The Art Nouveau Collection.
By Anthony Taylor
6th October 2020
Whilst we are in lock down and the world is braced by a virus that does not discriminate, I shall take the opportunity to write more and express my views and thoughts on our craft.
Many of you who know me and the work I do for MissJ will know that everything I do is above and beyond the norm. I strive every day to push the boundaries of what is possible with my machines, my materials and my skill set in creating beautiful objects of desire.
I will start by explaining the why…
Whilst studying design I was always utterly fascinated by the skill of the craftspeople who made the pieces we so famously know today, think of the mavericks who created the Lalique brand or the Tiffany brand, these are giants in design history by any standard.
But there are just as well-known artists of the time including Georges Fouque, Henri Dubret and Paul and Henri Vever.
Each of these Artists showed a skillset which I can only hope to emulate now and in years to come.
Now of course they were using metals which certainly have a wider spectrum of malleability and workability especially when it comes to creating delicate details, it’s also a lot stronger and can be reduced in physical size to create that delicacy that we all see so much in art nouveau pieces.
This is the dilemma I encounter every day; how can I take a material that is flat and 3mm in thickness and turn it into something more than just a flat 2d object. I guess my mindset is always to recreate jewellery in the same way that a goldsmith or silversmith would, normally in the 3D sense.
The answer is heating the acrylic to bend and shape it but to also incorporate 3d printed components and aspects if and where possible.
In the early years MissJ did a lot of 3D printing, we just put it aside as I believe we were thinking so far ahead whilst our name was very little known that a lot of my design work was overlooked but we are revisiting a lot of that old creativity.
However here we are, and we thankfully have a growing audience and customer base that is very much appreciated that we can offer old and new techniques to create some incredible pieces of art.
I consider everything I do to be art, it’s not just about making products for sale, I want to create things that inspire and motivate me and would also hopefully bring years of joy to its owner whoever they may be.
In a nutshell there is no other genre of art movement that has me as awe inspired about skills and ability to make things like the art nouveau artists of the era.
Now the How….
In order to achieve a more 3-dimensional object of art I know that I can incorporate 3d printing and acrylic bending to achieve that, so what’s left to do is a matter of execution.
The first piece I embarked on making was the Femme Fatale’ brooch, to my mind it is the most delicate yet beautiful and amazingly satisfying piece to make.
Part of that satisfaction is the ease of which all that design work comes together to assemble easily and successfully making mass batch production pleasurable rather than a chore.
Remember I want to challenge myself at the concept and design/execution stage but when assembling many pieces, I can assure you that simple, easy and quick is what every maker wants. I also believe that this is what makes a good designer, a work of art should leave you wondering how it was possibly made yet not letting on just how easy it actually was in the end, notwithstanding the amount of work, engineering and clever design was involved in its creation.
The original piece that I saw and fell in love with was a Georges Fouque piece, it was a gorgeously small and delicate brooch that had the presence that every brooch dreams of having, the proportions were perfect, the size was perfect, the details were perfect. The colours were so subtle yet oozed into vividness that amazes the eye.
To me it was the epitome of what the movement meant. It was a female fairy nude with antennae and a body position akin to that of a sleeping beauty. She had the perfect form and shape, a body we all desire to have and the antennae were so pronounced and spectacular in shape and proportion that it overshadowed her lush flowing full head of hair.
Her arms stretched out either side as she opened herself up to reveal a stunning pair of wings, I could feel the vulnerability yet it was just a brooch, how could this be captured whilst still making me feel like she could strike out showing life at any moment, it was like she casts spells all the whilst convincing the onlooker she is delicate.
This is why I felt she needed to be called femme fatale’, she was seducing me into her web where I would be captured for eternity.
Onto my version and interpretation of this gorgeous piece of art.
I started by designing the nude fairy in blender and decided I really had to keep the antennae, I felt like it was crucial to capture that feminine yet mystical appeal to the piece, the rest was anatomical execution.
The wings were a lot simpler; I knew from the start that perspex’s platinum pearl was the perfect colour to use and backing it with our signature walnut wood finished it fantastically.
The detail on the wings were accomplished by using a soft cut whereby we peel then spray and afterwards a further application of peel and spray. In a future video I will go into detail on these techniques as well as showing people how I make the masked templates for the second layer of detail.
Lastly the pheasant green used to make the dots on the wings are high heat resistant enamel paints and it was the perfect colour choice to the platinum but also offers a hard-wearing long-life finish.
The final assembly was a 2-step process and couldn’t be easier, I peel the acrylic, clean and wipe and then simply glue the fairy onto the acrylic placing her centrally and that’s it.
It is then left for a full 24 hours at least to cure, dry and for the bloom to release into the air without hindering into the piece itself.
What’s left is to package it in our signature luxury presentation boxes with new foam inserts making sure it is presented well and is about as safe and secure whilst shipping can be.
END OF PART 1
Next week’s blog post….
I discuss the new mini Autumn/Spring Collection as well as Part 2 of our Art Nouveau Collection in-depth look on manufacturing and bending acrylic.