The Thaw - Changing Hues

Materials: Sterling silver, wool, sapphire
Dimensions: 1.5 cm x 16 cm x 4.5 cm (H x W x D)

In winter, covered with snow, everything seems to be sleeping. But plants are quietly there under the seemingly uninhabitable world of snow, holding the next round of life tightly. In early spring -the season of the thaw-, just as snow and ice start melting, sprouts break through and lift up the ground. I love such a spring, and am amazed with the vitality of new lives. I truly love making objects with dual purposes, existing as an aesthetic, thought provoking sculpture, but still functional as a wearable brooch.

The scene we can see in winter seems monochromatic of "black and white". Underneath such frozen ground covered with snow and ice, plants are steadily preparing for coming spring to have green leaves and colorful flowers, which we can not recognize and we forget about during a season of winter. The time we notice vitality of plants is early spring, when small sprouts in green lift up such a ground, even if the ground is still frozen, already having folded buds. In Chicago, where I live in, we can see daffodils with yellow flowers do so as a symbol of spring, which is very small sign but connects to following all colorful seasons, at the time of "The Thaw," a time of dynamic color change from the world of black and white to the one of all colors.

Photo credit: Guy Nicol

Yuka Okane Inoue
Lake Forest, Illinois. USA

Main themes I often use are "vitality of plants," and "connection to the sky." Sprouts budding from the ground in spring, buds and flowers trying to reaching toward the sky give me energies, all the more so, they connect me to the sky, where I can not reach to, the place where my mother is. Through the motifs I use, the plants and sky's blue color, I feel that I may be able to reach her, and gain engulfed by her loves and strength. My feeling towards the sky will never dry up, no matter where I am.

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.