Visiting Lisbon for the first time in 2021 I was struck, as many visitors before me, by the tradition and splendour of the beautiful tiled buildings. Colourful and patterned, they are an immediate cultural symbol, distinctive and uplifting. I also found out that these historic tiles are being stolen and sold illegally as antique souvenirs of the city. Hacking the tiles off buildings potentially damages them and also leaves unsightly gaps in the walls.
The series, Re Place, share a similar scale, pattern and vitreous surface to the traditional tiles. I’m interested in the shift from the hard, external casing of a building to a flexible, delicate hanging, reflecting the once fixed but now mobile position of those that have been relocated. Where the architectural tiles come together to create a mosaic, each of the beaded tiles embody a form of mosaic on a different scale. In re-making these tiles, I hope to show my appreciation of the Portuguese tile tradition, and also my sadness at the contempt and lack of respect shown by the thieves.
Caroline Broadhead, 2023
I have been exploring stone carving for almost a decade and each time I pick up a new stone, I’m back to the beginning again. ‘Skin-deep’ means superficial, no depth and engagement in only surface qualities, we also say ‘beauty is skin-deep’ and the phrase reminds me that I am only ever touching the surface of a stone carving journey.
This brooch and other pieces made for Galeria Reverso marks a shift into exploring stones that I am not always attracted to, namely colourful stones. My love of rock crystal is so great and suits my thinking that I often don’t see in or appreciate colour for my work. Colour although not one thing, is complex to me, often enjoyably confusing and whilst I appreciate the colours of stones, I don’t always see how it makes sense in my thinking and making.
Skin Deep is made from unwanted and discarded off-cuts of jade from street markets, pieces that are below or borderline acceptable for jewellery if measured by conventional standards. I don’t follow these standards so I look for the value of each stone in different ways. The brooch undulates and is carved to look soft, has two holes through it to allow a pin to be passed through the jade and the wearer’s clothing at the same time, to look like the stone was pinched in place by the pin. The jade has a strange pink-grey hue and the thinness allows light to pass through the stone making it translucent and to me, has skin-like qualities. It was only by carving the jade, going deeper that I could appreciate and find its beauty, flaws and all.
Lin Cheung, 2023