Last autumn I met jewellery artist Eva Burton (born in1984 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) in Barcelona, when I had an exhibition with four colleagues in gallery Amaranto Joies during Joya. In a separate exhibition in the same gallery Eva was showing pieces of her series The Backyard of my House is special. At once I could see that Eva is also a colour-loving person like me, when we got chatting about this and that we found out that we have more in common, for instance a profound liking for extensive breakfasts or alternatively a hobbit-like second breakfast. Regarding our work, Eva and I are both working with reclaimed materials, which we collect in our immediate surroundings. In Eva’s case it might have been her first education in art restoration, which left a fondness and curiosity for broken old things with a history. When Eva was living and studying jewellery in Barcelona at the Escola Massana, she was gathering pieces of broken furniture, musical instruments, etc. on the streets, which she deconstructed, altered with colours and textures and then rejoined in some kind of bubbly optimistic assemblages with an ethnical touch. The constructive streak in her jewellery work leads back to her first studies, as she was working in the restoration of buildings and architectural drawings.
After finishing her B.A. in Barcelona, Eva went to Germany to begin her master studies in the Department of Gemstones and Jewellery Design in Idar Oberstein, from which she will graduate in one year. Eva chose to study in Idar Oberstein, because she was very much interested in learning stone carving and cutting techniques. She told me that her fascination with stones grew into a kind of obsession over time and she recently even started an apprenticeship with a professional stone cutter. To gain experience with carving stones on a big scale, Eva will take a four week course in the Salzburg International Sommer Academy of Fine Arts with the Greek sculptor Andreas Lolis. However, with the course fee, board and accommodation these kind of summer courses are costly and so Eva came up with an idea:
In the next month Eva is selling tickets of 10 € each for a tombola, where you can win a pair of Eva’s Blossom- earrings. One in 10 tickets wins. In this video she explains the details:
I like the idea that a group of people who share a similar passion can help to make it possible for someone to create special experiences in order to enhance his/her skills or simply broaden one’s horizons. So if you feel like 10 € is not a huge amount to spare for you now, please consider to take part in Eva’s tombola. The drawing of the tickets will take place in the end of August. Here are some of the earrings of which you might win a pair:
I bought a ticket for the tombola too, but Eva and I decided to make an earring swap nevertheless. When we were choosing a pair from the other, it was mainly about the colours, naturally. Eva told me her favourite colours are hues of green and turquoise and she decided on a wing shaped pair of the Karma Chroma - series with graffiti in those colours:
Eva and I then began a written dialogue:
Carina: Tell me a bit about your fascination regarding stones. You said your reception of the stone as a material completely changed since you are working with it. In which way?
Eva: Since my earliest memories, I have been attracted to stones because of their appearance. I have always been amazed by what Mother Nature is able to do and I just could not believe the colours and the inclusions that some stones have!
By looking in architectural ornaments or sculptures I wondered how a human could relate to this material and create a form out of it, especially in the most ancients cultures like the Pre Hispanics.
And when I began to work with this material I realized that stone demands full concentration and respect. You involve with the materiality in a very intimate way. Very, very slowly you start to understand the silent language of stones. There is a point where you start to communicate with it. It can bring the best and the worst out from yourself. When you reach a point, where you feel you are making the right movement it is so fulfilling! But when it breaks you can be very much disappointed. So it is also some kind of self- understanding, you want to reach balance to use your hands in a way that the stone will feel grateful...
Carina: I was also always attracted by stones and have collected them since I can remember. Some of my work is clearly inspired by the shapes, patterns and structures of minerals. But I have never worked with the stone itself as a material, it somehow never even occurred to me to try. They often seem so perfect how they are. And then there is the hardness of the stone, which discourages me. I prefer softer materials, which don’t give so much resistance to shaping them. This makes me have all the more respect for your decision to make this workshop and try out working with big scaled stones. Living for a month in a stone quarry and working there on solid large-sized stones sounds to me not merely like a small adventure, but like a physical and mental challenge. Do you get in any way prepared for this? What attracts you most to trying this?
Eva: This experience that I am about to gain makes me feel so excited! I love the sensation of approaching the gate of the unknown, I just can’t wait to wake up every day in these surroundings and to meet a lot of people from different parts of the world with one main aim: carving stone.
I am sure my body will end up quite smashed but I am always ready for pushing myself in mind and body for my work. To feel physically exhausted because of working is satisfying for me, I think that as long as I can use my body in this way I want to do it. I want to climb, jump, kick, hammer, grind... And I am sure that after a long day I will find my moment of quietness with the nature around the quarry...
