Describing Rachel Timmins’ realm of work as simply jewelry does little-to-no justice to the outlandish repertoire of materials and sculptural forms she utilizes. She’s as comfortable and skilled with a sewing needle/thread in her hands, as the industrial powder coating gun that both create the palette of color (and backdrops) for her jewelry. Add into this mix her knowledge and ability to utilize a 3-D rendering software program known as Rhino CAD, and this is what Philadelphians were fortunate to see last Friday evening when Snyderman-Works Galleries opened Timmins’ solo show to a packed gallery of “First Friday” art attendees.
Gem Cut is a “rapid prototype” necklace that Timmins draws in the Rhino program then sends digitally off-site to be 3-D printed in nylon. After the piece is returned to her, the artist meticulously hand-paints the nylon in turquoise and gold coloring while distressing and sanding the “gem facets” of the painted clasp to closer reveal the gem-cutter reference of this actually being an emerald-cut form. Cleverly, Timmins employs what she refers to as rare earth magnets to naturally close the neckpiece, as opposed to creating a traditional hinge or boxed clasp that would interfere with the simple beauty and economy of materials that make these neckpieces shine. Since the chain elements are printed dimensionally in the round, Timmins takes the motif of the eight-sided emerald-cut rectangle and harmoniously repeats this through the differing chain links that comprise the body of the jewelry piece.
Comfort Four is one in a series of mixed media fiber and metal brooches that Timmins numerically names from Comfort One to Comfort Eight. It’s a double-color, overlapping wave pattern of cream and grey fabric likely cut with pinking shears that is delicately stitched by hand with metallic golden thread into a comforting pillow-like square form; however, when it’s turned over to the reverse, the wearer is confronted with a harlequin pattern over shiny black spandex. This is again sewn with gold thread but this time, Timmins adds a level of cold industrial “goth-like” darkness to the brooch by way of matte black powder-coated brass and sterling silver stud hardware. This dichotomy of the wearer seeking the soft, cushiony pillow form with muted pastel colors of the front is blasted right out immediately once the wearer turns the brooch around and allows herself/himself to see and experience the “wake-up call” of Timmins showing us how there just may be a hard-side to things that we normally may place to the rear of our own existences. Her material choice is genius here, as metalsmiths and jewelers have been intertwining textile, thread and metal for years, but rarely is there a “two-sides to the story” narrative like this brooch.
Rachel Timmins: Jewelry can be viewed through September 29th, 2013 at Snyderman-Works Galleries located at 303 Cherry Street in downtown Old City, Philadelphia, PA.
Images appear courtesy of Snyderman-Works Galleries, Philadelphia.