Nicola Ellis: Industrial Jewellery (Galaxy Finish), 2021
Materials: Powder coated steel.
Dimensions: 50mmx 76mm x 2mm (+ pin)
Edition of: 50
These pieces of Industrial Jewellery are made from unbent hinge housings which have been powder coated by Ellis at Ritherdon & Co Ltd (est. 1895), a manufacturer of specialist steel enclosures in Darwen, Lancashire.
The jewellery design in the first instance is determined by the existing CAD files, punched out of steel sheets as part of the manufacturing process. They are then carefully hand finished by the artist in the factory's powder coating facility, combining machine and human labour. Since 2018, Ellis has been artist in placement at the factory, where she has been working closely with experienced members of the Ritherdon team; observing, participating in, and at times, disrupting the ecosystem of the factory.
Industrial Jewellery (Galaxy Finish) was commissioned to coincide with Ellis’ recent solo exhibition Nicola Ellis and Ritherdon & Co Ltd: No gaps in the line at Castlefield Gallery (13 June — 1 August 2021).
Ellis lives and works in Manchester. She is interested in systems of value, function and circulation within places of industry and research. With her practice, Ellis responds to relationships between people, materials and processes. Ellis’ work often features loaned or exchanged waste materials, transforming them into a form of currency. This temporary appropriation creates an additional micro-cycle within the materials timeline, referencing recyclability and fluctuating physical states. Ellis is currently in the early stages of working with Para-lab Manchester to develop a long term collaboration with material scientists based at Manchester University.
Castlefield Gallery has supported and followed Ellis’ work over several years. She has taken part in numerous exhibitions at the gallery including: LAUNCH PAD: Meanwhile See This (2012), Nicola Ellis & Aura Satz (2013) and Oh, it is easy to be clever if one does not know all these questions (2018). In 2019, Castlefield Gallery celebrated its 35th anniversary with the exhibition No Particular Place to Go? 35 years of sculpture at Castlefield Gallery which included work by Ellis, and later that year we took her work to the Manchester Contemporary Art Fair where Dead powder series: Yellow (2019) was selected by The Manchester Contemporary Art Fund for acquisition into the public collection of Manchester Art Gallery, where it is now on public display. In 2020, Ellis was a recipient of an Artist Award Scheme established by the Henry Moore Foundation and designed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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