Johanna Brierley

My work incorporates metal replicas of beach stones found on the shores of Lake Winnipeg in a town called Gimli. The stones I find have natural holes in them. No one seems to know for certain why these stones have these holes or why this area seems to have an unusual frequency of these ‘holy’ stones. The stones might be fossils or remains of natural erosion. Whatever the case, the stones when cast in sterling silver, gold, bronze and brass become natural and somewhat familiar ornaments harkening back to the time when people adorned themselves with rocks, twigs, dried berries. The molding and casting processes of jewellery making allow me to repeat shapes that ordinarily exist as single, unique, natural elements. Repeating what is normally solitary enables the creation of new shapes, structures and patterns while transforming natural stone into metal allows for the setting of diamonds and sapphires among the metal beach stones. The humble act of discovering and picking up a pebble on the beach becomes the beginning of a process of recontextualizing natural forms to work with and on the body.