Chinese parents in America, the artist found herself straddling both cultures and acting as translator for her parents; while speaking English at school, her father expected her and her siblings to only use Chinese at home. He would pretend not to understand them if they didn't. Her mother, however, begged for her to teach her "proper English" and she would make flash cards and tape recordings of phonetic alphabet sounds and write out conversations from her mother to practice. Her mother taught her to love cooking, and her favorite was wrapping wontons. It took her much longer than her mother, and it wasn't nearly as neat, but she didn't mind. This was a way of keeping their heritage close, especially with loved ones so far away.


Often her parents would lament that "they would never belong" in the US, yet going back to Taiwan wasn't an option -- their friends at home would laugh, "Oh you've changed too much to fit in here". Moreover, the children only knew the security of living in the US (Taiwan was under martial law at the time, and people would "disappear" without warning.) Over time, this gulf in identity continued to grow for her parents.


The artist returned to Taiwan after college and met her husband while studying there; the artist's older daughter recently lived in Taiwan as a student at the same program her parents met. Now, three generations of the family sit down for wonton noodles and they all rise, comforted and connected.


The Wonton stacking ring is comprised of two pieces: Choy Sum 菜心 (literally "vegetable heart", which is the name of a slightly bitter green-stemmed vegetable commonly used in Cantonese cuisine), is a ring made of 14k gold, with an emerald slice in a gold bezel and a rough diamond garnish; and Wonton Noodles, a 14k gold ring that resembles the thin, flat egg noodles found in the eponymous dish, and wraps around the Choy Sum emerald stem. Together, they form a whole.





Juliet Kemble - www.giuliettadesigns.com


Departure

Into the Wild


My three entries for Evolving Spaces: Transitional In Nature, are a visual metaphor in metal for the evolving, and often complex spaces, that transpire both internally and externally as part of the inevitable metamorphosis of aging.

My personal challenge is to embrace my aging rather than resist the inevitable onset. It’s not easy! For me it’s about surrendering to what happens, both internally and externally, as I transition through my own aging towards an ever evolving space of peaceful, if reluctant, acceptance.

At the same time, I’m interested in what happens to my art, when I surrender control over my materials and liberate myself from working within the constraints of accepted standards for making jewellery. My intention is to leave room for recognizing possibilities not previously considered or planned. To this end, I use far fewer tools than most metalsmiths. I hate measuring! I allow my chosen materials to “disobey” my direction. I honor their own intrinsic energies and properties, by permitting them to guide me through the process of building a piece. If my metal wants to resist or melt; if my stone wants to move… then I work with it!

My objective is to create, through my art, a metaphoric image of the messy, often inconvenient, transitions that are an inevitable part of the aging process, exposing vulnerability and imperfections. I’m imperfect. And, so is my work.







Isthmus V


This piece is part of the Isthmus series, which explores the appropriation of nature for human use. Through the work of the craftsman, the remains of animals, plants, and geological processes are extracted from their natural context and imbued with intangible properties such as functionality, material hierarchy, design aesthetic, and symbolism. Though this practice has ossified into formal disciplines, the heart of Craft is improvisation with found objects.


Natural forms are suggestive of crafts’ roots. Though their original purpose may be unclear, it is easy to be intrigued by the sense of intention in artifacts both natural and man-made.

When an object is orphaned by the extinction of its purpose, what remains is a suggestive beauty which sparks the imagination. The artist's intention is to find a voice for these forgotten fragments, one which calls attention to our proximity to the natural.


Isthmus V addresses the theme of Evolving Spaces by examining the physical and metaphorical transformation of the natural world into cultural objects. A vessel formed by the union of a gnawed turtle and a polished globe of silver reference the way nature is viewed in a cultural context, and how it gains new properties even as it becomes less recognizable.






Chen, Xiao - xiao-chen.com


Creatures Xs_XC-no°1

Creatures Xs_XL-no°1

Creatures Xs_XP-no°1


I was born in the forest and died at sea.

I was created by people and abandoned at sea.

While we floated in the sea, nature softened us, and we spent the rest of our lives sublimating.

We will eventually merge, regenerate from the arms of the ocean, becoming new species.

In order to raise awareness on current ecological and environmental issues, the artist used daily plastic waste and driftwood she picked up at the beach to create those pieces.

