La fleur de Kro by Juliette Même
Drawn to metal and the using of ordinary materials, Juliette Même has developed her series Houblons (Hops)within the jewelry workshop at the HEAR (Haute École des Arts du Rhin). Now settled in Nantes, she pursues her researches and develops at the same time a brand of “ready-to-wear / designer” jewelry.
La reine de la bière, photomontage, 2018
How could you define your work? What is your approach to jewelry?
I would say that it is like a game between the shape and material, an appropriation through the manipulation of elements from my daily life. I look for plastic qualities in them, a way of working that will enhance them. The jewel is a base, a point of reference to speak about value in every sense and to the greatest number. It is a shape that traditionally evokes preciosity by its materials, its technical nature, or the affect it can produce for and between some persons. I also entertain myself with the traditional techniques of jewelry or adornment more generally, for example, I often use setting or embroidery to enhance a material. These savoir-faire being considered as noble are often used to work with precious materials. Moreover, they require spending time and patience, the ordinary material shaped this way therefore takes on a more precious, sumptuous aspect. I also like its portable aspect. Through the body, the jewel/sculpture can leave the conventional exhibition spaces usually dedicated to fine arts, to integrate those of everyday life and be exposed to the eyes of all those who will look at it. This makes sense with my work since it is from my daily life that my inspiration and my raw materials come.
What is the starting point of your Houblons series?
From the beer, the “Kro” (short for Kronenbourg). I wanted to work on its popular, basic, cheap, and unifying aspect. This gave rise to a two-year work dedicated to research around this them and the materials that make up Kronenbourg beer packaging. My first wishes were to make jewelry, with a traditional look, like family jewelry, entirely from beer cans, going as far as making a crown. Then I became interested in the representation of the effects of alcohol on the body, which gave necklaces with pendants of cirrhosed livers in knitted cans, glasses in bottoms of bottles which, when worn, reproduce the same vision as in a drunken state or even a brooch representing a vomit made in embroidery… Frustrated at not being able to work directly with the beer in a liquid state, “that sparkling gold” as Philippe Delerm calls it in his book La première gorgée de bière (The first sip of beer), I also worked on photomontage, using fragments of beer photos. I chose de recreate the golden hairstyle of Queen Puabi, who reigned at the time and place where the first traces of beer-making were found. Liquid beer thus becomes the gold of the crown. The flagship pieces of all this research remain the hop brooches which tell the origin of the beer, and the hop flower, represented from the metal of the can, the last containing of the beer before tasting.
What is the place of ornament in your work?
I like the idea of the ornament because it is an “accessory intented to beautify the body or the garment”. This ultimately exactly what I try to do with the materials I use, to work them in such a way they can catch the eye when we no longer see them in our daily life, that they were insignificant, even undesirable. In their new form, they now have the role of embellishing us, at least they can be worn and subtly tell their story to whoever dwells on them.
Tessons perdus, necklace fragment, glass and metal from Kronenbourg beer packaging, 2018, photo: Juliette Même
Juliette Même’s website: juliettememe.com
© Juliette Même