A Caddy Spoon for Orwell - Press Release
Paul Alexander Smith is a recent graduate in contemporary silversmithing and jewellery. He specialises in mokume gane patterned metal techniques that manifest in innovative forms.
The concept for the spoon centres on a fictional commission for George Orwell, an enthusiastic tea drinker, for a personal caddy spoon. Initial research focused on Orwell’s political persuasions and the oppressive mechanisms of politics which he railed against in his writings, his experiences in the Spanish Civil war and his wartime work for the BBC (often cited as the inspiration for room 101 in the novel 1984). Parallel to this examination ran an investigation into both antique and contemporary caddy spoons, as well as contemporary artists’ interpretations of spoons in general.
Research also explored the imagery of the impact of conflict, subversion and oppression so present in Orwell’s work, through experimentation with the Japanese metalwork technique of ‘mokume gane’. These tests attempted to symbolise imagery such as bullet cracked glass. This developed further by introducing Orwell’s own weapon of choice – the typewriter – with particular attention to the keys. This inspired a series of laser cut models which matured into metal test exploring the layered aesthetic of the typewriter keys.
The final result of the research is a highly personalised silver caddy spoon for George Orwell, expressing a fresh and innovative approach to the object. The piece was chosen to be exhibited at the Craft Design Council Awards 2016.
The Botryoid Vessels - Press Release
Paul Alexander Smith is a recent graduate in contemporary silversmithing and jewellery. He specialises in mokume gane patterned metal processes that manifest in innovative forms.
The ‘Botryoid Vessels’ are the result of a focused investigation into segmented growth. Drawing inspiration from the natural segmented structures of minerals. Exploring an intuitive process of making, “I let the bubble-like forms grow unconfined, without rigid predetermined designs, in the speculative manner of ‘thinking through making’”.
Incorporated within these forms is the patterned metalworking technique of mokume gane. This Japanese technique, developed in the seventeenth century involves patterning fused layers of contrasting coloured metals. Influenced by the ideas of silversmith Alistair McCallum, Paul’s mokume’ incorporates modern technologies, such as CNC machining, into the process in order to realise innovative patterns.
“The concept of marrying such a venerable technique with modern tools, such as CNC machining, appeals greatly as a means of pushing forward and evolving the process.”
This “technical virtuosity” is reflected here in the use of unconventional botryoid or bubble forms that aim at producing an interesting aesthetic when viewed from any angle.
Ultimately, the intention is to explore these ideas through a series of silversmithing pieces that realise a harmonious amalgamation of form and surface pattern, while experimenting with what might be achieved by pushing the conservative notions of mokume gane metalwork.