THE TEMPORARY NATURE OF THINGS
THE TRANSCENDENCE PRESENTED BY THE MINIATURE IS A SPECIAL TRANSCENDENCE, A TRANSCENDENCE THAT ERASES THE PRODUCTIVE POSSIBILITIES OF UNDERSTANDING THROUGH TIME. IT'S LOCUS IS THEREBY THE NOSTALGIC.
- SUSAN STEWART
The Temporary Nature of Things considered notions of beauty, nostalgia, impermanence, and passing time. Motivated by the deterioration of memory and how this is represented nostalgically through miniature objects, the exploration comprised of an installation of jewellery and objects, made one a day, over the course of one year.
The collection began on the 27 March 2007 and ended on the 26 March 2008. Each piece had to be conceived, designed and made within the 24 hours of each day, in conjunction with a drawing and corresponding Haiku. Each piece embodied a reflection on the nature of that day--be it a response to literal organic forms found in the environment or the introspective contemplation of aspects of the human condition. Idealistically intended to discover the poetry in the everyday and the little things that might otherwise pass one by, these daily forms came to abstractly exemplify contemplations on life, time, and indeed, temporality.
Three major pieces accompanied the collection, comprising a series of mourning jewellery that responded to the journey of the everyday experience recorded by the miniatures. Embodying the collective memories of that past year, the Mourning Series was essentially reconstructions that told a story of how the year was to be remembered; they provided closure to a particular chapter in time.
"I remember as a small child in school, participating in a project to plant seeds to grow trees. We each chose seeds from a native plant and placed them in several envelopes with a message attached to each, asking that the seeds be planted so a new tree might grow. The seeds were attached to small balloons filled with helium and cast into the sky to be taken where the wind blew them...
This is how I look at the completion of this project. These small objects will be cast out, with no knowledge of who might eventually pick them out to ‘plant’ them into their lives...The original intention is transferred, meaning is reinterpreted and the object hopefully lives on, mediated by the hand of another; a new story begins...".
Sim Luttin, 2008
Sim Luttin has always found her inspiration in nature, objects of the every- day, and the work of the artists whose work she admires. Luttin's pieces in the exhibition The Temporary Nature of Things at Pieces of Eight Gallery represents a snapshot of the body of work she created while working on an MFA degree at Indiana University in the USA. Her distinctive aesthetic expresses her love of sterling silver and oxidized sterling silver, with the carefully considered additions of other materials, such as graphite, porcelain, hematite, garnet and plastic plant parts.
There is a sense of calm and sophistication in her work. Luttin's Paper Cups are the only hollowware objects in the exhibition but they can easily be identified with Luttin's jewellery because of the delicacy of the forms, the consideration to detail, and her signature silver and black colour scheme. Luttin's neckpiece The Small Things is an interpretation of the everyday in nature. It is quiet, understated, and easily overlooked. The dandelion pendant Just Dandy represents promises of hope, flight and fancy. In its simplest form, it’s about casting a wish off into the winds. The delicate neckpiece Forest Whispers invites close inspection of the beautiful roller printed plant images inspired by observations Luttin made while wandering through a forest-dwelling in Maine.
For her thesis project at IU, Luttin was inspired to create a piece a day for one year. Through her research, she was motivated by Twyla Tharp's work ethic outlined in her book "The Creative Habit", and the film titled "The Five Obstructions" by Danish director Lars Von Trier. Similarly to the parameters set forth in the movie, Luttin challenged her self-created paradigms through physically making, therefore recording her daily experience and environment, which allowed her to reflect on the on aspects of the human condition. Each day she transformed materials into works that are creative, poetic and extremely sensitive. Accompanying each of the pieces are small books that hold a watercolour or sketch and a Haiku that captured some glimpse or memory of that particular day.
The body of work produced was a personal expression and admission that she lived a life with constant nostalgia and melancholy. As observers, it was invigorating to watch Luttin as she created her small wonders that delved into nuances of the everyday and that are conceptually engaging and beautiful. The thesis exhibition The Temporary Nature of Things, totalling 366 pieces, made an extensive installation out of refined miniature jewellery and objects. The selected works for the exhibition at Piece of Eight give a glimpse of the entire project and the rich picture assembled through the talent of Luttin.
Sim Luttin has the inspiration, creativity, and intelligence to make work that will excite collectors and keep pace with the creative dynamics in the art world. Her work will quickly establish herself as a leader in contemporary art jewellery and metalsmithing field as she continues to question, challenge, and seek the unexpected.
- Randy Long and Dr Nicole Jacquard, 2008
From 'The Temporary Nature of Things' solo exhibition, Pieces of Eight Gallery, 2008
> CONCEPT AND RULES OF ENGAGEMENT...
The final project The Temporary Nature of Things involved making a piece a day for one year, culminating in an installation that explored my time living in Indiana.
Originally, the concept was based on an attempt to find the beauty and poetry in the everyday, the small things in life and discovering and noticing the things that might otherwise go unnoticed. It was also an attempt to challenge myself every day, to generate my own, distinct creative habit.
Over time, the project came to represent particular emotional reactions and reflections on daily life and revealing, more broadly, the challenges of daily human existence.
As a result, the collection spoke of the human condition and, specifically, focused on what drives us--our perceptions of beauty, fragility and the temporality of life, of time (beginning and end), of everyday reactions and emotion, of routine, repetition and failure. What we do everyday, what we make time for, what is important? It’s about looking back at what we experience. How do we interpret our life? What might we do differently if we could go back? Would we change anything? Would it make a difference anyway?
For the project, a set of ‘obstructions’ was created:
• Each object must be initiated (brainstormed, researched, conceived) and made that day and cannot extend into the next
• Each object is miniature in scale and must be worn on or relate to the body in some way
• Each object is stamped or marked with the date of the day it was made
• Once made, each object will be wrapped, bagged, dated and stored. I won't look at the piece until the project is complete
• Each object must be titled and recorded that day
• Each object is accompanied by a small book with an epigrammatical statement (based on haiku) and pictures
• If I identify a ‘crutch’ I abandon using that material for a while
• The colour scheme will be predominantly monochromatic greyscale
• I must keep asking questions, challenging myself and reflect on criticism
• Anyone wanting to view the work could do so if interested, as long as I didn’t see it
The reasoning to conceal the object until completion dealt with exploring ideas of memory, and not having the opportunity in life to layout in front of you what has gone before to direct what you might do that day or in the future. All you are able to judge that by are your memories and relics you may have collected along the way.
"I wanted to aesthetically drive the project by reflecting on what I had done rather than observing and predicting change or patterns. In addition to the 366 pieces for each day, the final installation included five major pieces that reflected back on the journey of the everyday experience...I want to express a year of life that is my own, but that could be related to by any person…"