All posts tagged “Mielle Harvey

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It was that week of the year again…
The only week in the year when I iron my clothes and apply lipstick every morning. The week when I hardly get any sleep at night, experience consistent dehydration in the afternoons and become hoarse to speechless over the course of the day. The week when even I (who rarely ever drinks a drop of alcohol) am longing for a drink every evening. The week when Munich is invaded by the community of the contemporary jewellery world, without the people of Munich even noticing it.
The week before last was Munich Jewellery Week 2017. What a harmless title for this jam-packed abundance of everything to do with contemporary jewellery. I think Munich Jewellery War would be as appropriate, because you easily get the feeling that you need to fight your way through the week in order to simply persevere, no matter if you came to see or show or both. Or Munich Jewellery Walk, as there is definitely a lot of walking involved during these days. From one exhibition, artist talk, party event to the next all day, several days... Or Munich Jewellery Wow, because it is altogether an overwhelming experience, stimulating and exhausting simultaneously.

Last year I had only started writing the KARMA CHROMA- blog and gone into the MJW with the expectation of writing a rich synopsis of all I saw and heard, but the task was just too big for me. In the end, I wrote two articles about two artists whose shows I had visited during the week. Given that around 80 jewellery exhibitions had been on show and I had seen probably half of them, that is a bit meager of course, but I think I prefer it that way. This year, I had an exhibition with three colleagues myself and did not manage to see too much unfortunately. So, this year I will merely write about our project during the MJW 2017.

Our exhibition with the curious title “A BARBARIAN, A TITLE, & A MIRACLE” showed a large number of the latest jewellery pieces and artworks of other media of Attai Chen, Mielle Harvey, Barbara Schrobenhauser and me in the two rooms of the “Verein für Originalradierung München” (an association, which usually is specialized in showing etching art). Barbara, Attai and I studied together almost the whole time in the Munich jewellery class at the ADBK and have been very good friends and colleagues ever since with a lively exchange. Attai Chen and I have been a couple for the last nine years, during which our work has been profoundly influenced and inspired by each other. Mielle is from an earlier generation of Künzli graduates, though I have felt connected with her work for a long time as she was one of my idols when I began to explore art jewellery. She is also a lovely person, so it was both an honour and a pleasure to make this exhibition project with her. The four of us felt that our work was strongly connected in some ways, but was also different enough to create an interesting diverse exhibition together. It wasn’t a curated exhibition though, so we needed to elaborate a concept for our show.

An extract of our exhibition text reads:

“The exhibition, ‘A BARBARIAN, A TITLE & A MIRACLE’ is designed like a collage, created from the collision of diverging and intersecting nuggets of meaning. A group show is a kind of assemblage of different artistic positions, joined temporarily to create a new whole. To this end, we take on the exhibition like a game of scrabble, juxtaposing our individual bodies of work to expose new meanings.”

The idea of making a collage, which created new perspectives and meanings for our work, was the core of the concept when we developed the title, the invitation card and the presentation of the work. For our strange title, we wrote down our four first names on paper, cut the letters apart and played a scrabble game with them until we found a sequence of words, we liked. In the process, many even odder titles came up, but we liked “A BARBARIAN, A TITLE, & A MIRACLE” the best. It could be the title of a poetic story or the beginning of a joke...

For the presentation of the work, we built four long tables assembled from many boards of different colour, material and thickness. We collected pieces of old furniture from different eras and other disregarded boards for several months to have enough interesting material at hand. We all liked this idea also for ecological reasons. It was agreed that in the past we’d experienced that too much waste is created for exhibitions which are only on display for a few days, so we wanted to try to produce as little new waste as possible for this project.
Building the tables went astonishingly fast, but laying out the jewellery pieces took more time than anticipated. For two full days, we were trying different variations. We felt that finding the right way to place the pieces on the patchwork tables was the key to making the show work. The “new nuggets of meaning” became our motto and a running joke during this phase. It was important for us to not only lay pieces next to each other by chance, but to choose them very carefully in order to find interesting partners and relevant groups. In the end, I think we succeeded very well. One visitor even liked one particular “new nugget of meaning” so much, she said, that the two pieces belonged to each other and purchased them together.

Attai Chen (born 1979 in Jerusalem, Israel) showed his new paper jewellery series Matter of Perspective, which addresses the theme of multiple perspectives and how we perceive our surroundings. The explosive disorder of his previous paper series is now bundled and tamed in oval shapes. The way he cuts the paper has also changed quite a bit. Attai is building countless little flat projections of cardboard, which he merges into complex abstract views. Even though Attai was mainly inspired by the Pre-Renaissance perception of space and perspective, for me they are like peepholes to futuristic apocalyptic cityscapes. The backs of the pieces are made with an intricate technique of layering and sanding graphite dust to smooth and slightly shiny surfaces.

