CuratorSpace Artist Bursary #15: Katherine James

Katherine James is a contemporary artist and jewellery maker in Leeds. Graduating in 2020 from University of Leeds' School of Design, she crafts chainmail into lace-like patterns to create wearable works and sculpture which explore ideas around gender. She has exhibited with the Crafts Council and is an alumni of their 2021 Crafting Business Programme supported by Crafting Europe.

"My new sculptural work will explore the theme of 'gendered materiality' as a development from 'Lace-Armour', my previous sculptural screen (pictured above). In 'Lace-Armour', I combined metallic 'masculine' chainmail, associated with aggression and protection, with decorative 'feminine' lace patterning, associated with delicacy and sexuality. My materiality refuses to be defined by binary categories and reflects the complex and contradictory nature of gender identity. The screen references how gender categories are filters through which we interpret the world.

The new sculpture that I will make with the help of this bursary will reiterate many of the existent themes in my practice. However, rather than working in metal wire I will use black PVC coated fencing wire which is reminiscent of school playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities. The use of this new material has emerged from my reading of research by Anne Flintoff. I am interested in how she has intersected theories of masculinity by academics such as Raewyn Connell, with her own studies into the identity development of adolescents in physical education (PE) environments. This will be the conceptual foundation which I will explore in my new piece."

You can see more of Katherine's work on her website, Facebook, and Instagram.


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