Charmed to Meet You – Artwork Jewellery Discussion board

  • Amelia Toelke works in lots of media: jewellery, illustration, sculpture, graphic design, and many others.
  • As an undergrad at SUNY New Paltz, she was drawn to the way in which metallic encompasses utilitarian objects like buckets and spoons, but additionally ceremonial objects like reliquaries, censers, and jewellery
  • She designed the emblem to rejoice AJF’s 25th anniversary, which we’ve used all through 2022

Amelia Toelke is a multidisciplinary artist who’s fluent within the language of decoration, whether or not that be in jewellery, portray, or sculpture. Her Gem Face collection interprets 3D jewellery into humorous 2D work, highlighting the feelings and nostalgia imbued in jewellery. Toelke’s follow has taken her overseas to cities similar to Lanzhou, China, and Tbilisi, Georgia, to take part in artist residencies. Her work has been revealed in Metalsmith journal, The Washington Submit, and 500 Enameled Objects.

Amelia Toelke, Charm Bracelet Pendant, from the Charm Stand series
Amelia Toelke, Allure Bracelet Pendant, from the Allure Stand collection, silver, picture courtesy of the artist

Olivia Shih: Once I visited your web site, I laughed once I noticed the artist portrait you selected—it’s an excellent illustration your dad did of you as a toddler and entails a beloved vest, cereal, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What was it like rising up in a artistic family? 

Amelia Toelke: It was great! There have been all the time supplies round that my sister and I might use to create our personal initiatives and worlds—cardboard, a lot of completely different sorts of paper, rubylith (a masking movie), markers, Letraset sheets, and a photocopy machine. I used to be in all probability utilizing an X-acto knife as early as I began utilizing coloured pencils. My sister and I had been all the time making issues and infrequently we had been making issues collectively. Our mother and father labored at house, and I believe that prompted us to maintain ourselves occupied. Subconsciously, and for higher or worse, there was the concept house was a spot to work.

Additionally, as a result of our mother and father had been round, we couldn’t get away with simply watching tv. Nevertheless it stored us artistic (and don’t fear, we positively watched our justifiable share of TV). After we each went to artwork faculty, our mother and father had been totally on board, virtually anticipating it! As a result of our mother and father had been self-employed, it all the time felt doable to reside a artistic life—that work and creativity could possibly be linked and that one’s personal expertise and ambition could possibly be a way of constructing a residing.

Amelia Toelke, Hi Brooch, from the Charm Stand series
Amelia Toelke, Hello Brooch, from the Allure Stand collection, silver, picture courtesy of the artist

Jewellery charms play a distinguished position in your work—what’s it about charms that’s so compelling to you? 

Amelia Toelke: Charms are visible language on high of visible language. They aren’t solely symbols that stand in for complicated tales. By being jewellery, they’re embedded inside private house, the physique, and private and non-private interplay. I’m all in favour of the way in which that these layered meanings define complicated narrative. Identical to how a phrase can have a number of meanings relying on context or tradition, a attraction will evoke completely different definitions or recollections relying on the individual carrying the attraction or wanting on the attraction. In that approach, their meanings are each collective and particular person. They’ve the ability to include whole tales and experiences. A attraction would possibly stand in for a visit overseas, or 25 years of marriage, or a life-long ardour for pictures.

In my work, I embrace charms in our vernacular language of symbols. I’m additionally interested in the notion of cliché and the parameters that decide it. Once I use classic charms in my jewellery, they carry unknown histories and tales with the shapes of the charms as little clues. Once I flatten the charms into graphic icons, they’re like hieroglyphics or rebus puzzles.

Amelia Toelke, Best Friends, from the Gem Face series
Amelia Toelke, Finest Associates, from the Gem Face collection, 2017, gouache on paper. 22.8 x 30.5 cm, picture courtesy of the artist. Jewellery expresses who we’re and the humorous/blissful/unhappy/fearful/wry faces on this collection take that concept actually.

In your Gem Face drawings, you compose expressive faces with jewellery. What impressed you to create this collection?

Amelia Toelke: I don’t keep in mind the precise second. I do do not forget that sooner or later I noticed a necklace laid out with earrings and thought, “Face!” On the time, I used to be doing collages with emoji photos, so faces had been on my thoughts. Once I made the primary one, I keep in mind feeling a little bit self-conscious that it was too foolish. Nevertheless it was such a pleasure to make and it made me so blissful that I figured I ought to lean into that feeling. There’s nothing like laughing whereas on the studio. Jewellery can be so intertwined with our sense of self. By actually creating expressive faces with jewellery I might put this concept entrance and middle.

