My artwork is driven by a response to people, place and time. My jewellery practice is open-minded and often includes interdisciplinary methodologies of working. I explore wearable objects that engage with tactile responses to materiality. Hands play an integral role in the activity of making, wearing and gesturing conversations around jewellery. As a maker, I am interested in the social dynamics contemporary jewellery has to offer.
My childhood years were spent surrounded by tools, contributing to my identity as a maker and a passion for exploring the places where people make things. H is for Handle (2014) is a diverse collection of wearable objects that engage with tactile responses to materiality. It features a collection of old and well-used handles. As objects, these are imprinted with memories of blood, sweat and labour.
Figure 1. Mildred Leckie, Testosterone, found wooden handles, cord, crayon medium. From the installation H is for Handle (2014), SITE 2014, Dunedin School of Art.
Figures 2 & 3. Mildred Leckie, H is for Handle (2014), installation. From the installation H is for Handle (2014), SITE 2014, Dunedin School of Art. Detail is of iPad playing video in the leather ‘tool belt’ of the Mould Your Own Brooch Project (2014).
Figures 4 & 5. Mildred Leckie, Eeny, meeny, miny, mo (2014), found wooden handle, found steel ferrule, rawhide, steel binding wire, crayon medium; and Yellow (2014), found wooden tool handle, macrocapa, jarrah, hand-drawn leather, found steel ferrule, crayon medium. From the installation H is for Handle (2014), SITE 2014, Dunedin School of Art.
In H is for Handle, these objects were juxtaposed with reminders of materiality normally associated with childhood, such as crayons and skipping rope. I discovered that melting the crayons with hot glue and then letting them set allowed me to solidify a malleable substance that is intriguing yet delivers a process-driven aspiration. One of the works from this suite, Yellow, was selected for an International Graduate Exhibition in the Netherlands, at Gallerie Marzee.1
Figures 6 & 7. Documentation of childhood performance for Opening Night. The physical ‘tools’ of childhood tactile materiality and imagery also make an appearance in a suite of works developed for Opening Night – a curatorial development initiative run in conjunction with Studio One Toi Tü and Objectspace in Auckland.2 Early in 2015 I worked on a project entitled Childhood as part of a group of eight selected participants, working with curator and Paris-based writer and designer Ben Lignel, to develop installations for Opening Night.
Childhood combined visual and audio expression documented from the performance of four 8-year-old children made in the gallery on the day of the opening. The installation recorded a sense of scale and captured the young artists’ personalities and movement in the children’s drawing performance. As an installation after the event, Childhood replayed their haptic experiences and engaged with audiences of all ages. The aim of the show was to “immerse yourself in a child’s mind and imagine a world you might have once left behind.”
Mildred Leckie graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in jewellery and metalsmithing from the Dunedin School of Art in 2014, and also received the prestigious Con Hutton Scholarship. She is one of only a few New Zealand graduate artists to have had work selected for the Marzee Annual International Graduation exhibition. www.mildredleckie.com
1 The Marzee Annual International Graduation Show is a unique event offering the best new graduates from international schools and academies their first opportunity to exhibit work in a world-famous gallery. Exhibiting work by over 100 students from 39 schools in 20 different counties, the show is truly a global event and highlights some of the most outstanding and original work by the new generation of jewellery artists. See https://www.facebook.com/marzee.modernartjewelry.