We recently caught up with jeweller Marisa Molin about her residency in Norway and her work that features in our current exhibition, 'Attitude As Form'.
When I look at Maria’s work I am reminded of the hours I spent searching the beaches for washed up treasures as a child. Of course, as a child these treasures were simply fragments of exquisite shells, rocks and twists of driftwood; nevertheless, they were precious treasures all the same.
It is not surprising then that Marisa’s intricate jewellery pieces are inspired by debris collected from walks along Tasmania’s shorelines. Her works capture the textures derived from natural materials and translates them into wearable objects.
Marisa just returned to Australia after completing a number of artist residencies in Norway. We jumped at the chance to catch up with her about works from her Fragments of King series that feature our in current exhibition Attitude As Form.
What inspired you to start creating jewellery and what informs your creative practice?
Many years ago, I attended a design conference in Sydney and heard Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe talk about her life and work. I think I was about 19 years old and after listening to her story, I was left inspired. I returned to QCA where I was completing a Design Degree and I enrolled into Gold and Silversmithing the next day. It all grew from there. Now, I approach my jewellery practice with an artist ideology. The work is informed greatly through the process of mapping islands through the fragments I collect. From these fragments, I create an exhibition which a few commercial pieces evolve from.
Marisa Molin, Nautilus rings, 2015. Sterling silver.
Your Fragments of King series was created during a residency at the Currie Harbour Cultural Centre earlier this year. Can you tell us more about your residency and what inspired you to create this series of works?
My residency on King Island allowed me one month of isolation to beach comb and map the coastline to create a body of work entitled Fragments of King. It is a continuation of my Fragments of Flinders series, which was a similar process of translating found fragments into wearable objects from Flinders Island in 2013.
The process during the residency was mostly walking shorelines and edges of the island. Armed with a back pack and iPhone camera, I documented the shorelines as I collected fragments that had been washed up along the beach. I can’t anticipate what I find or what the series will focus on, which drives the curiosity process during the residency. This series finally focused predominantly on the Paper Nautilus Shell and Bull Kelp.
What I really enjoy of this process is how I learn a lot of about the island through the shells and debris that wash up on certain beaches. For example, I found three separate broken Paper Nautilus fragments along the East Coast on three separate visits. It is a shell that is more commonly associated with Flinders Island, however I never found any fragments when I was there. My research of the Nautilus grew, when a Jill, a local resident, gifted me a basket of 20 shells from a rare occurrence of when hundreds washed up on the East Coast of King Island many years prior.
Your work Kelp Track Wandering (2015) features in our current exhibition, Attitude As Form. What story does this piece tell?
Not far from the Cultural Centre, along the shoreline, is the start of one of the key kelp tracks on King Island. After a storm or the strong winds, a lot of kelp becomes displaced and washed up. It is here I often watched those from the kelp factory drive their trucks along and collect the kelp. Often, they first dragged and curled the kelp in a series of nest-like formations along the shore, then they take it on their trucks to the factory where it is hung up to dry.
One worker who frequented the centre was generous with his time in telling me stories of working with the kelp and its importance to King Island. I was surprised at its many uses from cordial (to help it not separate) to what helps lock the colour in our clothes when they are dyed. Ironically, much like me – some of the kelp from King Island is exported to Norway. As my time on King Island was only a month prior to upcoming relocation to Norway, I became attached to its story and often watched the workers drag, and gather the kelp. If I had missed the gathering, the roots of the kelp were scattered at the site as evidence they had been. It was these fragments which I collected and took back to the studio, the discarded off-cuts from the kelp industry.
I don’t often use the organic material in my work, however I did a workshop with Marian Hoskings at QCA for a weekend (which was in the middle of this residency) and she encouraged me to use the raw form into my work more. This piece was the outcome of that worskhop. A process, I aim to continue with in future works.
What techniques do you use to capture the textures of the natural elements that inform your work?
I either cast the raw form directly into metal or take a silicon mould to capture a texture. From the metal or wax casting, I then experiment by manipulating the form in the studio to remove its identity and then I manipulate it further to add wearability. The object retains some of the original associated narratives, but something new is created.
Marisa Molin, Colony of Zooids, 2015. Bronze, sterling silver and stainless steel.
Your works are informed by your surrounding environment. How has your work evolved since you started working in Norway? Do you find it differs much from works you create in Tasmania?
Since I have been in Norway, I have completed 2 Artist Residencies: Frida Hansens Hus (Stavanger) and the KH Messen (Ålvik). Ålvik is situated in Hardangerfjord, a few hours east of Bergen. It is absolutely stunning! I am in the middle of processing my textures and fragment collection for Fragments of Hardangerfjord, which I hope to have an exhibition next year back at KH Messen.
The beaches offer nothing in comparison to Tasmania unfortunately, so It will be an interesting shift in this collection. From Ålvik, the fragments were mostly plastic rubbish I was collecting, which has surprised me more than anything in Norway.
Marisa Molin, Driftwood: Cuff, 2015. Oxidized silver.
How can we keep up to date with your upcoming projects?
To follow the residency on King Island, you can follow the hashtag #FragmentsOfKing
Feature image: Marisa Molin, Nautilus, 2015. Sterling silver.