Jewellery Resident: Dorothy Hogg

Dorothy Hogg MBE, Artist in Residence, 2008

Dorothy Hogg, Artist in Residence, 2008

Dorothy Hogg (b. 1945) is internationally recognised as both an artist jeweller and a teacher of jewellery and silversmithing. She has enjoyed a lifetime of success as a world-renowned maker, and was head of Edinburgh College of Art’s Jewellery and Silversmithing Department for almost 20 years. As well as maintaining her own creative practice she also curates exhibitions, sits on educational and craft boards, and promotes Scottish Jewellery across the world. Dorothy was Artist in Residence at the V&A between July and December 2008.

See Dorothy Hogg's residency blog (archived)

I am the third generation of a family that has been occupied by working with small metal objects. I consider myself to be a jeweller and I work primarily in precious metals. My metal of choice is silver because of its malleability and the light reflective qualities it has. At the moment my interest is in using sheet metal to make hollow forms that have visual weight without the expected physical density to express ideas, which relate form to the human body. The sources for these formal interactions spring from a fusion of the subconscious with my visual experience.

'For 22 years I was Head of the Department of Jewellery and Silversmithing and Professor at Edinburgh College of Art. I combined teaching with exhibiting my own work internationally.'

My Interest in the V&A Collection

'I remember my first visit in the 1960s to the V&A jewellery collection and the impression of entering a very special place. I am looking forward now to having time to think about the objects and how and why they were made. My starting point will always be to view the collection from an artist/makers point of view. It will be interesting to look at contemporary approaches to historical techniques, for example Etruscan granulation and the Italian goldsmith Giovanni Corvaja’s new work in this area. The development of recent technological approaches opens fresh avenues up to makers and it is interesting to compare this to the development of historical technology. It will be useful to contextualise my own piece in the V&A collection and assess what is current in jewellery through looking at both the V&A and Crafts Council’s collections.

'My investigation will extend to looking at objects from different cultures and making connections to my own visual language. However the approach to my own work is more intuitive than logical, I need time to see what ideas emerge when surrounded by such rich source material. Robert Rauschenberg’s observation on being an artist would be at the back of my mind as a cautionary note: "I think you’re a born artist. I couldn’t have learned it and I hope I never do because knowing more only encourages limitations".'

Inspiration for my work other than the V&A collection

'My work changes echoing changes in me. As I have been exhibiting since the 1960s my work has developed over the decades. The underlying dialogue is with silver and ways of exploring the interaction of the body with jewellery. I engage interest by using intriguing geometry or subtle sound or by using light passing through transparent enamel to cast colour onto the skin or by making a piece to be touched or played with. I like the challenge of dealing with the wearability of jewellery. All my

pieces are extremely wearable even if they look as though they may not be at first glance. I enjoy the surprise when the wearer finds out their finger actually fits the strange geometry of a ring.

'My aesthetic is driven by my subconscious mind and reflects in an abstract way events and changes in my life. I am interested in the structure of the body, the way it moves and symbolic thoughts around this preoccupy my design process. The work I am currently engaged with is the ‘Artery Series’ where the pieces are constructed of sheet metal formed into tube. I am interested in how silver and other metals can be fabricated to create hollow forms that have visual weight without physical density. '


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This residency was sponsored by the Crafts Council.

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