Alchemy – Mark Vaarwerk
Mark Vaarwerk is often referred to in jewellery circles as the ‘plastics man’. This seems appropriate as he as made a significant career as a contemporary jeweller playing alchemist with all forms of found plastics and more recently reclaimed polystyrene. Vaarwerk pushes the boundaries of his chosen materials and while not always immediately recognisable, it does not take long to associate a domestic familiarity within his works. His often brightly coloured rings, brooches, necklaces and earrings have a curious understatement about them, Vaarwerk offers simple but considered forms that allow you to quietly ponder the material transformation.
His newest body of work, on display at Bilk Gallery from 23rd of November 2012, further explores his trademark techniques of shrinking polystyrene, as well as melting and dissolving plastics to achieve remarkable material metamorphosis. Vaarwerk colours his works with rust from cars and trailers, cigarette filters, car brake light covers and a myriad of other items salvaged from his suburban environment. However objectionable these materials may seem, Vaarwerk really is a modern day alchemist, transforming the undesirable into truly thought provoking and ultimately treasured work.