Since it was first awarded in 2010, the Jerwood Makers Open has established itself as one of the UK’s premier awards for applied artists. Unlike other competitions, the artist’s ideas are central – there is no submission theme or curated pathway, and the award itself is a £7,500 commission for new work. Let me introduce you to this year’s five winners (from over two hundred entries), starting with the amazing paper sculpture of Nahoko Kojima.
I first came across Kojima’s work earlier this year via a fellow blogger, Rowena Dunn, who’d been to see Kojima’s Cloud Leopard at Craft Central. I kicked myself for having missed it and made up my mind to be first in line at the Jerwood.
For the Jerwood commission Kojima has produced a polar bear, Byaku, a two and a half metre-long sculpture made out of a single sheet of Washi paper 300 centimetres square using one continuous cut line, in a technique known as kiri-e. It is quite amazing – both as a representation of a massive animal ( a bit hard to convey in photographs, especially as it is white paper against a white background – the photo at the top of this post conveys it best) and in the fine detail which is truly lovely.
Kojima studied kiri-e as a child in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan. She studied at the Kuwasawa Design Studio in Tokyo before coming to the UK in 2006. She has specialised in papercut art since 1987.
In the next room to Kojima’s polar bear is another work I liked very much, an installation by Adam Buick, called Veneration Bell at Pwll Lleuog, of thrown porcelain, rope and film projection (including the sound of the sea and intermittent chime of the bell). The film shows a series of porcelain bells hung in caves around the coast of Pembrokeshire; there’s also an actual porcelain bell hanging in the gallery.
Of the three other artists, I thought Maisie Broadhead was the most accessible, with her pairings of objects and photographic reinterpretations of old master drawings. The objects on display are used as props in the photographs, which are based on Paolo Veronese’s Allegory of Love series.
Roanna Wells is an embroiderer whose work depicts abstract representations of crowd patterns seen from above. Her work in the Jerwood exhibition, Sea of Faith, hand embroidered on wool, is based on the Kumbh Mela celebrations in India, which attract over a hundred million pilgrims. Try zooming in on my photo to get the full detail.
Linda Brothwell has made a set of tools, each designed to perform a specific function, for use in the Sheffield Edition care intervention in the Portland Works in Sheffield where stainless steel cutlery was first made a hundred years ago. Linda will document the use of this kit to restore areas of this heritage-rich site.
The Jerwood Space is on Union St, just behind the Tate Modern. The free exhibition continues until 25th August.