CRUSH! By Kelvin Birk
at Gill Wing Gallery until 16th October
Kelvin Birk is a sculptural goldsmith creating statement rings in luxurious materials but not as we know them...
The experimental jeweller grew up in Bavaria in a small hotel his family ran before graduating in Goldsmithing from Staatliche Berufsfachschule für Glas und Schmuck. Kelvin has been living and teaching in London since the ‘90s following an MA in Silversmithing at what was then London Guildhall (now London Metropolitan).
Being traditional trained, Kelvin has all of the goldsmith’s techniques at his fingertips, but he chooses chaos over control allowing materials to behave naturally in “destructive” processes like melting metals and crushing gemstones.
Kelvin’s pioneering techniques were developed following the passing of his mother. In feeling the loss of a loved one he realised the transient nature of life and in learning to let go, freeing him of the jeweller’s fear of “harming” precious materials. In deliberately smashing and breaking up gemstones he feels the worst has already happened allowing him to be more creative. Rebuilding in free-form shapes the resulting jewellery has a unique, organic structure more alike the gemstones natural origin as rocks from the earth.
“Out of every loss something new is created”. They may change their shape but they become memories and that is not a loss”. Kelvin Birk
Read on for our Q&A with the “fearless” jeweller...
Who inspires you?
Nobody particularly. I get more inspiration through the concept I’m working with and then by the materials and process I’m using in my work.
What place do you find inspiration?
All around – again it’s more through a concept or theme and then in my studio when I’m making. You could say going to Art exhibitions gives me inspiration, though not inspiration for particular styles or pieces, rather an urge to be creative and make things in general.
What journey led you to your processes?
It would take a bit to explain this – overall you can say the concept of value is behind my work and how we perceive and see Value. This led me to crush precious gem-stones, and I let the intrinsic properties of the material guide me and determine the outcome of my jewellery pieces. There is always a big part of chance and chaos within my working processes and then showing in my pieces
There is a YouTube video of me talking about it all in case you want the full explanation HERE.
What is your latest CRUSH?
My husband Jens. We are soon having our 1st anniversary!!
If you could CRUSH anything or any person what would you CRUSH?
There are quite a few, (especially in politics) though I’m not a violent person! Maybe they need a heavy squeeze instead!
Tell us something we don’t know?
I swallowed a diamond! (though if you’ve watched the YouTube video you might already know that!)