Craft is undergoing a renaissance. I think that for some the word evokes sewing circles and Popsicle sticks, but really there is so much more to it, recently, I’ve even started reading Crafts magazine (published by the Crafts Council), and I find it incredibly inspiring. It makes me want to start creating! So I was delighted to learning about Junko Mori and Jacqueline Ryan’s new show opening in the Lake District at Blackwell Arts and Crafts House later this month.
Beauty in Repetition demonstrates the artists’ commitment to intensive hand working and an innate need to undertake every aspect of the creation of a piece themselves, a philosophy which comfortably links Mori and Ryan to the metalsmiths and jewellers of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Like Baillie Scott (1865 -1945), Blackwell’s architect, Mori and Ryan share a love of nature: Baillie Scott’s epitaph reads:”Nature he loved, and next to Nature, Art.”
Mori and Ryan both collect plant materials, and create drawings and sketches to abstract detail from them – examples of which are included in the exhibition. There is substantial evidence throughout Blackwell of Baillie Scott’s genius for assemblage. In a similar spirit to Baillie Scott, Mori and Ryan use the repetition of elements inspired by nature to create a harmonious whole. The sculptural works of Junko Mori and the jewellery of Jacqueline Ryan, like Blackwell itself, seem to incorporate within them some essence of natural beauty.
Beauty in Repetition offers the first opportunity to view their work both individually and in relation to each other: an opportunity which reveals an exhilarating resonance and meeting points, as well as insights into their differing working methods and processes. Nature may provide a common source, however, they interpret it in very different ways. Whereas Ryan tends to focus on abstraction, Mori focuses on form; and whereas Ryan plans her work minutely in advance, Mori prefers to allow her work to develop more organically.
Mori and Ryan come from diverse cultural backgrounds: Jacqueline Ryan was born in North London in 1966 and Junko Mori was born in Yokohama in 1974, they use different metals and create very different objects in both type and scale, yet they share a great deal in their approach to their work. Both Mori and Ryan find beauty in repetition: the bringing together of countless individual elements, each subtly different, to create a harmonious whole. Their work conveys what one can only describe as an apparent effortlessness of execution, which could hardly be further from the reality. As a result, both artists achieve an awe-inspiring visual harmony within their work. Every piece seems to have found its natural form; each is exactly
as it should be. Such skill has the capacity to produce in the viewer or wearer a feeling of serenity and joy which is surely the result of its maker’s total immersion in the object’s creation.
Artists working at their exceptionally high level of skill and commitment can feel isolated in their working practice. Their discovery of their artistic compatibility has therefore been a source of pleasure for them both. Mori and Ryan consider their work makes them natural soul mates. “We seem to share the same love of nature though we are from two different cultures,” enthuses Ryan. “We correspond very closely in terms of our visual language because nature has linked us somehow…Her [Junko’s] sculptures have to be the “soul-mates” of my jewellery!”
Beauty in Repetition opens 27 March and continues until 13 June www.blackwell.org.uk
The exhibition in association with Adrian Sassoon, London.
Open daily 10.30am – 5.00pm
Admission: Adult – £6.50
Children over 5 and
Full-time Students – £3.80
Family – £17.25
(c) Jacqueline Ryan
(c) Junko Mori