Transmutation d'une brique

Transmutation d'une brique — Elise Hoebeke

Jewelry Context  2021—2022

Can be placed in various alignments and therefore make very versatile components of jewelry. Sparkle less than brilliant-cut diamonds and thus might not be the optimal choice.

Bricks are made to build a house, a building, a future and dreams. However, when they have served their time, no other use is given to these stones and they are often kept as a pile. Even though the brick is important within our Belgian culture, it has little value as an element in itself. Rather, they are given meaning when stacked together: one brick becomes meaningful thanks to another.

The dimensions of the mass-produced brick that seamlessly relate to human proportions (and especially a hand) captured my imagination. The three holes in the brick made me curious and I wanted to study the brick from the inside out. The hole in the stone became a bracelet. That simple act of cutting and filing the stone, convinced me to further study the brick as a connecting element between architecture and jewelry.

I was even more convinced by the subtitle from "L'ordre de la brique" by Alain Guiheux: « L'architecture, c'est la transmutation d'une brique sans valeur en une brique en or. »
Such a title that directly referred to the combination of these two worlds no longer seemed to be a coincidence.

During my search for ways other than architecture to give value to a brick, I discovered one with a cutout that visually reminded me of a baguette cut. It also struck me as an interesting similarity that both the brick and the baguette cut gemstone do not have a function or value in themselves; their value depends on the broader picture, with more stones. Moreover, the similarity in "facets" prompted me to transform one "stone" into another - and to highlight its various stages. Thus was born a series of stone-cuts that create an unexpected bridge between architecture and jewelry.

I cut the bricks by hand - which is a slow, precise and intensive working method. In doing so, I used both handmade bricks and (in contrast) machine-made ones. In addition to a transformation in form, a material change also took place. Complementary to the brick series, I cut a number of gemstones in brick format; from a crystal similar to red jasper.

A template of orange acrylic is my final way of showing how architecture and jewelry are related to one another. The stencil, the fictitious "measuring instrument," refers to the tools needed in making analog plans or drawing ornaments. The twenty cutouts - transmutations - in the template refer to the similar proportions between brick and gemstone.

My research resulted in a series of manipulated, 'transmuted' stones with a direct link to the body (hand), craft (grinding), gemstones (faceting) and jewelry (value) in general. In addition, standardized measurement systems are explored and questioned. The use of fiction and imagination is a metaphor for seeking out new possibilities and escaping imposed standardization.