This weekend marks the newest installment of Crafty Bastards, Washington D.C.'s aptly named festival of all things craft. I was fortunate enough to do a piece for the Washington City Paper/Crafty Bastards printed program on Ian Henderson, who is a jewelry artist that blows my mind....hard. Ian creates brooches, rings, necklaces and other pieces out of repurposed aluminum wire and the rubber insulation from the wire. He's inspired by the beautiful/protective armor worn by insects, crustaceans and other creepy crawlies.
The thing about Ian's Zoa Chimerum jewelry is that it's surprising in just about every way that it can possibly be. The pieces are all made to MOVE as the wearer moves. They're also intricately/obsessively craft. Did I mention that they're SOFT? Yup... what looks like a spiky exoskeleton is made out of soft rubber insulation. It's impossible not to touch them, flex them and play with them.
Here's a short excerpt from the interview. The entire interview can be found HERE.
Are there details of your work that casual viewers might miss?
The tactile quality. Most casual viewers do not pick up my jewelry unless I invite them to, because the pieces appear delicate and sharp. When they give in to my insistence and touch them, however, they discover that they are actually quite durable and soft. They are delighted to run their fingers along the flexible spines and feel them spring back into place…Visually, the details create the rhythm in the pieces, so while they are individually unremarkable, their relationship to one another is very important. In that way, the viewer might not notice all of the individual elements, but rather the way they harmonize with one another.
What can you tell us about the line between beauty and danger that your work explores?
It’s interesting that the things we are traditionally repulsed by, when viewed in great detail, have elements within them that to most eyes are extremely beautiful—for example, the compound eye of a butterfly, the delicate veining of a dragonfly’s wings, the curvature and fractal rhythms of an uncoiling fern. There’s a certain beauty in them, and I’m fascinated by the fact that these tiny, delicate things often have poisons, weaponry, or other offensive/defensive weapons that are disproportionately severe to the scale of the animal or plant. These are tiny, fragile things that are extremely vulnerable and can be destroyed almost unconsciously by the more lumbering, overt creatures of the earth. The only way for these delicate things to have any right to exist in this world is by being deadly to the larger creatures that live around them.
Check out Ian's website HERE
Check out the original interview HERE
Check out Crafty Bastards HERE