Saturday, September 17, 2011

Liebermann Pottery; Adriaan Turgel, the pottery detective.

Situated in Johannesburg, opposite the University of Johannesburg Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus (location of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture and the Hotel School), is Liebermann Pottery
The space and the ceramics is synonymous with Adiraan Turgel, an enthusiastic and determined entrepreneur, with a passion for ceramics. Established in 1952 by Sammy Liebermann and inspired by the Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada tradition. For many years, it produced a wide variety of handmade cottage tableware, even supplying restaurant-chains across the country (Mikes Kitchens and Spurs).
Sales Office.
Variety of Liebermann pottery
Spiritual corner.
The space and place is constantly transformed by the pottery detective himself, its look and feel formed and shaped by ceramic imports; new arrivals in all shapes and sizes, mainly from Asian countries. China and Vietnam to be more specific. Garden pots, tableware, fine bone china, sculptural ceramic ornaments and even traditional politically charged Chinese memorabilia (propagandist) are for sale here at reasonable prices. 

This pottery offers the largest collection of asian pots in the country  and includes the biggest collection of bonsai pots on the continent.

Every little space, inside and outside of this historic landmark, the Gasworks, is packed with ceramics. Many an architectural student at Wits and at UJ has had to apply their design skills in an attempt to find creative solutions to better utilize this space. 

However the present utilization of the space, home to a vast number of ceramic products of various oriental styles including Liebermann's pottery itself, is a feast for the eyes. 

The stacking of the pots ‘en masse’ creates a unique visual experience; the closest one would ever get here in Jozi, to a Chinese Pottery on the continent of Africa.
It is in close proximity to the now well-established shopping precinct of Stanley 44. Little courtyards and alleys in a reconstructed industrial space create interesting revamped and configured interior spaces for fine restaurants, shops, a gallery titled Art on Paper and a fabulous bakery. This is as local and intimate as it gets, for a truly authentic shopping experience. Lofts occupied by trendy residents make this location one of our most successful contemporary style shopping and cultural precincts in the city – in line with contemporary consumer expectations for a value adding experience. Value for money is served with a local and sophisticated flavour, creating a stylish and vibrant atmosphere. The smell of freshly roasted coffee (Beanthere) permeates the air from a distance, whilst the allure of fresh bread Vovotelo Bakery, makes this a thirst-quenching watering hole for the discerning shopper. The trees have now grown to a desirable height and the few fountains with churning waters makes it a very special place indeed – Mill park’s oasis. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ballpoint pen drawings of jewellery designs; cuff links and rings with pearls.

Large corsage brooch, Designer Henri Vever (1854-1942),
showcased at World's fair in Paris in 1900.
Thomas Faerber Collection, Geneva. cited in Book titled Pearls.
The designs for the jewellery pieces are progressing well. I have completed the colour drawings for the ring design showcased in a previous post. Step by step preparatory ballpoint pen drawings, featured on previous blog posts with the label Jewellery Designs (follow link). I refined the design by addressing the use of colour to enhance symmetry (to be enameled).
Ballpoint pen drawings; jewellery designs for cuff links and or rings. 
For the past two weeks however, I have focused my attention on new designs, rendered in preparatory ballpoint pen drawings showcased here. I have had to reduce the scale of the drawings to address design preferences and styling to scale. 
I have also extended my product range, opting to include neck pieces, cuff links and more rings. This has been a very exciting journey for me, as I am responsible for teaching drawings in the Jewellery Department. I have spent long hours honing my drawing style, especially rendering skills for jewellery design and manufacture.
I have also tried to render and capture the forms and shapes of pearls, as they feature strongly in the mythology of the five-clawed dragon. The dragon chasing a pearl ringed with flames, is at the centre of the inspiration for my ceramic installation with projected animation, titled and the ship sails on (image on the left).   Although it does not feature in the work at all, I have decided to incorporate pearls in the jewellery pieces for the following reasons.

To this end I have referenced an incredible book/catalogue titled Pearls. The book serves as a catalogue to an exhibition, also with the title Pearls, curated by the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. The exhibition ran from January – June 2010. The author of the book was Dr Hubert Bari and David Lam. 
The Islamic Art Museum Qatar Doha, Architect IM Pei. 

It is an extensive publication that documents the formation of pearls, its history, their cultivation and finally a tribute to the first lady of pearls, Mademoiselle Chanel. The book also showcases historically significant and archetypal jewellery pieces as well as contemporary designs that are breathtaking in their beauty and design (image below). The post title image a fine example, arguably the most stunning jewellery piece featuring pearls ever designed.
'Cristaux Perles' necklace composed of
diamonds and pearls. Cited in Book Pearls
 Firstly, I have to address its importance and significance to the Chinese culture and in particular its symbolic association with the dragon.  Next year being the Year of the dragon and as mentioned on previous blog posts the theme of my exhibition in January 2012.The pearl represents a principal of life and embodies revitalization. Many sources do however question the fact whether the round forms and shapes in early artifacts does originate from the pearl itself or its association with the moon. It does not really matter, what is important are their symbolic meaning and significance. Both emblems embody fertilization and regeneration. The dragon pursuing a pearl is synonymous with the moon cycle - the iridescent sphere moving through the night sky.   When caught and swallowed by the dragon, it exemplifies the rare occurrences of an eclipse. Hence the Chinese fascination with pearls, its cultivation and incorporation in body adornment.
Gabrielle Chanel, portrait by Boris Lipnitzki (1897-1971)
cited in book titled Pearls (Bari & Lam; 2010)
Man Ray 1935.
Hommage to Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel – and her pearls.
Secondly, is the association of pearls with the fashion icon Coco Chanel (1883 -1971)? Her pearls were her most adorned and coveted possessions. She was apparently infatuated with their simple and yet lustrous and iridescent qualities. She would not be seen without them. She was however less concerned with the value of the pearls than their striking lustrous simplicity. She even wore fake pearls.

Go and look for my pearls. I am not going up to the ateliers until I have them round my neck, for I insist on being a credit to my girls.
Gabrielle Chanel.