ASHLEY BUCHANAN
The Treachery of ButtonsThe Treachery of Buttons (detail)Brooching the ObjectBrooching the Object (detail)Diamonds are For EveryoneBrooch with Gemstone ButtonBrooch with Gemstone ButtonBrooch with 3 Gemstone ButtonsNeckpiece with 3 Gemstone ButtonsEarrings with Gemstone ButtonsBrooch with 2 Gemstone ButtonsBrooch with 2 Gemstone ButtonsRed on Red Neckpiece with Gemstone ButtonBow with Button BroochBlack on Black Neckpiece with Gemstone Button
FAUX REAL
2009 - present
Faux Real My current body of work is a series of hand-cut, powder coated metals that examines our perceptions of value in jewelry through material and image reproduction. I am interested in a reality that exists through images and representations and how the appearance of an object can substitute for the original. The use of repeated iconic imagery is important to my work in order to establish a familiar identity between the viewer and the object. In Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord writes about the effects of a production-obsessed society and a resulting transformation of reality into the image of reality. Debord explains "…Human fulfillment was no longer equated with what one was, but with what one possessed…bringing about a general shift from having to appearing…" By focusing on iconic shapes and referencing common jewelry motifs I seek to create an environment where the silhouette of a pearl necklace or the image of a diamond on a ring is elevated to the status of an actual pearl or diamond.

As a maker, it is my intention to challenge the conventions of handmade jewelry through the use of inexpensive materials and new approaches to design and surface decoration. Because silhouettes allow me to reduce objects and images down to their most basic form, I am able to reference the history of jewelry but with a clean, contemporary aesthetic. This is reinforced through the use of powder coating, a process commonly used on an industrial scale to coat or color large metal objects with a durable, uniform finish. The significance of the hand however is not forgotten; it is important for me to maintain a handmade quality in all of my work. In order to speak to the tradition of Craft and also to satisfy my passion for making, each piece is meticulously hand-pierced from sheet metal using a traditional jeweler’s saw. In select pieces, I specifically reference a particular piece of jewelry by introducing digitally scanned photographs, which have been made into inexpensive buttons. These buttons are then prong set onto the final object to mimic the original presence of a gemstone. By combining the handmade with the industrial and the digital, I am able to produce pieces that speak to the past, present and future of Craft while still maintaining the seductive quality that jewelry possesses.
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