Nora Fok

Nora FokExhibition – Talk – Workshop

Project Linlon is on show in R-Space Gallery, Lisburn from 21st March to 18th April 2015.

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending an artist talk and workshop by Nora Fok as part of her exhibition at R-Space Gallery. It was lovely to get a chance to chat to Nora about her work, I haven’t met many artists who are as generous in sharing their knowledge. A lot of her techniques have taken years of research to bring together and this passion really comes across when you see her research collections. Carefully collected in handmade boxes these collections consist of beautiful natural/found and recycled materials. Seed heads carefully dissected and preserved show the visual link to the forms found in her work.

Through the talk we were given some background about Nora. Growing up in Hong Kong she left school early to work in a factory and attended evening classes to finish her secondary education. She initially studied and worked as graphic designer in Hong Kong before moving to England. In 1978 she went on to take a three year course in wood, metal, ceramics and plastics at Brighton Polytechnic. During her studies she specialised in lost wax casting and described how she found manipulating wax much easier than metal. Here she was introduced to unusual materials and free thinking opening up a way to contemporary jewellery. I love the dedication and patience Nora clearly has for her work. This is especially evident in her ‘Cloud Nylon’ neckpiece which took two years to complete. Nora mentioned that she would knit until her finger bled resulting in being forced to take a break to give them time to heal. She also described how nerve wrecking the dying process was which was done after the piece was completed, if this went wrong it would take three days to knit just one inch.

The exhibition showcases the results of her ‘Linlon’ project. The Linlon project was a collaboration between Nora, the Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum and McConville’s Mill & Museum Dromore, County Down. Nora developed “linlon”, a linen and nylon mixed mono filament thread. As part of her research she grew her own flax from local seed and studied the various processing techniques before combining it with nylon. Using ‘linlon’ in combination with flax seeds, Galway linen, stems, beads, pearls and other synthetic polymers she created a number of bangles, earrings, and neckpieces. Images 1-4 below show some of these pieces currently in the exhibition.

Posted by Lotus de Wit

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