And coming back to your perception about stones, I can definitely see the shape of crystals in your series What’s left of Krypton! These pieces make me wonder if the stones in outer space would look like yours because they have a sort of meteorite appearance... Have you ever felt in outer space while working ? Are you a spacey person who travels with the mind to far away planets and lands…?
Carina: You’ve got me there, I always hope it is not too obvious, but I am probably wandering around more in imaginary places than I am present in the real world. I have more imagination than is good for me, which makes me a terribly impractical person. That is why I had to become an artist I believe. On the whole, our world doesn't have much room for dreamers, but as an artist you have a free ticket to be moony or quirky in other ways. When I am working on my pieces I can immerse for hours in whatever I like and I consider that a big privilege.
Eva: It is indeed a big privilege! I also have the same feeling and I enjoy so much to be able to travel in my mind to eccentric imaginary places and to come back to reality with my backpack full of inspiration. And sometimes confusion...
Carina: Coming back to the workshop in Salzburg: You already made some larger scaled toys for children from carved and reclaimed wood. Now you are going to learn how to carve big stones. Do you need this larger scaled work to keep a balance with the small scaled jewellery making?
Eva: Well I guess somehow yes... I started to have the urge to jump out from the typology of jewellery into something else. I am comfortable with the idea of not fitting my work in one single medium. I started my MFA with the idea of enlarging the scale of my work. Right now I need to involve my body in my work, even if I feel totally smashed after long hours of wood and stone carving. It is an amazing feeling! It makes me feel confident with myself and strong as a woman. And I guess I am always seeking for the feeling of balance, but since I am a very hectic person that is definitely not easy...
Carina: Finding balance is no walk in the park, especially not for artists I think. The thing is, I love to plunge into my work and meanwhile drift around in other spheres, but I also need the feeling of a down-to earth order and regularity, otherwise I feel I get lost. That is not so easily juggled and I am still figuring it out. My dog Lola helps me a lot with that, because every few hours on time she is demanding attention and reminds me of her and my ordinary needs. I think we found a good rhythm together, which enables me to keep my days more in a balance. And there is nothing like a walk or jogging in the forest after a few hours of having persisted in a cramped working position. How do you relax after a day of carving wood or stone?
Eva: I have to say that for me it is very difficult to slow down… It is really hard and I am working on it. Since I moved to Idar Oberstein, a walk in the dark through the forest after a long day in the workshop is something I enjoy a lot! When it is snowing I love the sound of my feet crumbling that shiny landscape and in the summer the amazing voices of the birds play the most beautiful songs! It is my way of enjoying the right here-right now moment…
Another silly way of slowing down is my ritual of a Seinfeld episode before falling asleep, next to my cat Tilo. It is a way to disconnect my brain from the making-thinking and just laugh for 20 minutes without any more expectations than that!
But my favorite way to slow down is when I allow myself to take one day off and visit friends, gather and cook together, listen to music, talk about life, just see their smiley faces make me feel happy and the fact that I live far away from my homeland, my friends are very important. They are the family I choose, so this coming together is very necessary to feed our friendship. I am such a lucky person to have so many lovely people around!
1 left: Eva Burton: Blossom, earrings; Wood; enameled copper; silver; Photo: Attai Chen; Model: Carina Shoshtary; 1 right: Carina Shoshtary: Wingshaped Karma Chroma-earrings, earrings, 2016; Graffiti, glass, silver; Photo & Model: Eva Burton
2 Eva Burton: Chair, necklace and object, 2015; died agate, crisopras, reclaimed metallic pieces from furniture, old toy, silver, gold, acrylic paint, paper; Photo: Eva Burton
3 Eva Burton: Bacon Twist, necklace, 2014; Pink opal, enamel, wild boar teeth, silver, copper, patina, resin
4-15 Eva Burton: Blossom, earrings; Wood; enameled copper, silver; Photos: Eva Burton
16/17:Carina Shoshtary: Wingshaped Karma Chroma-earrings, earrings, 2016; Graffiti, glass, silver; Photos: Mirei Takeuchi
18: Eva Burton: Blossom, earrings; Wood; enameled copper, silver; Photo: Eva Burton
19: Carina Shoshtary: Black 2, brooch, 2011; Graffiti, silver, stainless steel, Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
20/21: Eva Burton: Drifting Chair, brooch, 2013; Piano and skate woods, acrylic paint, antique paper, nickel silver, patina; Photos: Eva Burton
22/23: Eva Burton: Rocket Piano, brooch, 2013; Piano and furniture woods, nickel silver, antique paper, acrylic wood, patina; Photos: Eva Burton
Text edit: Hayley Grafflin