She imagine that, tens of thousands of years from now, the world will give birth to new species, combining time and environment.

Or, maybe they already exist.

As such, she used humorous techniques to create these artworks.

The combination of natural materials and industrial waste brought to life those strange creatures that represent the relationship between humans and nature.




Pelican Sherri - sherripelican.com


Transitions I: The Shadow of Things Left Behind.

Transitions II

Transitions III: Changing Perspectives


In considering the theme of Evolving Spaces, the artist chose to focus on various aspects of transition between different physical or emotional spaces.

Transition often involves or requires loss. Feelings, places, objects, or relationships may be permanently altered or left behind entirely. The brooch TransitionsⅠalludes to such loss. The back of the brooch is pierced, and dark grey celluloid shows through the piercing. The artist’s intent is to convey that the shadows of loss, while not always obvious, are always present.


The front of the brooch features mother of pearl cabochons and inserts of German glass glitter. The artist chose these materials to convey the lure and anticipation of moving into what is perceived to be a better place, emotionally or physically.

In the process of transition, there can be uncertainty caused by complex choices. Such uncertainty can cloud or impede the changes being sought. The brooch TransitionsⅡ is the artist’s representation of complex choices found in this process: a gray area that can obscure both the positive outcomes of transition and the negative effects of inertia. German glass glitter and dark grey celluloid peep out beneath geometric piercings, representing complexity and uncertainty during transition.


A change in perspective can be a part of both transition and evolution. The ring Transitions Ⅲ portrays this with the use of angled tubes, each filled with a different material. The tubes are of different heights, and the angled openings face different directions. The artist chose to represent a change in viewpoint in this way…with each tube there is a space, a direction, and a new material that signifies the change or evolution. The cluster of tubes represents the multitude of viewpoints and changes that can occur during periods of transition or evolution.






(Un)settled


Nestled on the thin line between disappointment and aspiration, hurt and hope, and defiance and ambition, evolving spaces are turbulent and unpredictable. Meant to be occupied only temporarily, these spaces offer protection and destruction simultaneously. The ultimate premise of their ephemeral nature is change —but in which direction?


The “(Un)settled” ring is a sculptural embodiment of the emotional landscape of these spaces. The oxidized rod pierces through the body of the work, evoking a sense of pain, yet it is also what holds the pearl (the self) in place by creating an aura of balance. What will happen next? That, we don’t know. But for now, we’re (still) here.





Danni Xu - dannixu.com


My tears of sorrow


In the liminal spaces between displacement and reconnection, the artist's jewelry serves as a conduit for individuals navigating the challenges of separation from home. Drawing upon the narratives of diasporic peoples, the work delves into the emotional terrain of nostalgia, crafting familiar objects that transcend physical distance and foster a profound sense of belonging.


In the evolving landscapes shaped by shrinking rooms and changing perspectives, the artist becomes not only a translator of stories but also a facilitator, aiding individuals in processing the emotional complexities of their circumstances. As a former hotelier skilled in initiating conversations, the jewelry becomes a communication mediator, forging connections across time and space.


The questions at the core of the artist's practice: Can jewelry build networks of connection? How does the format of jewelry impact the wearer-object relationship?—find resonance in the transformative experiences of those dislocated from their homes. Through a series of interviews with individuals living overseas, the artist unearthed the significance of familiar objects as emotional anchors, offering solace in moments of homesickness.

This body of work represents more than adornment; it manifests the security blankets of the artist's interview subjects, encapsulating their attachment to home. As wearers engage with these pieces, a shift in behavior and attitude is anticipated—a reestablishment of connection to home through the tangible and intangible threads woven into each jewelry piece.








Impermenence#4

Impermenence#5

Impermenence#6

This series of brooches draws inspiration from the Zen philosophy of impermanence, resonating deeply with the artist. By embracing life's transience, this philosophy facilitates a shift in focus from loss to gratitude. The artist believes that perspective is crucial; what may initially be perceived as a loss can transform into gain. Just as a file helps the self "glow up," a cracking line can become shiny, and broken item change can emerge as new

In these works, the artist explores the tangible aspects of fragility and impermanence. To reform broken pieces, she highlights the beauty of broken lines/cracking by using gold foil, to create new patterns and form, with thin wire to emphasize its fragility. it’s a unique form of artistic expression.







