Oct 26th 2019
Every Month we will showcase three Visual Arts Scotland members, spotlighting their work & practice.
These showcased members will be chosen by a monthly guest curator. The invited curator will select makers & artists that interest them from our amazing membership. This will be based on a theme of their choice.
Curator: Susanna Beaumont
Susanna Beaumont is a curator and mentor. She has wide-reaching experience of working with artists and designers to deliver site-specific projects, commissions and exhibitions in Scotland and beyond.
In 2018 Susanna launched Design Exhibition Scotland, a pioneering project championing design excellence and exploration with the expressed wish to raise the visibility of contemporary designers working in Scotland.
An energetic thinker and innovator, Susanna is passionate about advocacy, reaching a wide public audience and supporting the resolutely contemporary. She was the founder director of doggerfisher Edinburgh (2000-2010) the celebrated contemporary gallery, where she championed the early careers of many now critically acclaimed artists.
Previous positions include director of Frith Street Gallery, London; guest curator at Jupiter Artland; acting director Outset Scotland and mentor to the Fleming-Wyfold Foundation. In 2016 she co-curated with Amanda Game NL20 commissions to celebrate the 20th anniversary of North Lands Creative Glass, working with the artist designer maker, Geoffrey Mann, on a site specific installation for Dovecot, Edinburgh.
Tell us a little bit about your artistic background/education
I studied Jewellery & 3D Design at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, graduating in 1992. This immersive time launched me on the exciting path of a career in Design. In conjunction with my jewellery practice, I’m passionate about enabling others to develop their potential in the Creative Industries, so spend part of my time teaching and mentoring. I am part of a design collective called LOOKINSIDE, @wearelookinside We design and create contemporary souvenirs for Aberdeen. Our latest commission is to create a collection for the Aberdeen Art Gallery shop.
Could you describe your practice?
I design and make contemporary jewellery, using traditional techniques and hand tools. My continual challenge is to refine my designs, working towards simplicity where proportions and surfaces complement each other. I create large scale, one off pieces in silver, that make a statement when worn. I use leather as an element, adding colour and softness.
What are your art influences? Which contemporary artists/makers do you admire and why?
Artists and architects who strive to create simple forms and direct surface marks give me great inspiration. Their ability to reduce ideas to their essence is a constant source of influence and a challenge to me as a maker. Less is definitely more.
Artists: Agnes Martin, Elsworth Kelly, Sol Lewitt, Ben Nicholson, Hans Arp, Richard Sera.
Jewellers: Otto Kunsli, Jacqueline Mina, Anna Gordon, Elis Kauppi
Architects: Tadao Ando, Ernest Goldberg, David Chipperfield
What makes a good day in the studio for you?
My workshop has a wood burning stove and a beautiful view, a great environment to settle to work. After the struggles of working up a concept on paper and in model form, the physical making of my designs is so satisfying. I work in stages, sawing and filing components in the morning, lining them up for soldering, then as the day progresses, seeing the forms take shape, ready for the best part... finishing and burnishing to bring life to each unique piece.
In the studio – music, audiobook, podcast, Radio or silence?
Radio 4 is my link to the outside world! I can listen while I work on my jewellery, learning and keeping up to date on current affairs... I’m a politics junkie!
Audio books are totally compulsive too, my latest discoveries are, “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley and “The life and times of David Wojnarowicz, Fire in the Belly” by Cynthia Carr.
What is coming up next for you and where can we see more of you work?
I am currently designing and making a range of new pieces for Aberdeen Art Gallery which reopens in November. These reflect the contemporary form of the new copper clad, top floor of the building. It’s a real honour to be selling my work from this fabulous gallery again. http://www.aagm.co.uk In December I’ll take part in a curated show in the Gallery called “Haan”, showing a new collection of jewellery inspired by my weaving practice.