New Ashgate Gallery champions the best of contemporary art and craft providing an unparalleled resource in Farnham, Surrey and beyond
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Born in a remote coastal area in West Cork, Southern Ireland in 1979, a childhood fascination for collecting shells, stones, mermaids purses', feathers and pods found along the sea shore has been the inspiration for Shimara's work.
While studying at Glasgow School of Art, Shimara experimented with hand made paper and silver as mediums for creating large sculptural pieces of jewellery and smaller silversmithing pieces. Therfore her work has always been very tactile and organic and the use of paper enhances this tactility and also brings a light translucent quality to the pieces.
Shimara began a residency at Bishopsland Workshops in South Oxfordshire in 2002, where she spent two years. While creating work for the 'Silver Sparks' Exhibition at Somerset House, in 2003, she had the opportunity to experiment with larger scale silversmithing. Her silversmithing range is all based on pod vessels; creating small and large pod vessels, bowls, carafes and tableware. I use fine silver and 24ct gold to create these pieces, which are all hand raised, form flat sheets of metal. Shimara uses hammers and mallets to add surface texture and decoration to the pieces, and acid to take the silver surface back to its natural white state. The vessels are constructed to be free standing and off centre, giving them a fluid natural quality. Silk paper models are viewed and exhibited alongside their silver counterparts.
While at Bishopsland Shimara also created a range of silver and 18ct gold jewellery. This jewellery, inspired by natural forms, primarily seedpods has created a body of work based on pod like structures. I use silver, 18ct gold and silk paper to create my jewellery, which is constructed from individual acorn cup and daisy units assembled to create both large and small scale pieces of jewellery. The cups are assembled to hang in long articulated chains or set in to intricate wire structures that adorn the body.
Following a recent trip to Australia, Shimara has created new ranges of both silversmithing and jewellery inspired by this visit. These include "gum nut"; clusters of small pod and leaf vessels using 18ct gold, fine silver, oxidised silver and gold plate. This new collection includes "gum nut", neckpieces, rings and earrings constructed from both silver and real gum nuts; "picture", a selection of pendants and brooches using wrapped wire and small acorn cups assembled in a silver frame; "honesty", whitened and reticulated silver ovals, which resemble honesty leaves, constructed in to long articulated neckpieces and bracelets.