Back
cranbrook_skyscraper.

New Graduate: Liana Pattihis

Article  /  MakingArtists
Published: 06.06.2008
Pat, Johnson
Pat, Johnson

Author:
Pat Johnson
Edited by:
British Society of Enamellers
Edited at:
London
Liana Pattihis. Necklace: Round Link, 2007. Copper mesh, silver, enamel. 128 cm. Liana Pattihis
Necklace: Round Link, 2007
Copper mesh, silver, enamel
128 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Having evolved her own style of enamelling right from the schuster-nicole-schuster-nicole-beginning-2016-2016, Liana Pattihis describes the processes involved in discovering her new techniques.
With the background of a first career as an interior designer, Liana Pattihis began her four year Jewellery Design course at Middlesex University with an open mind as to the kind of work she would make; at that point she had had no more to do with enamelling than to collect Chinese vases, including some cloisonné. In Liana’s second year, Ros Conway, a tutor at Middlesex University, gave a one week introduction to enamelling, focusing on traditional jewellery methods. Although Liana found enamelling to be a beautiful and intriguing process she was a perfectionist by nature and felt frustrated that she was unable to get this method of enamelling quite right in the short period of time allocated. But when Elizabeth Turrell, a visiting lecturer, introduced the technique of sifting, Liana found that this was the area of enamelling that suited her. 

Interested but not yet committed, it was a workshop with Bettina Dittlman, (see the Summer 2006 newsletter, pages 1,2, and 3), that opened up the way of making jewellery that Liana wanted to pursue. Bettina brought in a bunch of fresh flowers as a point of reference and directed the students to reproduce organic forms using copper foil and enamel. There was a ‘lightness and a sense of freedom’ in Bettina’s work which really intrigued Liana and inspired her to continue experimenting with fine copper mesh and enamel for the following six weeks. A particular feature of Bettina’s own practice, where enamelling takes hours and hours and time flies quickly, also exerted a great appeal. The result of all the hard work was a display of 38 enamelling samples arranged as an Imaginary Necklace in a group exhibition ‘Wear It?’ at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, in Hertfordshire, in May 2005. 

Liana was not able to immediately begin developing her own approach to enamel because the third year of her course was devoted to work placement, and only in the final six weeks of her fourth year could enamelling become her main point of focus. This did not cause a problem because Liana had approach in her work that enabled her to produce finished pieces in time for New Designers. Her main preoccupation
at this point was to make wearable jewellery. This meant developing ways of incorporating fixings for the pins on brooches that were simple to use and, at the same time, did not interfere in any way with the design. Although initial sources of inspiration guided Liana, for her the aim was not replication. Each piece was treated as a ‘final’ - what started out as an experiment kept on evolving until something satisfying was achieved. The possibility of failure was not considered; discovery was the goal.
Although Liana kept detailed notes and photographic references, she had no intention to repeat any of her pieces. Of her approach, Liana says ‘The appeal to me is that each is unique. The new discovery in one piece is the starting point for the next. This enables my work to progress.’

Continuing from her earlier experiments, for her final year’s work Liana used two layers of copper mesh to create The Grey Kandinsky Brooch,  inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s painting ‘Yellow, Red, and Blue’ (1925). A layer of fine mesh was folded over the edges of a layer of medium mesh, with the two being bonded together to create a border. Through her experimenting Liana discovered that when two layers of copper mesh were put through a rolling mill, a different mesh surface was created that affected the texture and appearance of the enamelled surface and even the resulting colour. This accounts for the grey colour which is, in fact, black enamel. Sifting blue flux over the surface produced the variations in the grey. The layers of enamel were applied thinly in order to allow the texture of the mesh to show.

Also through experimentation, Liana found a way of producing thin sheets of enamel, which she refers to as ‘leaves’. These she applies, using Klyr-fire, to a previously enamelled surface The orange areas of the brooch were made by the use of such ‘leave

The ‘Kandinsky Reversible Brooch’ was inspired by the same painting. Here Liana applied layer after layer of enamel, sometimes brushing on the grains like watercolour on paper and sometimes using enamel ‘leaves’. She doesn’t know precisely what caused the distinctive cracks to appear on the surface. As it was a very complicated piece to make; one can only assume that the cracks were caused either by the thickness of the enamel or by shrinking or movement of the mesh.