Barbara Schrobenhauser (born 1979 in Traunstein, Germany) also exhibited totally new works: There were three freshly finished brooches, where Barbara explored the possibilities of creating a three-dimensional shape only by knotting a string. Like often with Barbara’s pieces, the viewer can only fully understand her works by touching them and so this exhibition was a great opportunity to do so. Barbara showed also several pendants and necklaces made of string and wooden handles. The strings were woven together elaborately to close the handles’ open shape and were hung into each other like the links of a chain. What I enjoyed about these pieces was the playful moment when people tried them on. Even though Barbara had actually planned them to be worn in a particular way, the visitors found different ways to wear them.

Mielle Harvey (born in 1971 in New York, USA), presented pendants, necklaces and brooches from two series: Silver Scenes and Moments of Sky. The delicate pieces, which she created in versatile techniques like painting, drawing and patinating silver, appear like windows that capture a glimpse of a fleeting moment. A passing butterfly or bird, a fluffy cloud or a view of a beautiful landscape, they all represent precious moments, which we too often overlook. I especially fell in love with one piece titled Cameo III, which was made by the lost wax casting technique. It shows a detail of a birch tree forest in an oval frame. At least this is my interpretation of this pendant, because it is almost abstract.

And I (Carina Shoshtary, born 1979 in Augsburg, Germany), showed most of my new pieces from the last 1 ½ years, which included necklaces, brooches and earrings. My idea was to create ceremonial jewellery for a fictitious tribe of hunter gatherers. The most characteristic material is still the graffiti paint, but now involves other found materials into my work, e.g. driftwood, seeds and shells etc. My colour emphasis shifted towards the colour red, which is truly fascinating for me at the moment. Associations to the body are always present. Some pieces contain shapes with bright red openings which invite the viewer to have a look inside the “organism”. One lady said that the pieces appear very seductive for her, but that there is also something unsettling about them. I liked that; it’s exactly the kind of ambivalence that I am looking for.

In our second smaller room, the four of us each exhibited other artworks.
Attai presented one of his new paper wall sculptures, which are a big replica of the brooches of his Compounding Fractions -series. A lot of people who knew his jewellery were amazed at how well he transported the details and the overall impression of the jewellery into a much bigger scale.
Barbara had four of her paper vessels in the second room. The pieces, which are created with incredibly complicated and time-intense techniques, were quite astonishing for the visitors, as many thought at first that they were made of stone and marble. Also, here people needed to touch and feel the paper to comprehend the objects.

Mielle, who is never working on a theme only in the medium of jewellery, but is always simultaneously drawing and painting, showed a couple of drawings on a big wall. The themes of her jewellery pieces were resumed here and gave people a wider insight into her creative work.
I showed four large-scale photographs of my beautiful sister in law wearing my jewellery pieces. The photographs are part of my second collaboration with Munich based photographer, Laurens Grigoleit, who in my eyes is a master of light. Some people even asked me if they were painted images. I will surely write more about this collaboration on the blog soon.

Altogether we were really happy with our exhibition. We want to thank everybody who came during this week, we really met many wonderful people! We also want to thank the "Radierverein" to rent us their beautiful rooms for this week!

Our special thanks goes to Katrin Eitner and the “Förderverein zum Aufbau einer Juliane Noack Künstlerförderung” for supporting this exhibition with a grant of 700 €. Our project was the second they funded, but there are more to come. So please follow up the news on their website!

And finally, we want to thank Tereza Novotna, who a few months ago started an internship with Attai and since then has become an irreplaceable force in many ways for all of us (e.g. when none of us had the energy anymore, she jumped in and made us this incredibly clever and handsome exhibition plan with the info about all the pieces): You are amazing, Tereza!!! Ty jsi nejlepší! Milujeme tě a rozhodně bychom tě adoptovali, kdyby nám to tvoje rodiče dovolili. Objímáme tě.

