Karolina Baines: Beauty in Interaction

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Not only goldsmith tradition characterizes Karolina Baines’s work.

She starts from there to explore the creation through many different techniques like sketches, painting, printmaking and mixed media. She aims at balancing shapes, colours and texture in a very refined and delicate way. Her pieces are always very malleable while keeping a strong and independent sense of movement.

I addressed her few questions to better understand her world, writes Ilaria Ruggiero.

IR: Where does your passion for jewellery come from?

KB: I suppose I think of myself as a designer/maker first, and then as specifically a jewellery designer/maker. I love bringing ideas into life through making tactile, kinaesthetic and visually appealing objects. For myself then, the passion for jewellery comes from the joy of seeing others interact with my work through touch, wearing it and the object moving with the body. This thought of my work as wearable, sculptural objects that move with us in our everyday lives, which bring comfort, reassurance, and joy as well as inspiring confidence, passion, and movement in the wearer, informs each of my designs.

IR: Have you made any professional studies?

KB: I originally studied Art and Design at Foundation level in Edinburgh College, before studying for my BA Honours in Jewellery and Silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art for 3 years. Both courses offered me a great opportunity to explore ideas that interested me in many different forms. It was a very formative time for my design work.

IR: Tell us something about your aesthetic and technique: how do you usually work and what the making process is made of?

KB: My process is deeply rooted at the sketchbook level, I love to explore overlooked details, lines, colours, and textures through sketches, painting, printmaking and mixed media. Once I have a sense of the surface and form that I want to instil in a piece, I experiment with the concept in three dimensions by creating models. I fashion the final elements from a variety of metals including gold, silver, and copper using folding techniques. The surface design is often created using a combination of mark-making and enamelling techniques to create linework that I find fascinating, colours that capture the imagination and textures with strong, engaging tactile values.

IR: What is your main idea behind jewellery?

KB: I think the common strand in my designs can be described in one phrase: ‘Beauty in interaction’. Interaction, in the sense that I love to see others, as both wearers and observers, interacting with the pieces I create. And yet, also in the ways that I see my pieces as mediating an interaction with the larger world that inspired them, whether that inspiration is the spirit of Venice or the living traditions of weaving and basketry, or of Japanese folding techniques. That sense of being moved by, or of moving with the overlooked but enduring beauty surrounding and enfolding us is the reason I imbue my work with not just appealing visual qualities, but also strong tactile values and a tangible sense of movement.

IR: Is your research expanding from jewellery to other media? If yes how do you feel about it?

KB: As I view my jewellery as small sculptural forms, I am always keen to explore my ideas on a larger level and have been really fortunate to already have had opportunities to do just that. In my final year at ECA, I received a grant from the Goldsmiths’ Company, London, with which I developed silver vessels in the style of my Lines in Motion designs. The same year, I took part in an enamelling symposium in Erfurt, Germany, where I created similar vessels, but this time in steel, as an opportunity to explore different colours, enamels, and techniques such as sgraffito. I would love to further explore the possibilities of my designs on an even larger scale, perhaps through the creation of wall installations, or as interior designs.

Printmaking has also been a constant interest of mine, both as a means of developing my ideas and of expressing my ideas on a different canvas through the visual of line and form on paper. I am not sure which other media I might expand into, but I am very open to trying new methods and materials. 


Image credits

K Baines, Brooch 'Weave' Photography Shannon Tofts

K Baines, Earrings 'Lines in Motion' Photography Shannon Tofts

K Baines, Earrings 'Weave' Photography Shannon Tofts

K Baines, Earrings and pendant 'Lines in Motion' Photography Sandra Franco

K Baines, Necklace 'Lines in Motion 1' Photography Shannon Tofts

K Baines, Necklace 'Lines in Motion 2' Photography Sandra Franco

K Baines, Necklace 'Lines in Motion 2' Photography Shannon Tofts

K Baines, Necklace 'Lines in Motion', Pendant 'Weave' Photography Sandra Franco

K Baines, Pendant 'Weave' Photography Shannon Tofts

K Baines, Earrings and Necklace 'Lines in Motion' Photography Sandra Franco


About the Contributing Writer

Ilaria Ruggiero is a cultural manager and curator working in the field of contemporary art. She is the founder of Adornment - Curating Contemporary Art Jewelry, a curatorial integrated project dedicated to contemporary art jewelry. It aims to develop the knowledge and consciousness of contemporary jewelry as artistic discipline and as ground search for technique, aesthetics, and philosophy.



Ilaria Ruggiero


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