Hello Eduardo,
Thank you very much for taking and posting the close up pictures of your -Offering of one second for the Virgin-. What I thought to be religious medals are the outlines of the static images of the virgin taken from one second of film. I like it to have a closer look and also to read your thoughts behind it, because yes, we all form our own ideas around the images that reach our brain through the light waves that fall upon the lenses of our eyes. It is a miracle in itself when we all perceive those images as more or less the same concept, like in this case of the Virgin of Guadeloupe. Who, you tell, must have had a major contribution to the unification of what is now called Mexico: the Virgin is considered to be the mother of all Mexicans. The practice of having each part of this installation going its own way in the end in the form of an individual brooch beautifully corresponds with what you tell about the way each of us fills out what happens to us in daily life in a very personal way.

We humans can have the tendency to try to place phenomena that happen around us and which we find hard to understand into the realm of the supernatural. In a more or lesser extend we all do that. It is especially the case where large amounts of people find one another in the mutual adoration and belief in a divine being. I wonder why the story of the Virgin of Guadeloupe in particular turned out to have such a great recognition by the majority of the Mexican population.

Very clever those Spaniards to impose their religion upon other peoples by incorporating the ‘pagan’ sanctuaries and worship into the official faith. The church of Rome has also done this in christianizing this part of the world. I think all major world religions have done this in order to extend their influence. That explains the many regional differences in the practice of Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism. And they all may need these exceptional places of eternal beauty on this earth to have their centres.

When I was in Mexico I bought a small image that I have in my studio. I see it daily. I bought it because in some way it echoed the idea of a purgatory I grew up with and also because it tells about liberation. Nevertheless I had never seen a picture like this. The woman in the picture doesn’t seem to be hurt or tortured by the flames. I find it a strong image. Now the picture is on the wall near the kiln I fire my work in: the little purgatory where my objects turn from something out of loose powdery river clay into firm and lasting ceramics. Which is also a miracle in itself.

As you may have seen I love to work with ceramics, I just find the material beautiful. I started experimenting with it in 1994, and as a matter of fact I still am. I was not educated in ceramic design which may have its disadvantages in technical know-how, it also gives me a quite open approach of using it in jewellery. I like the plastic property of the material next to the often rigid materials like metals and stones we usually work with in the field of jewellery. With each collection I try to find new solutions in making vulnerable and breakable ceramics wearable. And in each new collection I am introducing new techniques. This way I keep learning about the material and this way working on my jewellery doesn’t become boring. Because I am trying out new ways of using ceramics in jewellery, during the experimental stages it is a surprise often what the work will look like when I open the kiln door. Did that glaze turn out okay? Was it the right temperature? Are these types of clay compatible? Etc, etc. Sometimes days and days of work may be completely destroyed in just a few hours of firing. So yes, I need a small saint next to my kiln!  ;-)
Also in my work for WGA I would like to use clay.


During the years I have been working as a jeweller I often heard the remark that my work looks like ethnographic jewellery. But when you ask people where they think it originates from then, they find that question very hard to answer. Which makes sense to me, because I can’t tell them either. It is something that is in fact not ethnical, because it has been made in the here and now. In that sense it is fully contemporary jewellery. That is looks ethnic undoubtedly has to do with the fact I am interested in the utensils of other peoples and often find amazement in the function they have and beauty in the way they were made. I use my own form elements however to achieve a similar eloquence. Repetition a major one of them. Natural materials and techniques used by peoples over thousands of years also one. And ceramics sure is!

I am thinking about making a necklace that looks like it may have been made by a Mexican (jeweller). Will Mexican people seeing it embrace it at something of their own of won’t they? This could be the same issue people have to deal with when they move somewhere else and try to adapt to their new environment, no matter how hard they try. Will they become part of the new land/identity or will they in some way always stay foreign? I tend to think the latter, because of not shared history together. In this way our dialogue is a great contribution to the work I am to make. You make me aware of a new history that is not mine. Thank you for that.

I am also curious what direction your plans for a piece of jewellery will go in our dialogue. Hope to hear from you soon. In the meantime be well. Peter

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