Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Seth Papac (Cranbrook)
Wood, Silk, Silver
I’m Seth Papac. I make jewelry with mixed materials. I usually go pretty broad with materials and that’s usually based on what I’m doing or what concept I’m working on.
I started in architecture, because physical contact was important for me, or being able to experience art, and for me that was architecture and not so much art. But then when I started doing architecture, I found that it was too flat, and I actually wanted to make the pieces with my own hands. In school I was exposed to some metal artists who were making jewelry that was very architectural. So that’s how I got into making jewelry. And at first my work was very technique-based. I was pushing the limits of my fabrication skills, but I was also doing a decorative technique with gold. So it was jewelry but like on steroids. And then when I got out of undergraduate, the jewelry became more literally architectural, so I would actually base it off of buildings, but I would abstract their forms. And it was still heavy metal and heavy fabrication. Then I did a series of work where I started analyzing why I did what I did. And so I actually made one piece and started cutting it apart. I did a series where I left things unfilled and there was a light, sort of like a blank canvas to start over.
Right before I came to Cranbrook, I did a series of work, it was a chronological series of metaphors. There was no metal, it was all wood and fiberglass and aluminum. It was really a way to break away from using architecture as a metaphor, I was realizing it was like a crutch for me. But also it was a way of avoiding talking about more personal issues, which I think in jewelry, that’s its strongest aspect – it’s about the body and being worn on the body. And it’s the perfect sort of format to talk about maybe like a personal narrative. The work I’m doing now is mostly fabrics. They can be worn as jewelry, but they also hang on the wall as objects. For me, it’s just I hate to see stuff thrown in a drawer. And I think most jewelry is that way, so if there’s an option of hanging it on the wall, it gives it more variety. And so now the work is based on a certain section of my past. I’m sort of purging out some stuff that I’ve been holding in. It’s a really personal, heavy narrative. And that’s what I’m doing now.