Amelia Toelke, Wink, from the Gem Face series
Amelia Toelke, Wink, from the Gem Face collection, 2017, gouache on paper. 22.8 x 30.5 cm, picture courtesy of the artist

How did you select which items of knickknack to depict on this collection?

Amelia Toelke: Partly I selected items that I felt like would translate nicely to the web page. I’m not a educated jewellery renderer or perhaps a painter, so I regarded for items of knickknack that I felt would work with my extra graphic/flattened type of illustration. I thought of colour, and generally I had an thought of what sort of piece would evoke a particular feeling.

I additionally deliberately made sudden pairings. I might have simply used matching units of knickknack, however I assumed it was extra fascinating visually to create these juxtapositions. It spoke to the true depths of 1’s jewellery field and, as such, one’s character. Most individuals have jewellery that they put on and jewellery that stays saved away for numerous causes. All these items describe completely different elements of an individual and their historical past. So many people preserve the jewellery from our childhood regardless that we don’t put on it. Or we would have a very stunning heirloom treasure that will get worn possibly as soon as each few years. It made sense to create this collection utilizing a mixture of high-quality, up to date, historic, and classic jewellery.

Amelia Toelke, Hoops
Amelia Toelke, Hoops, 2017, pure gold leaf on paper, gouache, 36 x 43 cm, picture courtesy of the artist

Talking of your 2D work, you usually mix pure gold leaf into your drawings. Making use of gold leaf to paper could be a meticulous, time-consuming chore. Why are you drawn to this method particularly? 

Amelia Toelke: A part of what I like about gold leaf is that it’s meticulous and time-consuming! As somebody steeped on the earth of object making, I’m drawn to the historic and tactile qualities of gold leaf. To me, the materiality of gold leaf additionally brings it into the world of objects. The house between object and picture has captured my curiosity for a very long time. It is a theme that reveals up all through all of my work, whether or not or not it’s on the web page, on the physique, or on the ground. Through the use of gold leaf, I really feel like I can create a hybrid object—one which straddles the realms of 2D and 3D.

Gold can be simply so magical. It doesn’t tarnish and it’s luminescent. Whereas it makes my work inconceivable to {photograph}, it truly is superb to see how a bit will all of a sudden glow. Each time I gold leaf one thing, I’m reminded why we people love this metallic.

Amelia Toelke, Seeing Stars
Amelia Toelke, Seeing Stars, 2019, set up of sterling silver brooches and earrings, blue circle 1.5 m in diameter, picture courtesy of the artist

Inform us about your coaching and the way you grew to become a visible artist who strikes between jewellery, drawing, and sculpture.

Amelia Toelke: My highschool artwork program was fairly naked bones, however I’ve all the time cherished drawing and making small issues. As a child, I spent numerous time making beaded jewellery. I additionally made many tiny objects utilizing polymer clay and paint. I keep in mind making a tiny tube of Crest toothpaste with a toothbrush and a plate with a wee hamburger, a milkshake and french fries. A whole lot of these objects grew to become pins, however some had been simply objects.

After graduating, I went to SUNY New Paltz. Once I took my first metals class as a sophomore—with the incomparable Myra Mimlitsch-Grey—I fell in love. There was one thing so thrilling about specializing in course of and method. It felt actually pure. It was refreshing. At the moment, I used to be not solely being uncovered to a complete new discipline of artwork and artwork making, however I used to be additionally seeing extra artwork generally—artwork that was witty, subversive, humorous, and sensible. I used to be drawn to the way in which metallic encompasses utilitarian objects like buckets and spoons, but additionally ceremonial objects like reliquaries and censers, and, after all, jewellery.

Amelia Toelke, Happy Chain,
Amelia Toelke, Completely satisfied Chain, 2018, plastic chain and stanchions, roughly 183 x 76 cm, picture courtesy of the artist

Having this vary of fabric to work with was inspiring and allowed me to know how course of might be linked to content material. It additionally spoke deeply to what I knew—my mother and father’ home is an unassuming trove of treasures. It has been richly painted with fake finishes, colourful patterns, and a trompe l’oeil window. It’s crammed with an eclectic mixture of salvaged stained glass, repurposed architectural fragments, and collections of objects outdated, new, and handmade.

