ALICIA HANNAH NAOMI
Meticulously crafted textures and tones in Alicia’s artisanal jewelry emanate such striking emotion and power that small rings and pendants feel as grand as statuesque mountain ranges. With a distinguishable dark and melancholy style, rough textures are shaped into things of beauty, she manages to make a physical piece painterly, expertly blending metal into crystal. Having studied silversmithing and honing her skills through intense practice, she is able to turn her imagination into reality. Carving and molding raw materials into special pieces that the wearer will value and admire for years to come. The passion and love that she has for her craft is obviously reflected in the results and echoed in the following interview in which she shares her thoughts on her process and work.
Your jewelry emits a powerful sense of emotion; a beautiful balance between strength and melancholy. How much does your mood and life experiences affect your work and process?
There is definitely an element of autobiographical temperament to my collections... but during the development process the works easily take on an atmosphere of their own that's less personally reflective and more broadly evocative. My last collection was heavily inspired by interpersonal relationships, specifically of that between lovers - naturally I drew upon my own feelings for my partner to execute the textures and forms within those works.
Why is creating functional pieces your medium of choice for artistic expression?
I believe that personal style is one of the most natural - and therefore fundamentally important - forms of self expression. Jewelry is precious and often sentimental; it can be worn intimately or exposed. I love the ensuing conversation that stems from the way we choose to adorn ourselves. When someone chooses to include your art as part of their self-expression it is really the highest compliment.
Congratulations on your successful collaboration with SOME/THINGS. Was your creative process any different on this project compared to working for yourself?
Thank you. Working with James from SOME/THINGS was a really smooth process. He approached me already understanding my vision and so after describing my concept ideas for the works I mainly spent the time checking in as I developed the design for his guidance and feedback. He would prompt changes and I would execute until the final piece was realised. It is similar when working with any client on bespoke work. So far I have been lucky that all of my collaborators and clients understand my aesthetic and want to share in that vision. Usually I am given a fairly clear direction to work towards, and then production process unfolds very naturally. My creative process is very similar when working for myself - sometimes when I feel like I hit a wall creatively I will consult with my partner (who is also an artist) and he offers quality, unbiased feedback the way my other collaborators would.
What excites you most about creating jewelry?
Seeing my models come to life from wax to metal is my favourite part of the process. I hand-carve all of my textures from wax, so it presents an interesting challenge to craft certain surface treatments that mimic other natural formations such as rock or stone - and do it consistently across more than one style. A texture can be a happy accident but it's more beneficial when it's something you can repeat across more than one piece - a ring and a pendant for example - to develop a cohesive story. If I've developed a new texture it usually looks very different in wax than in metal. This is because the wax has a level of translucency than the metal, the textures seem more multidimensional in wax. It's sad actually, I'm incredibly meticulous with every minute detail in a texture and the truth is that you lose some of the depth to a texture once it's completely solid. You can patina the solid metal to give it a blackened effect, and by polishing it back it can help reveal some of the lost detail to the texture, but sometimes that actually makes it even harder to discern the true depth of a texture. I'm digressing a lot - but it's that transition from wax to metal that I do find exciting because I never know exactly how it will turn out..
What are the biggest challenges you face as an artist?
Being an artist in Australia is very difficult. It is just so far away. It is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to travel internationally and show my work to the people in the industry who need to see it the most. I love my city and the lifestyle it supports, I would choose to live here a thousand times; but as a working artist I find that the proximity from the rest of the industry is a burden. I hope to take my work internationally in 2016.