Getting to Know Georgie Harrison
In order to get to know our newest artist, Georgie Harrison, a little better, we sat down to discuss her journey into jewellery making. The discussion went deep, as Georgie explained her use of modern technologies and what this means for the term 'handmade', metamodernist art theories and the inspiration she finds in physics and quantum mechanics. If you like your jewellery with a side of analytical thinking and deep internal reflection, Georgie's new collection is the one for you! Take a look at her work here.
PO8: What brought you to jewellery making?
GH: Jewellery has always been an interest I’ve orbited around. I took a brief introduction to jewellery class for a semester at uni, which I loved but didn’t study any further. Finally, in 2017, whilst living in Berlin, I turned my spare room into a studio. I became obsessed with the problem solving involved in making jewellery and the attention it demanded.
PO8: You've worked for a long time as a tattoo artist. How did you come to transfer your skills from this long tattooing career into jewellery?
I wouldn’t say the skills of a tattooist and jeweller are necessarily transferable per se. Tattooing is a very collaborative craft, not necessarily creatively but certainly in the regard that it’s something you and your client are both participating in together, for the most part with a very intense awareness of each other's presence. When I found jewellery I was so enamoured by how internal and isolated one can be in the process. I was on this island of endless possibilities, without distraction or creative compromise. It was such a release for me.
I actually started 2021 with a shoulder injury acquired from my years tattooing and have experienced some very uncertain times since, both before and after a diagnosis. I left tattooing and was forced to alter how I make jewellery, so I started teaching myself CAD modelling and sculpting to compensate for my shortcomings. My injury brought about deep reflection on my limited capacity as an artist and maker and ultimately led me to question how we use and define the word ‘handmade’ and, in turn, the authenticity of my own work.
PO8: How do you view the term 'handmade' in today's industry?
GH: Handmade is a powerful term in this age of hyper mass-production and an oversaturated consumer market, and one that I believe is exploited and overstated. In this world of capitalism and exponential technical growth, how do we separate creating from producing? How do traditional and high tech manufacturing methods coexist in this age of fast paced innovation and new aesthetics to represent handmade crafts? Any tool throughout history, has at some point been a new technology. I don’t see digital tools any differently for artists and makers when they’re used as an extension of practice and not simply a means of mass-production or cutting corners. I really enjoy working with this in mind and am excited by the possibilities that technologies offer to my practice.
PO8: You describe your collection as 'Jewellery for the Metamodern Matriarchy' - could you expand on this a little more?
GH: The Metamodern Matriarchy is an idealistic term I coined as an affirmation of sorts. I’m a real cynic by nature but I find a quiet optimism in metamodern art and design. Metamodernism is described by cultural theorist, Timotheus Vermeulen, as "a way to contextualise and explain what is going on around us, in political economy as much as the arts" by way of informed naivety and a pragmatic idealism. It is the return of a romantic sensibility and is "about creating something new with what was created before while acknowledging the inherent ephemerality of the human condition."
- Anne-Laure Le Cuff
Metamodern discourse demands a certain vulnerability, engagement and self awareness with equal parts irony and sincerity, deepness and nonchalance, which seems an unlikely combination in our patriarchal state. We all know that the matriarchy is a system in opposition to the patriarchy, but my Metamodern Matriarchy is not necessarily relating definitively to gender. Rather, it transcends the literal to embody a core values system: a hope for a society of equality, authenticity and nurture.
I try to embody this in my work and practice, embracing traditional and modern techniques to create my jewellery. I imagine my pieces as relics to a utopian era, discovered long after we’re gone, and ultimately holding the significance only of quaint curiosity.
PO8: Where do you find inspiration for your jewellery designs?
GH: I find inspiration in things that baffle me, things I can’t comprehend, and those I don’t understand. Physics, space and the universe, quantum mechanics, to name a few. Like many artists my designs are inspired in part by the natural world, but in a more abstract or theoretical sense rather than literally. I often read articles on the universe or quantum physics to get inspired. I love it because I just cannot grasp the information. It’s so unreal. I am most inspired when I feel the weightlessness of my being an insignificant blip in time and space. *melting face emoji*
PO8: Do you have any favourite materials or gemstones to work with?
GH: I appreciate all the materials I work with for their unique characteristics and I am fortunate to be able to work with them. I’m deeply fascinated by all gems and minerals and it’s not necessarily those with a higher commercial value that hold the greatest intrigue for me. The materials that come from our earth and the way they’re formed are truly amazing.