1Tereza Novotna: Exhibition plan for A BARBARIAN, A TITLE, & A MIRACLE
2/3 Building of the exhibition A BARBARIAN, A TITLE, & A MIRACLE, Photos: Carina Shoshtary/ Attai Chen
4-10 A BARBARIAN, A TITLE, & A MIRACLE, Munich, 2017; Photos: Carina Shoshtary
11 Attai Chen: Untitled; Necklace, 2017; Paper, paint, silver, wood, graphite; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
12 Barbara Schrobenhauser:  Confused and Concentrated; Brooch. 2017; Cotton, string, stainless steel; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
13 Barbara Schrobenhauser:  Vom Tragen und Halten II; Neckpiece2017; Wooden handels, woven string; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
14 Mielle Harvey: Moments of Sky Necklace; Necklace, 2016; Sterling silver, oil paint, silk cord; Photo: Mielle Harvey
15 Mielle Harvey: Cameo I, Pendant, 2017; Lost wax cast sterling silver, patina, oil paint, silk cord; Photo: Mielle Harvey
16 Carina Shoshtary: Over the Rainbow; Necklace, 2016; Graffiti, silver; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
17 Carina Shoshtary: Carnivore 3; Necklace, 2017; Graffiti, glass, silver; Photo: Mirei Takeuchi
18-24 A BARBARIAN, A TITLE, & A MIRACLE, Munich, 2017; Photos: Carina Shoshtary, Tereza Novotna

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Moths and other hexapods- With artwork by Mielle Harvey


I have an ambivalent relationship with moths.
As a child when I would come home, having visiting my Iranian father every second weekend, the first thing my German mother would do was throw all the contents of my bag into the washing machine. She was afraid that the enduring cohabiters of my father’s apartment would conquer her territory too. True enough, sometimes one or two moths would lazily flutter out of my overnight bag, sending my mother into hectic jumping fits in pursuit of the enemy. Back then I didn’t quite understand why there was so much fuss over these small, harmless looking creatures but I naturally began to eye them more and more suspiciously in my father’s lodgings. My mother claimed that they travelled inside the parcels my father received from his family in Iran, which were filled with Persian halva, sohan (a kind of saffron candy), salted and roasted pistachios and pumpkin seeds, dried black lime, spices and other essential components of an Iranians’ eating habits. I don’t know where the moths actually came from, but they were indeed everywhere. Sometimes my father would set a few of his singing birds free for a while to hunt them down, but there was always a fresh supply.

Today I still get a whiff of a panic attack when I spy a Cloth or Food Moth in our apartment, however I can also enjoy the beauty of some other species of the same kind too.
Early this summer I found a huge, odd pupae whilst I was on my hunt for slugs in the garden. Having inspected the curious creature, I laid it back under a leaf. The next day I went to see if it was still there and when I discovered the pupae to be empty, I saw this beautiful fella sitting on a flower just 10 cm from where it had hatched. It sat there on the exact same spot for two days and two nights and then it was gone.



The colours were amazing, such a vibrant, almost neon, pink which perfectly combined with a soft mossy green. The drawing on its back was very special too and I couldn’t help but wonder why nature had made the creature this way. It is called the Elephant Hawk Moth or Deilephila Elpenor and it seems to come from Britain.

Another moth arrived a couple of days ago: a stunning silver moth pin made by Mielle Harvey. I have loved Mielle’s art jewellery ever since my first encounter with it. Her sensitive way of capturing the essence of the animal she is creating- in life or in death- truly touches me. In May this year we visited Mielle and her husband in Providence. This was a great chance for me to see her amazingly detailed drawings and paintings, as well as her new jewellery project called The HEXAPODA Collection. It is a collection of wearable insects; brooches, earrings, rings and cuff links are skillfully modeled in wax, multiple-casted in silver or bronze and then hand painted or patinated. At first glance they appear very realistic, you might even think she casted or electroformed the real insects, but when you have a closer look you can definitely discover Mielle’s own vision of the creatures.



It took me a long time to decide which jewellery piece I wanted to own the most, but I finally decided upon the white tiger moth pin, perhaps just maybe to give my relationship with moths another chance. I know that I am going to wear this one a lot!

white tiger moth2

I asked Mielle a few questions about her work:

Carina: How did you get involved with art?

Mielle: I was raised by artistic parents, so my background in the arts started early. My parents met in art school, and my mother was studying cinematography when I was born. She apparently took me with with her to the film editing room when I was an infant, so I guess I had a very early exposure to the arts! As a young child I had already decided to pursue a life and career in the visual arts, and I aspired to go to art school. I have always loved exploring the outdoors, and drawing and making objects has provided a way for me to examine and try to understand the world since an early age. Not much has changed in that regard.

Bees Enter Box

Carina: What themes do you pursue in your work?

Mielle: I use my work to express my thoughts about life, death, and re-growth and our relationship towards nature. I see my work as a sort of visual elegy and a reminder not to take life for granted.
Throughout my work, I try to conjure empathy and wonder. I am obsessed by the intrinsic beauty and mystery of nature. Working with nature as a topic is my way of both contemplating, and commenting on, human existence. I feel that the human relationship to nature is out of balance, and use my art as a means of expressing this. I use jewellery as a medium for exploring ideas about power, value, beauty, sentiment, and other concepts inherent to adornment.
The elements of nature I depict are intended to convey a sense of the actual subject, while also functioning as allegories for larger concepts. I hope that by addressing complicated issues like fragility and mortality I can embolden the viewer, or wearer of a piece to treasure the loveliness and fleeting quality of life.

