As June is coming to an end, so does the first chapter of the Guidelines project.
June: Make a necklace as long as you are tall. This first piece can be made out of a material of your choice and does not have to be wearable. Think sculpturally. The necklace must have a closure of some kind and the weight cannot exceed 30 pounds.
This first guideline is pretty straightforward, no deep concept behind the piece was given. My plan was to give a fairly vague guideline to start off this project to push each artist a bit out of their comfort zone (or maybe not). The key phrase in this guideline to pay attention to are, "as long as you are tall", "Think sculpturally" and "does not have to be wearable".
These were the most important aspects of creating this piece, and I would like to share my intentions behind why. I did not say that the "chain" itself had to match your height, or that when the "necklace" is closed it must be as long as you are tall. By not specifying, I hope to see varying interpretations of how each artist choose to create the length of their necklace. To think sculpturally is always an interesting thing to say to a contemporary jeweler, because in my mind what we do is sculptural, or better, we create tiny sculptures to be worn or to interact with the body.
Lastly, "does not have to be wearable" pushes jewelers to think about what contemporary jewelry is or can be. Most of the time when you say "jewelry" to someone outside of the contemporary jewelry and or art world, they have a very limited idea as to what jewelry is, what it is made of, and why we wear it. Most jewelry is wearable, but it can also be created to challenge the wearer, or the idea behind wearing jewelry; becoming performative, or restrictive to the wearer.
This first guideline gives the artists a chance to use the limit of their own height to create a necklace that can be wearable or a necklace that pushes the boundaries of what is expected to be jewelry. Both are welcomed equally, and I look forward to the potential conversations and differences between the works.
Some of the artists have begun sharing process photos with me and through social media. If you would like to follow the project more closely, use one of these two hashtags to do so, #whengiventhesameguidelines or #guidelinesproject.
I wanted to share with you some of these progress shots to give you all a sneak peek!