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Local art jewellery designers collaborate to create stunning works for Noh performer

"A clearly stated and consciously shared purpose is the foundation of great collaborations."

--Twyla Tharp


How do you make a creative collaboration work?  And work well?  For the past year I have been working with two other metal artists on creative collaborations.  We came together because we all had the same purpose.  We wanted to work on interesting projects that brought attention to jewellry as a fine art. 

We all knew what we didn’t want: to stand awkwardly behind a table anxiously waiting for people to approach us to see what we were trying to sell them.  In our industry this method of interacting with the public seems to be the norm, and when we each began our art careers we all paid our dues with this method.   We came together with the goal of creating a new way for the public to interact with us, with an approach that would be  exciting and engaging for everyone.  

In the past year the three of us:  Su Foster, Simone Richmond, and myself, Patsy Kay Kolesar,  have formed “Jewellery + Artists + Collaboration.”  Our mandate is to collaborate with artists in different genres to create one of a kind wearable art pieces.  For 2013, we focused on working with musicians and performance artists.  

Our most recent collaboration was with Japanese performance artist Yayoi Hirano of The Yayoi Theatre Movement Society.  We met Yayoi through Visual Space Gallery owner Yukiko Onley in the spring.  When we met with Yukiko and Yayoi at the gallery to discuss her project, Yayoi spoke to us about the group’s adaptation of the story of Medea.  She showed us her exquisite hand carved masks and beautifully detailed handmade costumes.  Yayoi put on a costume and a mask  and gave us a sampling of what her performance is like. 

She chanted in the Noh style, which is a traditional Japanese chanting that is somewhat eerie and incredibly beautiful.  As we sat  in this small, open gallery space listening and watching, we were mesmerized.  We felt so honoured to be invited into this creative project and we left that meeting vibrating with creative ideas.   


After that meeting the three of  us sat down over tea to discuss the project.  With each project we do we sit down and go over our goals with clear intention.  We ask what each one of us wants to achieve through the project and we make sure we share the same purpose.  We talk about our process and how we will work together.  We take notes, we bounce ideas off of each other and we laugh.  One of our shared goals is to have fun with what we do.  This first meeting happened in June. 

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