CATHERINE GRANCHE’S ADVENTURES WITH THE RADICALS.

We recently held a conference highlighting three emerging jewellery artists. Emilie Dell’Aniello, Magali Thibault Gobeil, and Catherine Granche came to talk to us about their career paths, their inspirations, and their aspirations. For Catherine Granche, workshops are a prominent part of her creative process and important for her personal growth.

Catherine travelled to the Netherlands in 2017 to attend a summer workshop given by Ruudt Peters, a Dutch contemporary jeweller and sculptor who studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and whose work is displayed in several galleries and museums. The workshop has had a significant and positive impact on Catherine and has helped her develop new artistic approaches. Catherine was kind enough to answer some of our questions about her experience.

What motivated you to attend Ruudt Peters’ workshop?

I had been interested in Ruddt Peters workshops given in his studio in the Netherlands for a few years already. I was interested in this method where you work intensively to strengthen your artistic approach; the introspective work and seeking to clarify your visual language. After having done workshops with Peter Hoogeboom and Shu-Lin Wu as well as that of Katja Prins at l’École de Joaillerie de Montréal, I wanted to continue doing workshops because it allowed me to concentrate actively and continuously. Being cut off from everyday life and being in a group has a stimulating and motivating effect. It releases a communicative energy and it allows things to move faster. I wanted to be pushed and I felt ready to do an introspective experience. Ruudt Peters is an artist whose work I admire but I also appreciate the way he approached his career, doing series every two years, experimenting with all kinds of techniques ranging from meditation to exploratory blind drawing with the left hand, etc.
It is an approach that tends to bring out what is within us and supports our discourse and intentions on a very personal basis. The theme “Now Radical” immediately appealed to me because I felt the urgent need to push my approach further but especially to express my creative strength, to allow me to externalize all possible avenues towards a future work, whether it be good or not. The intention is to explore, to take out ideas and then to purify them and keep what is clear and makes sense. This intention can be transmitted in a piece of jewellery.

            

How did workshop go for you?

The workshop lasted 7 days and was held in Ruudt Peters’ country side studio in Ravenstein in the Netherlands. We were twelve international artists coming from the world of jewellery or visual arts. It was very friendly. We lived together; we took turns preparing meals; we biked to the studio; it’s a very nice setting. Ruddt Peters gave us themes and projects to make within a given time frame, sometimes in teams. We must work according to instructions of materials and media. The complexity of the instructions increases throughout the week and ends with a final project to present to the group. Ruudt Peters makes short criticisms during the week and concludes with a detailed final critique for each of the participants at the end of the stay. I really enjoyed my experience, which I found rewarding, challenging, stimulating, inspiring.

This year’s theme was Now Radical. How did you approach this theme?

The theme Now Radical was about digging up what is radical in us as artists. How to work in a radical way, how to be radical in our choices. For each this may be different. The outcomes of the different exercises showed the diversity of interpretation for each participant. At the end of the workshop we had to create a radical work. My final project was a cord made of eggshells with which I tied my hands during a short performance. The bracelet expresses both strength and fragility. Beyond that, it represents the way in which we tend to censure ourselves in order to suit what is expected from a piece of jewellery. Its radicalism also lies in its non-functionality as jewellery.

Will this workshop influence your work?

Absolutely! It allowed me to free myself from certain constraints, that it’s legitimate to no longer take into account the expectations we have towards jewellery, which must be functional. My way of working in the studio and how I approach my research has also changed. The research I have started since my return no longer goes through an intellectualization of form. Instead of drawing and taking notes I go directly to my workbench and play in the dirt, the porcelain, directly into the material I want to work with. I give free reign to my experiments from which shapes emerge and change from day to day. I don’t know what will come of it yet but I know that I am in the midst of finding a new language; that something will prevail from these experiments and become the main subject matter; the start of a new series. So it’s a new way of working that allows me to purify, to go to the essential, and to check my level of commitment in my research.

How did you finance your workshop abroad?

After sending in my application to Ruddt Peters and being accepted to his workshop, I received a grant from the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec (CALQ). This allowed me to participate in Now Radical but also to visit galleries and museums in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. So I was able to visit among others places the Ra Gallery in Amsterdam, the very impressive Marzee Gallery where I had access to owner’s Marie-Jose Van den Hout’s private collection, and the CODA Museum which specialises in contemporary jewellery, among other things, and where Ruudt Peters will be presenting a retrospective as of November.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was it a complicated process?

It’s not that it was complicated, but I tend to easily become emotionally involved, so I found it nerve-wracking and stressful! I really wanted it to work out so I worked hard to present a convincing application and letter of intent. I had a precious help for the review of my application, which was essential to be certain that I went straight to the point and that the subject was clear and convincing. Within 24 hours of sending in my application Ruudt Peters sent me an acceptance letter. The next step was asking for a grant from the CALQ, which I was received. So then I was able to leave last August and take part in this wonderful workshop.

Ruudt Peters – summer 2017