Saskatoon art jeweller Mary Lynn Podiluk uses a unique mix of resin, precious metals, gemstones and linguistics to make work that speaks to wearers and viewers.
Before taking jewellery design and metalsmithing at NSCAD University, Podiluk studied linguistics at the University of Saskatchewan. "I'm inspired by different languages and linguistic anatomy. Sometimes it's more literal, other times more subtle," she says.
During the process of jewellery-making, she has taken hollow castings of her tongue as well as impressions of her mouth while making certain sounds. She also turns to nature, incorporating organic forms that look like they could emit sound. Additionally, Podiluk creates texture in her pieces by stamping letters into metal. In the future, she would like to find ways to integrate lights and electronics. She says, "I hope to create interactive jewellery that will engage the wearer from perspectives of their speech and sound."
Currently, Podiluk is known for pushing the boundaries of resin. She casts resin using hand-made silicone forms and has discovered ways to suspend resin within metal, creating a stained glass effect. She also embeds threads and fibres into the resin to create interest. "I love the potential of resin. I can create sculptural, wearable jewellery that doesn't have the burden of weight that metal and glass have," she says. "Once I take a resin piece from its mold, I can continue to sculpt it to create a unique, one-of-a-kind form." Hand-mixing primary colour dyes allows her to create gradients and play with the opacity and transparency of the resin pieces.
Podiluk recently received an Independent Artists grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board to prepare for an exhibition at the Saskatchewan Craft Council's Affinity Gallery in Saskatoon, which will take place November 24, 2016 to January 7, 2017. The show features two other jewellers, Jenny-Lyn Fife and Joan Thomson, and is curated by Podiluk's former NSCAD professor Tom Ferrero. The colourful exhibition is one of Podiluk's first major exhibitions of one-of-a-kind works in Saskatchewan and will feature both sculptural and wearable art, including neckpieces, pendants, earrings, bangles, rings and brooches.
She says the exhibition will help raise awareness about the growing art jewellery scene in Saskatchewan, as it showcases the diversity and skill involved in jewellery design and promotes jewellery as an art form rather than just something beautiful to wear. "Art jewellery emphasizes experimentation, expression and innovation. It can be exhibited in a gallery space and appreciated as a piece of art and can also be worn, taking it outside the bounds of the gallery space," Podiluk says. "Unlike jewellery that is made to create a fashion statement or become a status symbol, art jewellery is not so much adornment as it is its own self-contained experience, encompassing creativity and conceptual design."