Subsequent, the three-year interdisciplinary MFA program at UW-Madison was such a present. It gave me permission to discover making extra non-functional work (a.okay.a. sculpture). I discovered a lot from working with Lisa Gralnick and Kim Cridle. When the metallic grads had been assigned a 100-drawing undertaking, I thought of approaching the undertaking modularly as collage. I drew parts individually after which put them collectively, which was extra comfy and was akin to the method of working three-dimensionally. I used to be hooked. And the most effective factor: drawing will not be certain by the foundations of the pure world, and I might create unbelievable vignettes that didn’t should take care of gravity. Bringing drawing again into my life in a approach that complemented the remainder of my work was defining. Since then it has develop into integral to my follow.

Amelia Toelke, installation view of Underpin & Overcoat
Amelia Toelke, set up view of Underpin & Overcoat, 2020, upcycled insulation foam, fiberglass, resin, paint, {hardware}, sizes vary from 0.9 x 0.9 m to 1.8 x 1.8 m, picture courtesy of the artist. This multi-site public artwork set up, made in collaboration with Andrea Miller, rescales and reimagines political buttons and locations them on the architectural exteriors of buildings.

You additionally create public artwork, which is exponentially bigger than most jewellery and comes with its personal algorithm and challenges. What’s your conceptual and technical course of when creating public artwork? 

Amelia Toelke: In some ways, I contemplate jewellery to be public artwork. Each are out on the earth, on show, meant to be seen and skilled. Each require the physique to play an energetic position. We would suppose that jewellery is “quieter” as a result of it’s small, however context determines every part. A big necklace may not really be very massive when in comparison with public artwork however, when worn, its scale compared to the physique has a giant impact.

The 2020 piece Underpin & Overcoat was a collaboration with my expensive pal Andrea Miller. It was a multi-site public work the place buildings “wore” massive pinback buttons, and I used to be enthusiastic about the messages we put out into the world by what we place on our our bodies. It wasn’t about simply making an enormous pin, it was additionally about how these big pins had been so simply and readily at house in a brand new context.

How do you make a residing as a visible artist? Are you a full-time artist, or do you tackle different jobs that maintain your follow?

Amelia Toelke: I’ve all the time juggled a number of jobs/issues at a time to make a residing. Presently, I do graphic design and publication format as a main technique of supporting my follow. I’ve labored at galleries and finished odd jobs. I additionally tackle customized initiatives/commissions and generally educate part-time. I’ve type of discovered a technique to make it work.

Amelia Toelke, installation view of Underpin & Overcoat
Amelia Toelke, set up view of Underpin & Overcoat, 2020, upcycled insulation foam, fiberglass, resin, paint, {hardware}, sizes vary from 0.9 x 0.9 m to 1.8 x 1.8 m, picture courtesy of the artist

What do you cherish most within the up to date jewellery discipline? What’s one factor you’d change?

Amelia Toelke: I really feel extremely fortunate to be a part of a discipline that can be a group. Should you don’t know somebody, you positively know somebody who is aware of that different somebody, so it all the time looks like you’re in good firm. I wouldn’t change something concerning the group. I simply want that extra people would see how vibrant up to date jewellery is!

Amelia Toelke, Goofy, from the Gem Face series
Amelia Toelke, Goofy, from the Gem Face collection, 2017, gouache on paper. 22.8 x 30.5 cm, picture courtesy of the artist

Lastly, what thought-provoking content material have you ever consumed not too long ago?

Amelia Toelke: I like fiction, so I actually take pleasure in studying novels even when I don’t do it sufficient. I discover that the act of immersion in a narrative is admittedly fruitful for my follow. I learn Avenue of Mysteries, by John Irving, earlier this 12 months. He’s certainly one of my favourite authors, and it was the proper mix of actuality, magical realism, absurdity, household, humor, previous, and current. Earlier this fall, my husband and I took a visit to Montreal and went to the Up to date Artwork Museum. We had been blown away by the exhibition on view—Mika Rottenberg. I’m late to the sport with this multidisciplinary artist who makes surreal movies and sculptures. The movies on view had been mesmerizing, lush, with cyclical narrative that blended reality and fiction. Additionally, very jewelry-adjacent.

Amelia Toelke, picture courtesy of Amelia Toelke

Thanks on your time, Amelia, and thanks for creating AJF’s twenty fifth anniversary emblem!