The technical discoveries, frustrations and outcomes continually engage and challenge me. Interview with Helen Aitken-Kuhnen by Klimt02
Interview / Artists
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Enameling has drawn me back every time, there is so much still to experiment with in this field and I have mastered a direction that is continually changing and evolving.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
I have always been drawn to expressing my surroundings and emotions in some way, as soon as I found metal and the ability to combine color within it I set myself/began on a lifelong path. Sometimes I have diverted to other mediums and I spent some time mastering glass casting, which I still use for some projects. But enameling has drawn me back every time, there is so much still to experiment with in this field and I have mastered a direction that is continually changing and evolving, the technical discoveries, frustrations and outcomes continually engage and challenge me. My initial training was in Australia, I later shifted this to Germany and England where I spent the majority of my time mastering engraving and enameling, there I met my husband and we eventually decided to settle in Australia. We have both taught and practiced here ever since.
How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this?
Networking is important as is a dialogue with like-minded practitioners, but equally important is a quiet time to reflect and have time to work without the noise of this world.
What are your general thoughts on the contemporary jewellery world, (education, market, development...), where do you see chances and where are dead ends?
I am distressed with the cuts to education in Australia and the loss of teaching institutions, it is a difficult time at the moment for both galleries and practitioners. I think and hope this will resolve and result in new and inspiring directions and research.
Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
The internet has played a huge part in my life, the accessibility to research and contact colleges and friends are invaluable.
How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
My work has I think become freer and more confident over the past few years, I have researched new ways of working due to my hands wearing out and am excited about the outcome and new possibilities. This has opened my thinking and acceptance of a change of direction within my practice, I am enjoying the new visual directions along with the growth and research into less demanding handwork.
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