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Show RCA 2014: School of Material Review

True to form, the RCA’s School of Material at Show RCA 2014 demonstrates the diversity of applied arts, taking visitors from breathtaking aesthetics to the potential of fresh contexts. 

While Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery goes beyond its traditional boundaries into conceptual territory, more conventional-based metal work finds new meaning in political or environmental issues. Maryam Mottaghi’s Regrow is a disconcerting exploration of the notion of rhinoplasty and cosmetic surgery as body adornment, while Dorry Hsu’s Aesthetic of Fears 3D-printed mask and dummy combine colour and material making for beautiful yet bizarre objects.

Both Max Danger’s bee series – pins, pendants and broaches – exude a wit and charm in raising awareness of rapidly declining bee populations. Hana Mahtab’s  The Burden of Peace revisits the chess board to express her concerns with Middle Eastern politics.

As you’d expect Textiles students imbue the show with colour and texture – their work spanning architecture, fine art, jewellery and fashion directions. Michelle Kliman is among those students using mixed media to create colourful, interactive pieces. Natural structures such as fossils and crystals have inspired graduates such as Rong-Jing Yu, whose work demonstrates a variety of jewellery techniques from beading, flocking and pony-skin treatments, while Flett Bertram’s mixed-media techniques give a new sense of dynamism to embroidery.

A number of students, including Hana Mitsui and Neha Lad demonstrate a waste-as-resource approach. Mitsui deploys the traditional Japanese process ‘sakkiori’, to transform discarded fabrics into luxurious new cloth for high-end fashion garments, while Lad has worked with traditional Indian weavers to find new life – and local economies – for copper and paper waste streams.

Ceramics & Glass graduates this year have been as experimental and enterprising. Melina Xenaki’s has serendipitously explored chemical compositions, oxide pigments and fluxes, using them in various combinations to striking effect. Tana West has used her practice to connect to her London environment, tracing historic waterways; collecting mud, clay and found materials to make glazes and objects with specific regional composition. 

See the full catalogue of graduating School of Material 2014 students here.