November 6th, 2018
Lynn Légaré is a Montreal-based artist and professor at the École de Joaillerie de Montréal. She has been invited to participate in a number of presigious exhibitions, including SOFA in New York and Chigaco. Until recently, her focus was to create elaborate, one of a kind pieces - until last year, when she challenged herself to create a limited-series collection based on the minimalist principle that 'less is more'. Her collection 'Axel-Bis' is based on this principle of simplicity, made famous by architect Mies van der Rohe.
Q: What is your origin story?
Back in the day, I was at CEGEP studying plastic arts. As part of a particular course, the department had set up a temporary art foundry. Each student had to make a sculpture that would then be poured in metal. That was my "aha moment", and the spark was lit. As an art student, I was especially interested in creating small-format, three-dimensional works and suddenly, with this new knowledge, in metals and their transformations. I began to feel an irresistible desire to learn how to make jewelry.
Q: How did your journey as an artist and a jeweller begin?
I then moved to Montreal to begin studying jewelry-making. At the end of the academic part of this training, I would have to do an internship. The instructors tried their best to place students in workshops that corresponded to their fields of interest. In my case, it had been clear since the beginning of my education that I wanted to be involved in design. At the end of this internship, I was hired as an apprentice jeweller.
I worked at a small but prestigious studio, where the jewellery was made exclusively of 18 karat gold and platinum. As my apprenticeship progressed I learned the rudiment of my craft, from design to fabrication and even more. Thus I became a jeweller.
Q: Please explain your process. What materials and techniques do you employ and favour?
When I am creating exhibition pieces, I work mainly with construction and assemblage. These are my favourite techniques. However, when I'm making custom-made wedding bands or rings for clients, I prefer the lost wax technique because it limits metal loss and facilitates the creation of certain shapes that are hard to make out of either sheet metal or wire.
I especially like to work with 18 karat yellow gold, sterling silver, and a variety of pearls, especially the ones from French Polynesia.
Q: What do you think makes your work unique?
Most particularly at this time, I think the best way to describe my work is the search for simplicity of form, the streamlining of style.
Q: Where do you gather inspiration?
I would say that I'm inspired by many and a variety of sources, by everything and its opposite. The turbulence and disorder of the city in opposition to the tranquility of the majestic landscapes of the Charlevoix, my adopted region.
As well, design in all its forms fascinates me, including fashion and its trends, however ephemeral they may be.
Q: Tell us about what inspired your current collection. How does it reflect the idea of 'METAMORPHOSIS'?
For this exhibition, I chose to show 18 works.
The three necklaces entitled "Enchaînons les sujets" (Let's Link Subjects), "Tissons des liens" (Let's Weave Links), and "Corrélation"(Correlation), are one-of-a-kind pieces designed and created with the repeated use of identical elements.
Joined using the principles of linkage, these necklaces honour the artistic movement that favours repeated rhythmic sequences.
The 15 pieces in the "Axel-bis" Collection are an offshoot of a line of jewellery that I created in 2017. The original collection, made of polished sterling silver and called "Axel", includes a total of 20 pieces. It was my very first jewellery collection made in a limited edition.
I specifically chose to refine my style, drawing inspiration from the origins of the minimalist movement. In this context, I have chosen 15 pieces from this body of work and reinterpreted them using oxidation, 18 karat gold, and diamonds.
For over 30 years, I have based my practise solely on the creation and fabrication of unique pieces for exhibition purposes and for my private customers. This new way of working and thinking marks quite a metamorphosis in the approach I take to my work!
Q: Who are some other artists, designers and jewellers that you look up to or admire and why?
The work of visual artist François Morelli speaks to me in particular because I find that he represents the refusal to compromise. His work is served by a multitude of disciplines that he applies with remarkable mastery and sensitivity. I have a soft spot for his metal-wire sculptures.
In jewellery, the works by a number of jewellers draw my attention. To name just one, Leslie Matthews is my favourite. I literally love everything she does. She has a singular style that is constantly changing yet never repeats itself. Her jewellery is, in a word, beautiful; she gets straight to the point, always with extreme precision. She impresses me!
Q: What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from working in the industry?
Humility, because it helps one keep an open spirit and a certain lucidity with respect to oneself.
Q: What tips do you have for aspiring artists?
As a teacher, I am in touch with several future jewellers. The best advice that I can give them is this: "Follow your instincts but don't lose track of the context, be multifaceted."
Q: Do you have a motto or credo? What do you think drives you to continue to create?
A deep need to be in contact with the material, to transform it again and again.
A maxim? "Less is more." Architect Mies Van der Rohe’s famous principle. That phrase now enters into all aspects of my life.