Projects at Poepke: Candle of Vision

April 10th, 2012

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Candle of Vision is a collection of wearable objects created by Kevina-Jo Smith, an artist based in the Blue Mountains. Driven by her environmental consciousness to respond practically and symbolically to waste, Smith creates complex reworkings of found materials, resulting in evocative, abstract pieces.

Each object from the Candle of Vision collection is one of a kind. Each operates both as an artwork and as a functional, wearable piece: either a cape, vest or necklace. Working with natural soft wools, leathers and wooden beads, each piece is intricately hand-crafted by Smith ‘on the mountain’.

Kevina 1

Kevina, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your art?

I like to make things which are useful and/or thought provoking. I guess this is why I began Candle of Vision. I can continue to develop my art practice conceptually and still satisfy my need to make useful, wearable objects.

You are a very environmentally conscious person. How does this filter into your practice?

It pains me to throw things out that will only end up as landfill, so I keep everything. I start to see a pile of ‘waste’ as a pile of materials. I think people who make things in general – builders, artists, designers and so on – have a responsibility to be aware and to create awareness in what they produce.

vest-1

What kinds of pieces make up your collection for Candle of Vision?

Large blankets or capes, shawls, vests and necklaces. They are meant to transcend time and stay with you for life. I like the idea of someone falling in love with a piece, to treasure it and add it to other items which they love and treasure. I feel an obligation to bring back the kind of mentality when things were cared for and passed on. That is why I only make one of everything. The pieces are unique, to be found by someone unique.

There’s an incredible texture to these pieces. What kinds of processes and materials are involved?

The materials I use for Candle Of Vision are all natural. Most pieces are a mixture of wool, alpaca and mohair. I also use off-cuts of leather sourced from furniture shops. The current pieces involve knitting, weaving and braiding. They are all 100% handmade by me.

Kevina 2

How clearly are the pieces planned before you begin working on them?

Not at all. Honestly, the first thing I do is choose a color palette, a pile of materials from my studio stores, then I just sit and start. I really enjoy letting things evolve organically. I guess the process actually begins with my incessant collecting and collating of materials. I do this continuously, subconsciously. I almost see it as the most integral part of each project.

What kinds of ideas or reference points have emerged for you in making the pieces for this Project?

At the moment, I am watching a lot of Mongolian film. I am obsessed! I adore the costumes and Yurts… and their gorgeous, giant red cheeks. If it was cold enough here, I would be making hats too. I will be experimenting with them once this body of work is complete, a version sans fur. I’ve been really absorbed with the Mongolian way of living and dressing.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I have recently had two big exhibitions, one at C3 Convent Gallery in Melbourne and one (which continues until 22 April) at Penrith Regional Gallery. I have also been potting plants in discarded vessels, both natural and manmade. At the moment, I’m very focused on Candle of Vision, working to take it a little bit further. I enjoy working back and forth between this and the exhibitions, since they inform each other greatly.

COV

The Candle of Vision Project begins on Friday 13 April. Read more here.

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