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Large Branch Brooch - Changing Hues


#1

Materials: silver, cloisonne enamel

Michael Romanik
East Cleveland, Ohio. USA

As a student studying enameling in art school, I became intrigued with the technique of cloisonne’, creating linear designs and images with flat wire embedded between layers of colored granular glass. This was my first
introduction to enameling. In my pursuit to learn more about this medium and wanting to perfect my skills with it, I spent many years researching and experimenting with this art form that captivated me.

Becoming familiar with the relative immediateness of enamel, I wanted to use it in a functional manner. Making jewelry was a natural step in my early process of mastering the medium. I enjoy the intimate scale and proportion of jewelry and the satisfaction of seeing objects that I’ve made being worn and appreciated by those who wear them.

The seemingly endless variety of enamel hues that was available seemed daunting. I chose a limited palette so that I could master its qualities and properties. Each color has its own presence and technical merits. For strong contrast, I place light color enamel next to dark, emphasizing each one’s boldness and brilliance. For a complimentary effect, similar colors overlap and blend into one other, creating harmonious transition.

Additional colors eventually find their way into my color scheme as I explore new imagery and subject matter.

Some early inspiration for my work was derived from my interest in the objects and images of ancient cultures: the grandeur of ancient Egypt, the colorful painted relief carvings on Mayan architecture, the symbols of the Celts. Recent inspiration comes from nature: the vibrant plumage of a songbird, the delicate markings of a butterfly wing, the gentle curve of a small branch. A new interest is the repetitive geometric patterns and motifs of Asian and Indian textiles. The challenge of creating the intricate designs from gold and silver wire fascinates me and tests my technical abilities.

I was born in 1966 and raised in the Cleveland OH area. My home and studio are in East Cleveland. I am a 1989 graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art with a BFA Degree in Drawing and minors in both Printmaking and Glass. I am a recipient of a 2011 Creative Workforce Fellowship. My $20,000 fellowship was generously funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, The Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, and the residents of Cuyahoga County OH.


The exhibition explores metal works whose primary theme is color embraced as their primary visual focus, whether that be using colored materials, exploring creating colored surfaces, or encasing the object in color.

As the world’s largest jewelry related internet site, Ganoksin strives to develop exhibitions showcasing work from around the world. This exhibition was open to all metalsmiths, professional and amateur, advanced and beginner.

In total 303 artists contributed 814 show pieces for the permanent online exhibition.

The exhibition was curated by Beth Wicker, President of the North Carolina Society of Goldsmiths in the United States, and Adjunct Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in South Carolina. Director of the exhibition is Hanuman Aspler, founder of The Ganoksin Project, the world’s largest internet jewelry site.

Hue is one of the primary properties of color, it refers to the place the color occupies on the visual spectrum. Humans have used hues throughout time, to create cave paintings, to decorate themselves, their clothing and their housing.

Different hues have taken on different meanings throughout time. Gold traditionally has been a color of purity - the metal gold is relatively unchangeable, and the hue of gold has come to stand for gods and goddesses, for royalty, for durability and for purity. Red has often meant love, or passion. Hues often reflect the meaning of the seasons, with pastels referring to spring and the burst of new life after the pale hues of winter. Summer is reflected in vibrant, deep hues, followed by the browning of hues in the fall as plants go to seed and die, and the land turns fallow.

The worth of a hue has often been tied to what is necessary to make the pigment that creates the hue, and the expensive involved in the process. Often created from crushed stones that had to be mined and carried by caravan over thousands of miles, or from fermented roots of plants only grown in certain areas, or the carapaces of rare insects - the creation of hue in a way that could be used by man was an involved and generally expensive process.

In today’s world metalsmiths have access to perhaps the widest range of materials and hues in the history of man - and in some of the most affordable ways ever.

This exhibition celebrates hue - color - as an integral, inherent element of the work. We talk of the “richness” of color, and examples of this abound here. One expects hues from the colors of gemstones used in metalsmithing, but we also have hues from some less expected places. Glass enamels are an ancient way of adding color, as are a variety of patinas. Today’s artists also use synthetic man-made materials to add color in ways that didn’t exist a century ago.

We invite you to enjoy this celebration of hue, and the ways hues and their use have changed over time.