Who Am I?

Is Life Even an Option?

I'm Tired of Being Helpless

This series of works deals with the falling into and breaking free from cycles of disordered eating and distorted self perception. The self is represented by a rabbit, as they are timid prey animals, yet fierce when threatened. The disruptive thoughts are characterized by an ouroboros to illustrate their cyclical and predatory nature. These pieces show the descent into self destruction, the resignation to a bleak existence, and the conquest that reclaimed the body and mind.






Chambers of Contemplation

Reflection

Doors of the Mind


In the evolving spaces between the limitations of our physical and emotional realms, the artist's jewelry stands as a testament to personal metamorphosis. It was through the art of goldsmithing and engraving that the artist underwent a profound self-discovery journey. These techniques became more than creative outlets; they served as catalysts for building self-confidence and establishing a professional identity. The process of reflection and artistic exploration enabled a seamless transition into a new and burgeoning career.


The themes of self-discovery are intricately woven into the jewelry, representing not only the artist's own transformative experience but also inviting others to embark on their unique journeys of self-exploration. Each piece serves as a door to the mind, symbolizing the openings through which individuals can discover facets of themselves, navigate transitions, and find solace and growth in the midst of evolving spaces.


The most recent collection, aptly titled "Doors of the Mind," encapsulates the essence of evolving and transformative experiences. Each piece within this collection is a visual narrative, inviting observers to traverse the thresholds of their own consciousness. The jewelry becomes a symbolic representation of the liminal spaces between what is lost and what will be gained, encapsulating the beauty of metamorphosis and the discovery of silver linings amid life's transitions.






Breakthrough

This piece is entirely hand fabricated out of sterling silver with a carnelian stone setting. The piece was made to depict the artist's process of breaking through heartache and depression to find happiness, embracing a new chapter of life.


An Ode to Home

This necklace was made and fabricated by hand entirely out of sterling silver. It consists of an originally designed link that was inspired by Jamaican window grill designs. Upon further research, it was found that Adinkra symbols were a common theme amongst grill designs. These symbols came from the Ghanaian people who were brought to Jamaica as slaves. The symbols in this necklace are modified versions of "wawa aba", (seed of the wawa tree) the symbol for toughness and perseverance, and "eban," (meaning fence) the symbol of love and safety. The circular stones are black onyx which represent the Jamaican people. The main setting is a blown glass droplet which has the colours of the Jamaican flag.






Carmel Boerner - www.graceanddecay.com


Scraps: Grace, Decay and Renewal


In 2023 I cast myself adrift, leaving my home of 12 years to move to Penticton. Prior to, and for months after, I felt lost, misplaced. Making jewelry was too daunting; I focused my creativity on sewing. Using someone else’s pattern and instructions was easier than crafting my own.

When I saw the call for Evolving Spaces, it spoke directly to me. The thought of evolution resonated deeply, with its implications of trying, failing, changing, looping back, to progress. I decided to regress, to use material from my scrap bin, begun in 2015 when I went to jewelry school. I found comfort in my leftovers, the remains that could metamorphize as I re-examined my life and decisions, seeking to create again. Lost, I knew I needed a leash to secure me, to tether me to the present while allowing me to wander wherever the scraps led, like breadcrumbs.

Making a chain was ideal.

With each studio visit, I could make just one link or many, depending on how I felt. Every link was different. There was no structure, no beginning, no end. No threatening “should”, only a welcoming “could”. That “could” forged a link – to my creativity, to myself. Here were bits of me, of what I had learned, traces of what could be, and the ballast to end my unmoored state. These were not scraps, but signposts.

As I worked, my scraps expressed their origins: ashamed jump rings alloyed with too much copper; frustrated curved arcs abandoned while learning to set stones; disappointed disks from my final school project; and resentful miscuts of silver plate. Scouring through them, I grew a defiant chain, a barbed wire of protection. It sprouted a cheeky tail – a triangle – the most resilient of shapes. I learned that I held both ends of the leash. I found that my creative life has been evolving since 2015. My 2023 move was just another step on that journey.

