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

Let’s try again

It seems I abandoned my blog about a year ago and since my last post I have both finished my website/webshop, made some new work, moved out of the then new studio, taken a break from jewellery making and moved to a new country.

But since moving to Costa Rica this week I have made the decision to bring my jewellery practice out of pause mode. This involves more activity on all platforms online and hopefully some new and exciting experiences to share from a completely new context!

So please join me and let’s try again!

071 redigerad webSafira Blom, Underwater World: Neckpiece Blue, 2015
925 silver, PVC: hand cut and dyed, fabricated

Chrysalis group exhibition

I’m part of a group exhibition on now at Gaffa gallery in Sydney.

Chrysalis is a show with works from 24 artists all current or former students of Sydney College of the Arts’ Jewellery and Object studio. It is curated by Clare Hooper and Angela Porritt who have done an amazing job putting this show together! A special thanks to both of them and everyone else who helped get my work on the wall as I could only take them as far as the post office in Sweden (ok in this case hand it to the UPS-guy as it was a bit last minute). I wish I could have been in Sydney to see the show in person, but from what I’ve seen and heard through the Internet it is looking great. If you’re closer to Sydney than I am, do check it out it’s on until the 20th of January.

There is also an excellent website for the exhibition where you can find more information about each artist and the concept behind the show.

I sent three pieces; one from my graduating semester at SCA (see earlier post) and two new pieces also exploring the theme of proliferating patterns.

Safira Blom, Self Proliferating Patterns: Organic Partial Ring, 2013
Titanium, 925 silver: hydraulic pressed, hand pierced, torch coloured and constructed

Safira Blom, Self Proliferating Patterns: Organic Overlap Neckpiece (images 2-5), 2013
Titanium, 925 silver: hydraulic pressed, hand pierced, torch coloured and constructed

The Organic Overlap Neckpiece can be worn in many ways, some shown in the images above. It is two sided with the blue showing on one and yellow/purple on the other.

A recent commission

I recently finished some work I had been commissioned. My friend Maria really liked one of my pieces from my graduation work and wanted something similar but a little smaller for herself. She also wanted a matching pair of earrings.

I am really happy especially with the earrings and am thinking they might develop further into a small production series.


Safira Blom, Untitled (Neckpiece), 2013.
Approx. 6 x 5 x 1.5 cm (pendant)
Hand pierced titanium with heat patina and 925 silver.

 

 


Safira Blom, Untitled (Neckpiece, detail), 2013.
Approx. 6 x 5 x 1.5 cm (pendant)
Hand pierced titanium with heat patina and 925 silver.

 

 


Safira Blom, Untitled (Earrings), 2013.
Approx. 2 x 1.5 cm
925 silver, titanium with heat patina.

On another note, adding to my general photography frustration is the lack of light in wintertime Sweden. With only about 6 hours of daylight and the sun never reaching full height it is becoming very difficult to take decent photos with only natural lighting, especially on a white background. I almost think the snap shot I took with my phone (admittedly quite a good phone camera) in the studio shows the earrings better. Someday I will invest some time into making a better photo set up with proper lighting…

Here’s the snap shot:


Safira Blom, Untitled (Earrings), 2013.
Approx. 2 x 1.5 cm
925 silver, titanium with heat patina.

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

Past and future exhibitions

Time flies and all of a sudden it’s nearing the end of summer and I’m busy figuring out what I’m doing this autumn. I have my eyes on a few call outs for exhibitions and awards and would like to enter into everything I see! But I’m quickly realising this isn’t possible as there isn’t enough time nor other resources…however, here are some of the call outs I am considering:

Suspended in Green
Beijing International Jewelry Art Biennial
Talente

In the meantime I’ve completely forgotten to mention the exhibitions my work has already attended this year. I say work has attended because they have all been exhibitions in Australia, unfortunately while I have been here in Sweden.

But I am happy and honoured to have been represented by my work in:

Next Generation at Craft NSW

An exhibition organised by the lovely Natalie Fong together with Craft NSW. It was our class from SCA getting together and showing our work outside of the university context, for many for the first time. This is a photo I took just before I sent my work.

Safira Blom, Bells and Baskets, 2013
Brass, cotton thread, 925 silver, driftwood: hand constructed and woven

Safira Blom, Bells and Baskets: Blue Neckpiece, 2013
Brass, cotton thread: hand constructed and woven

The next exhibition was Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Award. The work selected is from my Scar series which I am hoping to develop into a production line/series later this year.

Safira Blom, Scar Series: Frostbite Neckpiece, 2011
Titanium, 925 silver: hand pierced, torch coloured and constructed

And as a part of the JMGA conference Participation + Exchange my work was also shown in Graduate Metal 13.

