Interview with Kate Bajic

Interview  /  Artists   Making
Published: 20.11.2014
Interview with Kate Bajic.
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Kate Bajic's experimentations made during her Masters degree.
Kate Bajic's experimentations made during her Masters degree

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Kate Bajic, jeweller and recent master in Arts & Design, talks about her inspirations and expectations on jewelry and explains more about her new body of work inspired by the lichen fungus. 
Do you think that jewellery is being standardized? What is there of local and universal in your artistic work?
When I start a new piece I try not to think too much about what it will be made of or how it will look. Instead I am interested in linking elements in each piece with the lichen species that inspired it. For me it is the research into the physical, chemical and functional aspects from lichen, that lead the designing of my jewellery and what materials I might make it from.

In general I think the field of jewellery is so broad, that it covers so many different interpretations, I don’t believe it can be standardized. Jewellery is very personal, how it’s worn will depend upon what each person wishes to show or say about themselves. I believe there will always be jewellery of some sort being worn, and that it will always be as diverse as the people who wear it.

What do you expect when exposing your work to the public (for example with an exhibition)?
I don’t expect anything as such. I hope that the work will be well received, that people will enjoy viewing it. I don’t expect that everyone will like it but I hope they can appreciate the composition of pieces and the story that each tells.

Are other areas besides the jewellery, present in your work?
During my MA I used porcelain for the first time. I worked with it as a jeweller, creating small scale hand built samples and slip casting elements, it gave me a different set of material characteristics to consider and work with. I also began loom weaving with silk coated steel, again working small scale, creating sculptural models and samples. I found the process of weaving very meditative and would like to develop this further at some point. I am currently collaborating with a weave artist on a wall hanging for an exhibition in July 2015 and am finding it fascinating working to combine metal and textiles together.

The last work, book, film, city that has moved me was...
Reykjavik for the reasons given below. I loved my brief time in Iceland, Reykjavik is a vibrant and buzzing creative city and very different both architecturally and culturally from my own UK background.

A place, space, country whose creativity surprises me...
Iceland. I visited for the first time this year and was amazed at the diversity of landscape, the beauty, the wilderness. You can’t help but be creative when you are surrounded by nature and natural forces in such a way.

Is there any designer, jeweller, artist, you appreciate a lot?
Terhi Tolvanen, I love her work. She has a sensitive approach to her materials and is unafraid of experimenting with them and manipulating them to achieve her designs.
What piece or work has given you the most satisfaction?
The Breathe brooch from my Lichenology collection is one of my favourites, it came together in a satisfying way. The composition of the chemical structure (usnic acid) worked really well when developed into a setting, the slip cast lichen fragment (cladonia portentosa) maintained its intricate structure when fired, and fitted well into the setting, and the pierced representation of a lung successfully symbolised usnic acid’s use as an anti tumour treatment for lung cancer, whilst also suggesting the lichens physical composition in its form. The decision to spray the piece white enhanced the medical feel and suggested cleanliness and purity.

Kate Bajic
Brooch: Breathe, 2014
Silver, porcelain, paint
9.5cm x 5.5cm x 3cm

Do you read Jewellery Magazines? What is your source to get information?
I subscribe to Crafts magazine, and SNAG Metalsmith. I’m interested in reading about what other jewellers are doing through online forums and in networking groups such as Crafthaus, and I use social networking and Pinterest a lot to keep up to date.
Do you discuss your work with other jewelry artists or any other person?
 I have several creative friends who work in contemporary craft and I value their opinions of my work. I also discuss pieces with my family as they will offer me a different viewpoint. I don’t discuss specific aspects of my work with other jewellers. I try not to be swayed too much by what other people may think, I find it works best for me to focus on what I want to achieve with a piece. During my MA I found it very useful to get feedback from the head of the course, jeweller Roberta Bernabei. I respect her opinion and she helped me to view my work in a more analytical and considered way.
What is your first thought when you hear the word Future? What do you expect for?
In my immediate future is my first solo exhibition, it takes place next February at The National Centre for Craft & Design so that’s on my mind a lot at the moment. It will show the development of my work through the course of my Masters and the range of sample pieces and sketchbooks created as I progressed through the year, as well as new brooches which I’m developing at the moment. I hope visitors will appreciate the creative development of the jewellery, and will leave having learnt a little about lichen and its many uses and functions.