Making: A Way of Life // Essay

In this exhibition Alison Jackson and Dan Lorrimer present outcomes from their recent creative collaboration that draws on their extensive experience in making unique objects and multiples. The work can be divided into two lines of enquiry, one exploring hollowware and one flatware. The result is two new product lines that imbue the batch production method with the distinctive quality of the skilled hand and individuality of the singular event of fabrication.

The collection of vessels in brass and stainless steel exudes a sinuous tension. These objects are an expression of endless variation. Each is a one-off that grows out of the production method. At the outset of the process the geometric logic of a metal cylinder is transformed by an elegantly simple, linear stretching tool. Repeated pressings at various angles and depths transform the circular cross section of the tube into a complex organic form that evokes associations with botany, biology, and the natural world. A second stage of pressing stretches and flares the base of the vessel, returning it to the round, prior to a base disc being welded in place. A sophisticated finishing sequence is then initiated. The outcome is a visually pure object whose dynamic sculptural form embodies metallic stretching and compression. Clustered in a group the collection becomes a study in common traits coalescing in procreant generation.

The utensils again bring together the material vocabulary of stainless steel and brass. The junction of these two metallic elements is facilitated by two neat rivets, a smart and visually satisfying cold joining system whose radiused form language is echoed in the terminals of the sheet-metal parts brought together. From this consistent intersection the remainder becomes a systematic investigation into alternatives. The brass handles exist in three widths, finished in a myriad of lengths. This rhythmic range supports the head of each implement where difference is even more marked, moving beyond modification into a divergent family of melodious forms that includes familiar and more unconventional items. This lively taxonomy is indicative of a table culture where many and varied dishes are presented for the diners to serve. In the social context of the shared meal these totemic utensils are snapshots of the animated gestures facilitating convivial commune.

Pleasingly the production systems that deliver these two bodies of work enable commercially accessible price-pointing while still allowing the warmth and subtlety of the artisan to enrich every item. As partners in life and work Alison Jackson and Dan Lorrimer once again provide an exemplary model of contemporary creative practice in metal.

Exhibition essay by Oliver Smith,

Respected silversmith and Senior Lecturer at University of Sydney

Image: Alison Jackson + Dan Lorrimer, Flow Form vase, 2021, stainless steel. Photo: Alison Jackson.