A showcase of jewellery from both Wendy Ramshaw and Japanese glass jeweller Kazuko Mitsushima, alongside new silversmithing and jewellery from Edinburgh based Hazel Thorn.
Fascinated by the fluidity and flexibility of glass, Japanese jeweller Kazuko Mitsushima incorporates glass with precious metals to explore elements of the natural world. At the centre of Mitsushima’s existence is the “urge to create” to which everything else subordinates. Mitsushima has been making glass jewellery for over forty years, and the process of making is highly unpredictable and hazardous. She studied at jewellery design in Tokyo and glass at Pilchuck Glass School, USA. Permanent collections include the Corning Museum of Glass, New York; National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh; Hiko-Mizuno College of Jewellery, Tokyo.
“Whenever I watch glass being melted, stirring and flowing wildly as if driven by its own will under extreme heat, I long to freeze and hold this particular moment. And also each time I break the glass, the result is not the same and the experience is a pure adventure. I create basically what I myself find beautiful or intriguing. But as I believe that jewellery never completely comes to life until worn. If someone feels good and happy wearing my jewellery, I am equally happy.”
Wendy Ramshaw, CBE, RDI, was an international champion of modern jewellery. Her signature ringsets are represented in over 70 public collections worldwide. Ramshaw's work also encompassed designs for textiles, screens, gateways and sculpture. The Scottish Gallery has exhibited some of her most ambitious ideas through exhibitions such as Picasso's Ladies (1989), Rooms of Dreams (2002), Prospero's Table (2004) and a Journey Through Glass (2007). Exhibitions such as Room of Dreams, which was designed and created as a theatrical stage set for the jewellery, have become embedded not only in Ramshaw's spectacular career but also illustrate the commitment by The Gallery to truly original ideas.
Wendy Ramshaw died on the 9th December 2018. She was one of The Scottish Gallery's favourite contemporary jewellers and will be missed. We will be opening 2019 with a pre-planned exhibition celebrating her work, including her signature ringsets.
Hazel Thorn graduated with first class honours from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011 followed by an MFA and has just completed her artist in residency at ECA. Originally from Grantown on Spey, her sensitive sculptural forms and distinctive palette of turquoise, black and silver have already won her numerous awards. ‘I grew up in a remote part of the Highlands, and have always loved wild places and natural objects. I do not directly use natural or found materials in my work, but rather explore intuitively with metal, and find that my admiration for the complexity, order and chaos of such forms and places surfaces indirectly. My sculptural vessels are an exploration and celebration of experimental metalwork techniques. The metal elements are fused side-by-side instead of stacked in layers through the sheet. This allows me to make different types of patterns, and as a side effect also means that the work can be hallmarked (as each type of metal is easily visible and goes all the way through the sheet to the other side). I developed this technique after learning Mokume Gane, the difference being that here the metal elements are fused side-by-side. Most of these pieces are intended as decorative objects rather than for a practical function. Combining metals then patinating the resulting object creates the bold patterns and colours in my work.' The Scottish Gallery will be showcasing new work from Hazel in January 2017.