Jo Pond’s show 'Rationed' will be at Vittoria Street Gallery
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Jo Pond, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.
Who or what got you into making?
I have always been practical and creative. My mum worked in the arts and my dad dabbled in painting, sculpting, drawing, and jewellery which he made in the kitchen and sometimes on the stove! I started making jewellery at 15 when my mum enrolled me on an evening class with Valerie Mead with whom I made a bangle and earrings - I was hooked. After Valerie, Fran Allison became the Jeweller in Residence at the centre. She introduced me to spoon making and to the work of Alexander Calder. Growing up surrounded by the many art-forms showcased at South Hill Park Centre had a lasting and positive effect on me.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
I have a passion for old and discarded items that stems from my childhood when I used to go metal detecting with my dad. Every find was a treasure, no matter how rusty or insignificant. After spending years oxidising silver and trying to replicate a quality of age, through my Masters study I started incorporating these unusual, discarded or seemingly inappropriate items within my work. I discovered how they can evoke a sense of nostalgia and generate thoughts. My pieces often come with a ready-made history. They are re-made objects with much consideration of form and composition. At present they are mostly constructed through hand fabrication and laser-welding.
What are your inspirations?
I enjoy working to a project brief or exhibition theme as well as a subject that’s personally driven. The more emotional the engagement, the stronger I find my object responses. The materials, narrative, and history of the objects I use all motivate me. I often use a junk-shop find or an eBay purchase as a catalyst. By incorporating items which have little or no monetary value, I am able to urge the viewer to reconsider their preconceptions. These found and selected items can evoke feelings or prompt a story, which I then choose to research further to lead my design process.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I get precious about each composition I develop and would not be able to move forward if I could not preserve each design consideration in some way. I like to be able to revisit them if necessary and to move forward so I take lots of development shots. I enjoy this exploration and also the research behind the narrative for a body of work. I also enjoy a good deadline, finally completing a piece, having committed fully to that last decision which allows the piece to become complete.
What are you working on right now?
I have just completed 41 pieces for my Solo Show, ‘Rationed’, opening at Vittoria Street Gallery in Birmingham and touring to Galerie Mazlo in Paris. The research for this body of work continues and the potential for interaction with the audience interests me greatly. I shall be developing on this collection alongside my commissions and my new expanding collection of fine jewellery pieces.