This is my favourite piece from my graduating work.

Safira Blom, Self Proliferating Patterns: Organic Neckpiece, 2012
Titanium, 925 silver: hydraulic pressed, hand pierced, torch coloured and constructed

All the finalists in Graduate Metal got teamed up with a student taking the curatorship course at Queensland College of Art to write the catalogue statement. The lovely Naomi O’Reilly interviewed my by e-mail and wrote this lovely piece about my work:

Stockholm artist, Safira Blom’s work draws inspiration from the natural environment that surrounds her. She utilises her own photography, as well as sourced images of nature and draws inspiration from scientific drawings by artists like Ernst Haeckel. Blom creates designs which mimic the organic patterns and connate repetition present on all observational layers of the environment. She states:

“I’m interested in the way nature – both on a macro and micro level – uses repetition and pattern to grow and create larger structures. You can often find similar patterns looking at aerial landscape photography as you can looking at cells through a microscope.” (Blom in interview with the author, 2013)

Blom’s practice focuses on elements of pattern, colour, form and repetition. Self-proliferating patterns organic neckpiece brings all these elements together. Constructed from titanium, which is heat treated to create the unique colouring, Blom begins by sketching the pattern. ‘A pattern that grows through each added line and can adapt to any shape’ (Blom, 2013). The desired form is then molded into the titanium using a hydraulic press and completed by painstakingly sawing the organic design by hand. Blom’s attention to detail can be observed in the care she has taken in contracting the chain, which continues the lines and patterns present in the pendants design.

Blom’s work is a beautifully constructed juxtaposition between the natural world and the hard industrial material intrinsic to metalsmithing. Her pieces combine elements of delicacy and strength as she carves these fragile patterns from solid metals. Blom has been working with the medium of jewellery for the past 5 years and is a recent graduate from the Sydney College of Arts.

Naomi O’Reilly

QCA Art Theory Elective Curatorship 2013

Safira Blom, Self Proliferating Patterns: Organic Neckpiece (detail), 2012
Titanium, 925 silver: hydraulic pressed, hand pierced, torch coloured and constructed

From what I’ve heard the exhibitions have been great and I’m eagerly awating some catalogues!

Results from a Schmucktrip

Safira Blom, One (detail), 2013
Neckpiece; 925 silver, hand cut and dyed PET plastic from fruit containers

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to join a group from my university (Sydney College of the Arts) on a Contemporary Jewellery Trip to Amsterdam and Munich to indulge in all things contemporary jewellery with one of the main objectives being to experience Schmuck. Schmuck (meaning jewellery in German) is one of the most important events for contemporary jewellery held in Munich early each spring.

We were away for about 3 weeks altogether and the group kept a blog to document the trip: http://joonlocation.blogspot.se/

Shamed I have no excuses to why I didn’t write a single blog post…So Karin and the group if you ever read this; the next few posts will contain some of my highlights from the trip, it only took 4 months to process…

So why am I writing about this now? Well another part of the assignment (as this trip was a ”field trip” in a unit/course for those in the group who are still at uni) was a group exhibition with works reflecting our thoughts of the trip. And I have done this part, sent it on a plane, thought it wouldn’t get there in time but now fortunately it has arrived and been installed by my good friend Kate (aka my Aussie assistant)! And lucky that as the show opens tonight (Thursday 8th of August) and will be a part of the Sydney Design festival program.

It is on at Sydney College of the Arts until August 16, I know the opening hours are a bit strange but definitely go and check it out if you get the chance!

You are invited to
Souvenir
an on location project

Installation rooms 1 & 2
Sydney College of the Arts,
University of Sydney

Opening drinks: Thursday August 8, 6 – 8 pm
Opening hours: Monday – Friday, 11am – 5pm
Exhibition continues until Friday August 16

I’ve only seen a few photos of some of the other works but if you can’t make it to see the show, images of all works should be up shortly on the project blog.

In the meantime here is what I made and the accompanying statement:

First steps in the real world

Everywhere I go I look for nature. It doesn’t matter that we are in a big city and it is only just the beginning of spring in Germany. I make sure to find those buds, first flowers and bare twigs casting shadows on the houses.

As much as a journey it is also a homecoming for me, the familiar anticipation of the season, remembering the promise of European spring.

A recent graduate; I reflect and realise. This contemporary jewellery world…I quickly realise the student budget is not going to improve for a while yet. Lucky I learnt to experiment with materials and know how to recycle household waste to make my jewels. First steps in the real world…

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

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

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