Scrapping with these remains, I fashioned an anchor, the comfort of a leash, of holding my own, the promise of belonging. This is a life. Mine.



Jan Smith - www.jansmith.ca


Winter Erotion

Tidal Pool


The work evolves from an intimate connection to place and reflects a sense of identity and home. Witnessing increased wave and wind action, rising water levels, shoreline erosion causing ecosystem deterioration and species loss escalates her anxiety.

In the work there is an interconnected relationship between nature, process and materials. As an artist she uses the mediums of craft and printmaking to expose the social costs of environmental degeneration.

The round forms that she frequently uses communicate a sense of enclosure, encirclement or safety; the marks and shapes create a language or code. The jewelry and objects sugges the tactile delicacy of the natural materials and spaces we inhabit; serving as perceptual wake up calls. The work empowers the wearer and viewers to re-establish a connection with nature and affords a method of signaling concerns.







Towards Liminality


Evolving Spaces evokes the idea of liminality, one definition of which is "the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of a passage". It is often referred to as a threshold. The work is titled Towards Liminality because it suggests the stage of evolution before liminality, where what was assumed to be normal, the stats quo, stability in society, is in a disturbing state of deterioration and dissolution. It is a bleak and uncertain phase of malfunction and loss.


This is very apparent when looking at the physical world, specifically, the urban landscape. Demolition of buildings when they could be repurposed, inappropriate construction of new living spaces to serve a luxury market and decisions of not factoring in the climate crisis when designing new housing, all serve to jeopardize the general sense of security and emotional wellbeing of citizens. These actions bring morality into question in particular with respect to the housing situation.


The pendant looks as if it is falling apart, and has actually been left in disrepair for a time, stagnating until a forward thinking intervention takes hold.

This first pre liminal phase seems interminable and liminality a long way off.






Lichen


Evolving spaces requires the partnership of time. Whether it is a slow passage, or a sudden change, time is essential to the changes of our surroundings. Time can be defined as the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. As our world burns, melts, floods and grows around us, our spaces are constantly evolving, as they always have, and always will, whether we are a part of them or not.


As I navigate the evolution of becoming a mother, time becomes skewed. The rhythm and measurement of a day, a month, or a year, suddenly becomes foreign before slowly transitioning to familiar. As the spaces that occupy my body, my home, and my inner voice change, I am reminded of another specimen that overcomes such complex changes.

The beauty of lichen - it's physical form, with colours that define nature, but also the incredibility of a life form that finds symbiosis and partnership in being made of two different organisms. Finding strength in those different parts that make it a whole.


As I think about my own evolution, from artist to mother, and how I can exist in both of those spaces, I find myself looking to ground, to the trees and to nature to show me that we can be symbiotic and all the more stronger for it.






Shutters Brooch

Swivel Necklace


Delving into the theme of Evolving Spaces delves deep into the essence of the physical environments that weave through the tapestry of our lives. At the heart of this exploration is the evolution of architecture, standing as the primary feature shaping these environments. It has undergone a remarkable transformation, transcending its once-static nature to become a dynamic, ever-moving habitat.


This metamorphosis of architecture signifies a departure from traditional, rigid forms to a more responsive and adaptive design. Spaces now possess the inherent capability to adjust and conform to a spectrum of needs, fluctuating moods, and the ever-changing dynamics of the surrounding environment.


In the realm of artistic expression, this concept of perpetual change finds its manifestation in jewelry. Geometric shapes and fluid motions intertwine seamlessly, giving rise to pieces that serve as wearable reflections of the dynamic spaces they draw inspiration from.


As these jewelry pieces gracefully respond to the wearer's movements, they encapsulate the essence of our existence—a poignant reminder that we are intrinsically bound to a state of continuous transformation. In the dance between the wearer and the jewelry, a symbiotic relationship emerges, symbolizing the interconnectedness of human life with the ever-shifting landscapes we inhabit.







Evolving spaces was juried by Chantel Gushue, Steve Fong, and Louise Perrone. 


Evolving Spaces will be exhibiting from January 25 through February 22, 2024. Join us at the opening reception January 25 at the CCBC Gallery from 6-8pm.


Location

Craft Council of BC Gallery Granville Island 

1386 Cartwright Street

Vancouver, BC Canada


Regular hours

11am-5pm


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