Bird for the Hand, bronze, 11.5cm

Carina: You started with creating art jewellery, now you are also drawing and painting. Are these media equally important for you? Are you addressing different issues with different media?

Mielle: Drawing has always been a critical, but less public part of my practice, and I have always been fascinated by painting. For me, all the mediums are connected, or perhaps even inseparable.
The themes that drive my work remain constant, and I am always experimenting with new ways of communicating them. Working with the same topics in different mediums such as jewellery, drawing, and painting allows more room to explore ideas, and I enjoy how the techniques then influence each other. The skills I learned through studying jewellery allow me express ideas in an intimate and detail-oriented way that is very special to the field, and I bring this sensibility to my drawings and paintings. Likewise, I am intregrating drawing and painting techniques in my jewellery work. While I create each object to stand on its own, I also invision the pieces displayed together, telling a multi-faceted story.

DSC05061 (1)

Carina: You are very drawn to insects. What do you find so fascinating about them?

Mielle: Insects are a starting point from which I create objects that challenge expectation and provoke emotion. Insects play a critical role in sustaining life as we know it, and are a perfect example of the beauty and wonder in nature that we so often over-look.
My work based on insects actually began as a means of questioning ideas about beauty in adornment. Because I’m aware that many people find insects frightening and repulsive, I wanted to utilize this reaction as a way of challenging the viewers’ expectations about what is beautiful. By using precious materials and depicting insects as valuable objects to be worn, I strive to elevate their status, and make the viewer aware of their intrinsic beauty and value.
To hopefully raise even greater awareness of such issues through jewellery as communicative medium, I have been working on a dedicated collection of insect-related pieces called The Hexapoda Collection (Hexapoda being Greek for six legs).
My work does not use actual insects, rather they serve as “models” for the pieces, which I sculpt in wax. Sculpting the pieces is crucial for me, as it compels me to observe the insects very closely, and allows me to emphasize those aspects that support the ideas I want to convey. I purposely do not prettify them. Instead, I emphasize their mysterious qualities, or even those aspects which we can find most troubling. For me, beauty in art is often intertwined with ugliness.


Carina: How has your practice changed over time?

Mielle: The themes that interest me have remained largely the same, however my approach to addressing them has evolved. Over time I have  delved into ways of integrating the different facets of my practice including: jewellery, painting, sculpture, and drawing into a consolidated and multi-faceted body of work. Simultaneously, I have finding exciting ways to cross-pollinate these different mediums to create unique hybrids.

Carina: Thank you!


Large Dead Bird

1 Mielle Harvey: Moss and Lichen on Bark, 2005; Oil on canvas, 58,5 x 45,7 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
2 , 3 Photos: Carina Shoshtary
4/ 5 Mielle Harvey: Cockroach (The Hexapoda Collection), brooch; Lost wax cast bronze, patina, protective varnish; 6,0 x 5,1 x 1,3 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
6 Mielle Harvey: Bumble Bee (The Hexapoda Collection), pendants; From left: Lost wax cast bronze, silver and silver with gold, patina, protective varnish, 3, 2 x 2,5 x 2, 0 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
7 Mielle Harvey: Carpenter Ant (The Hexapoda Collection), earrings; Lost wax cast silver, patina, protective varnish; 1,9 x 1,9  x 1,9 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
8 Mielle Harvey: Tiger Moth (The Hexapoda Collection), label pin; Lost wax cast silver, patina, protective varnish; 2,1 x 1,6 x 1,3 cm; Photo: Attai Chen
9 Mielle Harvey: Bees Enter Box; brooch, 2011; Lost wax cast silver, patina, oil paint, 18k gold; 3,8 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
10 Mielle Harvey: Bird for the Hand, sculpture, 2012; Lost wax cast bronze, patina, wax; 11,5 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
11 Mielle Harvey: Silver Scene- Specimen II, pendant, 2015; Sterling Silver, patina, oil paint, silk cord, 3,8 x  5,0 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
12 Mielle Harvey: Red Underwing Moth (The Hexapoda Collection), pendant; Lost wax cast bronze, patina, protective varnish; 6,0 cm x 4,0 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
13 Mielle Harvey: Branch, 2006; Oil on canvas; 152 cm x 91,5 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey
14 Mielle Harvey: Large Dead Bird, pendant, 2009; Lost wax cast silver, string; 10,1 cm; Photo: Mielle Harvey

Text edit: Hayley Grafflin