In conjunction with her CCBC gallery show, we asked artist Louise Perrone to share with us a bit about herself, her inspiration, her audience and her other projects. In this interview, Louise tells us how she works sustainably, while bridging three fields of practice: jewellery design, textiles and metalsmithing. Louise’s interdisciplinary approach gives her work a distinct visual quality through which one can access the conceptual depth of the work.
Fruits of my Labour will be on view in our gallery from October 14 – November 25, 2021.
Using sustainable materials in my work happened almost by accident rather than choice. The amount of fabric required to make a piece of jewellery is so tiny it can be harvested from waste that others might throw out, and I was raised to be thrifty. I made my first textile jewellery pieces from beautiful silk ties I found languishing in local thrift stores. The colours and textures reminded me of the anodized aluminum I had been working with before having children, and I was interested in the idea of transforming gendered clothing into objects with new meanings. My next series of work explored the concept of jewellery as a signalling process. After researching semaphore flags, I visited the Flag Factory in Vancouver, learned about the process and materials used in flag making, and purchased a bag of scraps. In recent years I have started buying a lot of my fabric and thread from Our Social Fabric and Fabcycle, two excellent Vancouver-based initiatives that help divert textile waste. As time passes and I create more and more jewellery, I comfort myself that, at the very least, I am saving materials from the landfill rather than producing more waste.
“The colours and textures reminded me of the anodized aluminum I had been working with before having children, and I was interested in the idea of transforming gendered clothing into objects with new meanings.“
Drawing and making have been my passion from a very young age. My dad made me a little chalk board for drawing, and I remember my mum teaching me to draw a triangle by joining up three dots. When I was at school, Art was the only subject I excelled in, and I was encouraged by my art teachers to apply to an Art Foundation course after high school. I went on to study Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, where an interdisciplinary approach was encouraged, which suited my preference to not be constrained by convention! After teaching Art and Design in high school for a couple of years, I moved to Canada to study jewellery and metals, giving me a more nuanced and technical approach to making objects, that I later applied to textiles.
I started my jewellery career working with anodized aluminum and silver. When I had children, I switched to fabric for a safer and more flexible home studio environment. I was naturally drawn to materials that referenced the lustre and hue of metals. Still, without any formal training in textiles, I developed my process with a metalsmith’s mentality. It’s interesting to see metalsmiths approach my work from a distance, trying to figure out what the heck I’ve made this piece of jewellery out of! Conversely, textile artists are intrigued by the unique construction of my pieces. It’s hard to describe, but I hope this cross-over between the two disciplines gives my work an untenable quality that keeps it interesting.
Teaching has given a considerable boost to my personal development as an artist.Teaching online during the pandemic was difficult; I didn’t realize how much I missed being in the studio with a group of students until we returned to in person classes this fall. It sounds cliche, but I think I learn as much from my students as they do from me. I’m inspired by their enthusiasm and potential and love to see a project I’ve designed executed in so many different ways. I am genuinely overjoyed when I see them succeed.
Louise Perrone (Vancouver, BC) is a Canadian jewellery artist who works with materials from domestic and industrial waste, employing techniques that combine the traditions of goldsmithing and hand sewing to explore the values attributed to traditional women’s work. Born in London, England, Perrone holds a Bachelor of Art in Sculpture from Nottingham Trent University and a Post Graduate Certificate in Art and Design Education from the University of Brighton. In 2002, she graduated from Alberta College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Jewellery and Metals. Perrone is the recipient of several awards including the Governor General of Canada’s Academic Medal and The ACAD Alumni Legacy Award. Exhibiting across North America and Europe, her work has been featured in several publications including two of the Lark 500 series. An instructor in the Jewellery Department at LaSalle College, Louise is an active member of the Craft Community, currently serving on the board of the VMAA as Past President and volunteering with SNAG as Co-Chair of the annual Exhibition in Motion. Louise is represented in Canada by Galerie Noel Guyomarc’h and the Craft Council of British Columbia. In the US she is represented by the Heidi Lowe Gallery and Gallery 2052.