Seliena Coyle (Northern Ireland)
Medium/Materials: Oxidized sterling silver, 18ct yellow gold, bog oak, steel wire
Dimensions: 3.94” x 1.95” x 3.94”
Photographer: Sylvain Deleu
I am interested in making jewellery in a larger scale than is commonly seen, and with which the viewer/wearer is encouraged to interact.
I have become increasingly intrigued by the historic gold work housed in the National Museum of Ireland, re-evaluating these ancient works within the context of current craft practice. I am interested in a contemporary reaction to this work. How is this work positioned both technically and aesthetically in a world of new and ever-evolving technologies?
Contemporary Ireland is a much-changed landscape both politically and economically. Globalisation has brought with it a homogenisation of predictable design style, seemingly un-informed by individual culture or practice. I have made a deliberate attempt to construct a new contemporary Irish aesthetic.
This current body of work is reflective of a uniquely Irish landscape and utilises a material indigenous to the country, bog oak. Bog-wood is wood from trees that have been buried in peat bogs and preserved from decay by the acidic and anaerobic bog conditions, sometimes for hundreds or even thousands of years. Research of the national collections of Bronze Age artefacts in combination with the physical nature of the material has engendered a body of work which is contemplative without relying on sentimentality or cliché. Ancient jewellery types such as the Torc, Lunnula, Sun Discs and ear-spools have influenced both the form and function of the jewellery pieces that, although unashamedly Irish in character are nonetheless compatible with contemporary practice.
Born in Northern Ireland, Seliena Coyle studied Jewellery and Silversmithing at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee before joining the Jewellery Design and Production Skills course facilitated by the Crafts Council of Ireland. She went on to complete an MFA at Indiana University, Bloomington Indiana and further training with the Crafts Council of Ireland in their Craft and Design Business Development Program. Teaching experience includes within the Fundamental Studio at Indiana University and the Fine and Applied Arts Department at the University of Ulster in Belfast. In 2003 she took up her first full-time teaching position within the Metals and Jewellery Department of Savannah College of Art and Design. In 2006 she returned to Ireland to take up the position of Head of Metals at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. Curatorial projects include CultureCraft - Culture in the Making which was commissioned as a response to Derry being the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013 and most recently REclaim / REpurpose which was commissioned through the Legacy Program facilitated by Derry City Council. Throughout her career she has received many awards for both her work and teaching including; a Presidential Fellowship from SCAD, the Niche Arts Educator of the Year Award, First Place RDS Craft Awards (Jewellery and Alternative Materials). In 2015 she received a Spot and Invest Bursary, enabling a return to full-time practice and most recently has won the most prestigious award for craft in Ireland, the Golden Fleece Award.