Learning every day

A new year often comes with lots of ideas of a new start and new projects and I’m learning every day how to make my creative practice better.

Similarly to a lot of creative minds, as I’ve come to understand, I have a busy brain. New ideas pop up all the time and something is always spinning in my mind. So many ideas about projects, exhibitions, new collections, new designs, new techniques… The challenge is to manage all those ideas in my head and figure out how to make some of them happen and move forward.

So for this month I’m experimenting with different ways of working on several projects simultaneously. I started the week with doing different projects in 1-2 hour time slots, thinking that this used to work fine back in school when a day was filled with different classes and subjects of 1-2 hours. But it turns out it’s not a good way for me at all. I’ve always been a slow starter and it takes me a while to get into a new task or project but once I get into it I often find a flow that is both difficult and a pity to stop or interrupt. So allowing myself to work on the same project for longer is going to be key to finding focus. Yesterday I spent most of the morning making wax originals for my Fingerprint Pods series, and I really enjoyed it and got a few rings done that I hope to cast soon.

Safira Blom wax process

Fingerprint pods waxes waiting to be cast

Something I’ve learnt works really well for me is listening to podcasts (or documentaries) while I work with my hands. For years (wow it really has been years) I had been saving up the newsletters from this particular blog in a folder in my mailbox with the thought that one day I’ll find (make) the time to go through and read these. It’s a blog called Create & Thrive by Jess Van Den with the objective to help people turn a creative practice or hobby into a sustainable business, so really useful for me but still somehow I never managed to make time to read it. Luckily a while ago Jess started a podcast with similar content to the blog and this has turned out to be the perfect solution for me! I can listen and learn about all these things while I’m also making a collection or piece of jewellery move forward at the same time! This is really one of the things I love about working with my hands; that it somehow frees up space in my brain (the other half I guess) that I can use to learn things by listening or to just think. That space for thinking however can sometimes be a little problematic as is often turns out with more ideas and projects that I want to get into…haha but then I try to have a notepad handy by the side so I can jot them down for future processing.

What are your best tips for getting things done and managing various projects at once?

Do you listen to anything while you work? Which are your favourite podcasts?

Safira Blom fingerprint pod ring

Safira Blom, Fingerprint Pods Ring, 925 silver

New work for Studio 20/17

Studio 20/17, another great Sydney gallery where I am proud to be represented, is doing a New Collections Showcase for the holiday season and I recently sent some new work their way. My new collection is the one I developed after our ”Scmucktrip” earlier in the year (shown here) with a few additions:


Safira Blom, Four, 2013
Neckpiece; 925 silver, hand cut and dyed PET plastic from fruit containers


Safira Blom, Five, 2013
Earrings; 925 silver, hand cut and dyed PET plastic from fruit containers

The New Collections Showcase is on display from the 3rd to the 24th of December at Studio 20/17, 2 Danks Street, Waterloo (Sydney), Australia

Work in the Curio at Sterling by Gaffa

My work has arrived at Sterling shop and will be in the Curio Collectors Cabinet at Gaffa in Sydney from this week until September 3.

Go check it out (try some on and buy some ;-)) if you’re in Sydney. If you haven’t been to Gaffa yet I highly recommend it! It’s a really cool creative space in the middle of the city (two blocks from QVB so no excuses!) with galleries, workshops and retail spaces. You’ll find it on 281 Clarence Street, Sydney CBD. For more info go to their website www.gaffa.com.au

The Curio is a collector’s cabinet dedicated to featuring one designer/maker for a period of two weeks. Housed in two of Sterling by Gaffa’s retail cabinets, The Curio aims to showcase not only an artists’ production range, but to give the audience an extensive inside look into the makers practice. On display will be a sample of exhibition work, the maker’s production range as well as images/text about their practice.” (text from gaffa’s website)

I’m showing new work from my Underwater World series, a piece from Self Proliferating Patterns and production earrings inspired by it.

Here are some images:

Safira Blom, Underwater World: Neckpiece Redpurple, 2013
925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

Safira Blom, Underwater World: Neckpiece Redpurple (detail), 2013
925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

Safira Blom Underwater world blue pin

Safira Blom, Underwater World: Electric Blue Coral Pin, 2013
925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

Safira Blom Underwater world clustered coral ring orange

Safira Blom, Underwater World: Coral Cluster Ring, 2013
925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

Safira Blom Underwater world earstuds light teal

Safira Blom, Undewater World: Teal Coral Earstuds, 2013
925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

Safira Blom Underwater world earstuds red stars

Safira Blom, Underwater World: Red Star Earstuds, 2013
925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

Safira Blom Self Proliferating Patterns Bubble Earrings

Safira Blom, Self Proliferating Patterns: Bubble Earrings, 2012
Titanium, 925 silver: hydraulic pressed, hand pierced, torch coloured, fabricated

Safira Blom Titanium Bubble Earrings

Safira Blom, Bubble Earrings, 2013
Titanium, 925 silver: hand pierced, torch coloured, fabricated

First listings on Etsy!

