I map the coastline of islands by collecting textures and fragments found along the shoreline. I take these fragments and their secret narratives into my studio and translate them into wearable objects. By doing so, I aim to create a collective and visual dialogue about an island, as each island is unique.
Whether my works are large-scale public sculptures or intimate wearables, they all derive their form from nature. The symbiotic relationship I observe between the fragment and its environment is mirrored in my work via the relationship between jewellery and its wearer. My designs become a part of the wearer, each piece of jewellery intimately following the curves of the wearer’s body, and at once, sprouting from the body and assuming its own form. In itself, this is a deliberate act; embodying the logic of the ecosystem, whilst reflecting on our relation as humans, to the wilderness.
I walk a lot. For days, weeks around the coastlines of an island. I walk and I gather found fragments displaced by tide, wind or ...? I take some of these fragments back to the studio, where I make moulds and experiment with wax replicas of that texture\object. I usually return those fragments back to their original site.
When i have the shapes in wax form – I push, melt, reshape and twist. I try to take away the identifiable form and use the texture in a different way to become something else. Sometimes it makes the piece more abstract. And sometimes the textures are so iconic that they carry the identity to a new shape.
Once I am happy with the wax, I will then send it off to get cast into bronze or silver. From there I work it further into a ring, bracelet, wearable or even an unwearable object. Working in wax or metal allows you to alter the material in different ways. Metal is easier to reshape the form but wax can be easier to manipulate the texture.
Most of these works are one-offs, but there are a few commercial pieces such as the driftwood cuff and the nautilus ring. These are then moulded when i have finished it and then i can produce a few more of these to have a few commercial pieces to sell through my outlets.
See Instagram @MarisaMolin / #fragmentsofking / #fragmentsofflinders /
Nautilus Ring (2015) From the series Fragments of King, sterling silver.
Marisa Molin is an Australian contemporary jeweller and artist. Her practice focuses on the appropriation and translation of textures and fragments, collected from walks along shorelines and Tasmania’s vast wilderness. Molin has recently relocated from Tasmania to Norway where she has undertaken two artist residency programs to further develop her fragment series, which now includes Fragments of Hardangerfjord (as well as Fragments of Flinders and Fragments of King). Alongside being an artist, Molin is also an arts professional. She has worked within and collaboratively with many respected Arts Advocacy Agencies and Organisations. She has held the position of Director in various ARI models, including Sawtooth ARI Gallery, and has extensive experience project managing diverse creative initiatives.
Fragments of Flinders Catalogue Essay
Words by Gillian Marsden
Marisa’s Flinders Island residency has been the catalyst for her making a key shift from the species level to that of the site specific with the fragments, or species, becoming contextualized by their geographic locale.
Being an island child, I remember the satisfying moment when it became known to me that islands are in fact inundated mountains. If the sea drained away, these islands would remain and we would climb them seeking horizon lines. How pleasing the logic that these apparently marooned objects or spaces are in fact mirages of fragmentation, interconnected by submerged geographies. Thus, our forays along beaches are times spent on the finest skree slopes edged by clouds, sea, water, or surf.
It is often upon these finest skree slopes that Marisa’s practice as a landscape artist is worked. A locale that I think is no accident given her maternal lineage to the island of Corfu where the colour of the sea is an anchor, and a familial house is dissolving back into the island: a back room still spinning on a child’s grace.
Core to Marisa’s work is the meditative practice of combing beaches. A practice of surrendering to the gleaning: you find what you find (fragments), you accept your gifts and you make do. They are guides. Determinants. Encouraging of evolution. The precision of the comb is incongruous. In neat twists in semantics, Marisa takes these fragments, edges of the edge, and transfers them into pliable imprints, and reforms them into new wholes, or, new fragments.
At which there is the consideration that fragment implies that at one point there was a whole (a whole continent, an entire land mass, earth plate) and I wonder at the secret ratio between ‘entirety’ and ‘fragment’: the tipping point between a chipped whole, a shattered teacup, a main-land, the unraveling of lace-coral.
Fragments of King Catalogue Essay
Words by Gillian Marsden
Fragments of King sees artist Marisa Molin again traipsing the periphery. This time, the shores of the other leader of islands laid out in the Bass Strait like a game of solitaire: King.
Years prior to Marisa’s visit, the debris of a biological phenomena (interestingly, more commonly associated with Flinders Island of the last Fragment series), had swung wide and swept up on the shores of King Island, mirroring the many ships that had gone crooked and drowned against the island throughout the nautical-dependent years of the 19th and early 20th century. This echo of doomed passage continues through nomenclature and mythology for in fact, in both intact and shattered form, the biological phenomena was that of another kind of ship; the discarded shells of the Paper Nautilus or Argonaut nodosa*.
There is something wonderfully paradoxical about the Paper Nautilus. We are predominantly acquainted with their exterior remnants and by the time such remnants drift ashore (somewhat mysteriously every few years and in their thousands), their soft interiors are long rotted out. In our minds, we hold the name, ‘paper nautilus’, and in our hands, exquisite pressed-tin shells of la mer: no wonder we imagine ethereal creatures that glide through the water like elegant ships and yet, the Internet outs the Paper Nautilus as actually, a jaunty, dinghy kind of vessel and the animal itself, as having a vertically flattened face and a feature that can only be described as a proboscis or snout. I think this is a paradox that is emblematic of the dualism of imprinted surfaces: where one side is raised, the other is depressed. Where one side is intended for appearances, the other is utilitarian and circumspect.
It is therefore fitting that the wreckage of these Argonauts became a significant motif for Marisa, as did the remnant plugs of the industrialised Bull Kelp. Beyond the undeniable beauty of Molin’s work, is the process of creating them, the movement away from the origins, in which the capturing of impressions not only mimics, but also overlaps with, found surfaces as well. It is a process that tenderly disrupts the surfaces of things, where they start sliding into and across each other not unlike the distribution of spring ice-sheet floes. In Molin’s work, the surface of human skin moves beneath a capture of another skin – animal and plant, nautilus and kelp. Further, the skin’s material transformation, from the organic to the metallic, starts to work alongside the photographic. Indexes of surface indentation and undulation become uncannily liquid and the sea, la mer, becomes suspended in silver movement.
* The Argonauts being the men such as Orpheus, Nestor, Laertes and Perseus who manned the Argo, built by Argus, for Jason on his famous quest.