After finishing the brooches, Liana began work on neckpieces. Initially she made two-dimensional, interlinked, circular mesh forms. The necklace was then enamelled in its entirety (usually by sifting but at one point by rolling the necklace into dry enamel) and fired in the kiln in one piece, a complicated and difficult process. The results, however, were more interesting than if the links were enamelled separately because there was a uniformity in texture, colour and pattern in the finished item.

For another necklace, Liana made links by twisting silver wire and then covering parts of the necklace with copper mesh. When the enamel was fired on to this piece, it appeared to her as if the whole surface of the necklace had once been covered in mesh, and that somehow the mesh had rusted and fallen off to reveal, in places, the silver underneath. This was a turning point. From then on Liana’s interest switched to being concerned with what was under the enamel and she began work on a series of pieces entitled ‘Hidden Treasure’.

The first of these was made from 6.5 metres of continuous silver Snake Chain, which was twisted and covered in places with copper wire until it was reduced in length to 1.2 metres. It was then enamelled in its entirety. Other necklaces followed, starting from different lengths of continuous Snake Chain as she tried to see how much silver she could hide under the enamel.

Following her Hidden Treasure series, Liana addressed the fact that her enamelling had an earthy quality that caused her neckpieces look as if they were made of stones. In particular, before they were enamelled, the necklaces reminded her of the appearance of excavated jewellery, dug up during the explorations of Heinrich Schliemann and pictured in the book ‘The Gold of Troy: Searching for Homer’s Fabled City’ by Vladimir Tolstikov and Mikhail Treister. This inspired another series of necklaces, entitled ‘Unearthed’. Here, Liana reproduced the necklaces from Troy, but then covered them with enamel so that they would look as if they had just come out of the ground.

In her final six weeks of her course at Middlesex, Liana created 25 pieces, fourteen of which were exhibited at New Designers in July. They attracted a great deal of interest, with Galerie Marzee choosing to take nearly all of her brooches, as well as some of the necklaces, for the International Graduation Show 2007, at their gallery in Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Eight of her pieces were sent to Studio Fusion in London which will be part of their exhibition Rising Stars.

Before graduation, Liana had already set up an enamelling studio in her home, and will, after New Designers, immediately begin to produce new work.

Remarks

Pat Johnson is enameler and editor of the British Society of Enamellers Newsletter.

Appearing four times a year in full colour, the twelve page newsletter of the British Society of Enamellers presents achievements of enamellers in the UK and throughout the world. Articles cover the accomplishments of established artists as well as inventive student work. The aim of the newsletter is to provide a showcase for advanced techniques and contemporary artistic enamelling.

Liana Pattihis. Brooch: Kandinsky Reversible, 2007. Copper mesh, silver, enamel, stainless steel. ø 8cm. Inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s painting Yellow, Red Blue
. (1925, Centre G. Pompidou, Paris).. Liana Pattihis
Brooch: Kandinsky Reversible, 2007
Copper mesh, silver, enamel, stainless steel
ø 8cm
Inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s painting Yellow, Red Blue
(1925, Centre G. Pompidou, Paris).
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Liana Pattihis. Brooch: Kandinsky Reversible, 2007. Copper mesh, silver, enamel, stainless steel. ø 8cm. Inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s painting Yellow, Red Blue
. (1925, Centre G. Pompidou, Paris).. Liana Pattihis
Brooch: Kandinsky Reversible, 2007
Copper mesh, silver, enamel, stainless steel
ø 8cm
Inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s painting Yellow, Red Blue
(1925, Centre G. Pompidou, Paris).
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Liana Pattihis. Brooch: Grey Kandinsky, 2007. Copper mesh, silver, enamel, stainless steel. ø 8cm. Inspired By Wassily Kandinsky’s Painting Yellow, Red Blue 
. (1925, Centre G. Pompidou, Paris). Liana Pattihis
Brooch: Grey Kandinsky, 2007
Copper mesh, silver, enamel, stainless steel
ø 8cm
Inspired By Wassily Kandinsky’s Painting Yellow, Red Blue 
(1925, Centre G. Pompidou, Paris)
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Appreciate APPRECIATE