Something is up and out there, finally!!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/SafiraBlom

Of course there is still lot to fiddle with around the shop but it’s a start. And that’s great! It got to the point where I had said ”I will…” ”I just need to…” and “I should reeaally….” one too many times, so my lovely friend and fellow jeweller Nina Johansson and I made a deal that we’d each put up at least one thing on Etsy before the end of this week. I haven’t heard from Nina but the week isn’t over yet and I will make sure to put a link up to her shop as soon as I hear from her. She makes some amazing stuff so make sure to keep an eye out for her in the near future!

screen print SafiraBlom etsy shop

Photography Frustration

Last time I promised to show you some more work from my Fingerprint Pods series. Over the past week I have been trying to take some decent photos of them. My goal is to soon put my first listing on Etsy.

Photography….I actually really enjoy taking photos and I use it a lot as inspiration material and a medium in its’ own right, but when it comes to taking photographs of my work the perfectionist in me comes out and it takes a lot of frustration and retakes to get something I can live with. Silver is especially difficult I find as it doesn’t come out too well against a white background. This time I tried again but decided, after one too many blueish grey (when they were supposed to be white) backgrounds, to try a neutral, slightly darker colour background. The old bench top close to the window had good lighting so I tried that and am quite happy with the result:

Ring, 925 silver

Bracelet, 925 silver

Pendant, 925 silver

Earrings, 925 silver

Earrings on posts, 925 silver

But the big frustration this time has been on the body, I wanted to get some shots of the jewellery on the body. Within the contemporary jewellery scene there seems to be a preference to photograph on a plain background and pieces are seldom shown on the body where they are “supposed” to be. There are some good reasons for that and perhaps the difficulty of getting it right; showing off the piece in a context but not taking focus away from the jewellery is one of them. But I still think more contemporary (or art) jewellery should be shown in context; the relation to the body. When it comes to more commercial jewellery the industry is much better which is natural as you have to be more focused on the perspective of a potential buyer. It’s easier to see oneself wear something if you’ve already seen it worn.

Anyways here is the result of some of the “on body” photos. Let me know if you have any advice on how to improve these kinds of shots 🙂 

Bracelet, 925 silver

Earrings, 925 silver (photo Lisa Blom)

Earrings, 925 silver (photo Lisa Blom)

Ring, 925 silver (photo Lisa Blom)

Earrings on posts, 925 silver (photo Lisa Blom)

My lovely sister Lisa Blom helped me out with some of the photos when I had to wear the jewellery otherwise all photography is by me.

I know this post ended up being more about photography than Fingerprint Pods but next time I will tell you a little more about the inspiration behind and creation of the actual pieces.

Underwater World

Safira Blom Underwater World Neckpiece

Underwater World: Neckpiece
23 x 17 x 4 cm
Brass, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

This ongoing series of work started at Uni when we had a project called Material Language with guest lecturer Melinda Young. (Check out Melinda’s work on her website and blog as she does some amazing stuff and if you ever get the chance to attend one of her workshops I highly recommend it as she is a great teacher!) In this project we were encouraged to take a closer look at different materials and what they bring to a piece of work. Reflecting upon what a material says through associations and experimenting with its inherent qualities opens up new thoughts and possibilities. For our own piece of work we had to choose a material that traditionally isn’t connected to jewellery and preferably something new and out of our personal comfort zones.

Below is the statement accompanying the piece I made and I feel it still stands as a good statement for the series that has since developed into both production and exhibition work.

Underwater World: Neckpiece (detail)

“I am normally drawn to natural materials and inspired by nature, so I tend to back away from using plastics as a material for my making. However, a growing awareness of the reluctance I have to this material poses a challenge to work with it; the challenge to make an artificial material speak the language of the natural world.

The tubular form, which has been a recurring theme in my work lately, also attracted me to PVC tubing and I saw an opportunity to work with this in reference to similar shapes in nature. PVC tubing having its’ references to water and fish tanks lead me to take a closer look at the underwater world and specifically the richness in form and colour of creatures that make up coral reefs. So with images of coral, anemones and sponges in my head I started working quite intuitively with the material.

The idea of making an ordinary and overlooked material into something beautiful and precious is something I hope can make us reflect upon value and disposability. With the care of making PCV tubing into considered handcrafted pieces of jewellery I think this material can be reconsidered.”

Underwater World: Evolution Brooch
5 x 5 x 6 cm
Brass, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

Underwater World: Earrings 7 x 4 x 2.5 cm 925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated Underwater World: Earrings
7 x 4 x 2.5 cm
925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

The rings are now part of my production work and I have come to realise how much I enjoy working with this material as it enables me to play with colour and form in a different way to metal.

Underwater Word: rings 925 silver or brass, PVC: hand cut and dyed

Underwater Word: Rings
925 silver or brass, PVC: hand cut and dyed

At the moment the rings are available at Sterling by gaffa in Sydney CBD, Gallery Aloft in Rozelle and Merge Contemporary Art Space in Mcquarie Centre. I’m hoping to get something going online soon and perhaps find some Swedish stockists too.

Safira Blom Underwater world rings circle