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.