A chance meeting with Prof. Douglas Harling in CAA

Blog post
Published: 19.03.2011
A chance meeting with Prof. Douglas Harling in CAA.
Zhu Aiyu

       Prof. Douglas Harling, from the Kentucky School of Craft/Hazard Community & Technical College, Hindman, U.S.A, where living about 800 people. He had visited to the CAA for 10 days in March according to our exchange plan posted on Klimt02. And in this very short time I got to know a person who is very lovely.
      The first day we went over the academy…I was just showing around him about stores, school canteens, transporation tips. And on the other days, we worked together about his lecture to students. Through the lecture we read a very poetical jewerly artist. With ancient handcraft of granulation he creates pieces that has a spirit of love, tender, and imagination.

Prof. Douglas Harling lectured in the China Academy of Art
I hereby attach some examples from his presentation along with explainations.

“When I was in graduate school, I was working with this very large the architectural brooches, they were very large, I was not very happy with them.”

“So I rebelled, and I crushed everything flat. I made a complete break with the past. This brooch was very very thin, they were stealing silver. I embosed, they were drawings on the metals. They were elictrial plated on the back for strength. I like the pieces but there were very reflective. So I wanted to create a better figure ground for drawing.”

“It is an apple with a bite, represents forbidden knowledge. Adam and Eva”.

“I have come back to this series, and this is a very recent piece. It’s based on a Robert Motherwell painting---“poncho villa alive and dead”. I choosed this because I was interested in the duality of life and death in pre-columbia society life and death were considered equal.”

“This one was called vishnu dreams. He is a hindu god, who dream the world. My father practises eye doctor , at home he has lots of picture of eye deseases. And I thought this one I designed the piece. I remember these pictures when I design this piece. My father saw it at a exhibition and said: did it look a real eye…That was in big trouble.”

“I did a whole group of pieces that were just drawings in metal and silver and gold. They were a lot of fun. I would just draw with a pen on the metal and turn the lines into gold wire, fused all down. I wanted to have this kind of fun with the gold pieces”.

Apart from his creative experiences, drawing on metals, playing with handcrafts, furthermore, there is always a methodology behind each pieces of work, sometimes in childhood memory, sometimes in a sense of life experience, we are very appreciated he could bring it to us from thousands miles away and generously share it with us. From our previous talkings what has deeply impressed me is he has a parrot…living with him for 35 years! !! Probably.....this helps us to understand his works…I suppose.

About the author

Zhu Aiyu is now a postgradute from China Academy of Art. She makes jewellery&glass artworks. She is glad to work with anyone who has interests for exchange in this field.

About this blog

This blog is created to share experiences on jewellery dialogues.