Wood is a warm and sustainable material with a long history, which is first of all associated with very practical uses. In this region, wood has been an important material in construction, furniture and consumer goods. Traditionally, jewellery in Estonia has been made of silver and copper. Gold or precious stones, among others, have been considered precious materials worldwide. However, in today’s fast-paced mass production, solid wood is a rare and dignified material. Even luxurious, we could say.
With a single exception, Maria Valdma has used wood in almost all of her jewellery series. She has often made it a structural element, so to say – one that supports and binds other more dignified materials. In Memory Palace, wood has been given a more central role. You will find fragments of black oak, bent birch veneer and ash here. As before, Valdma has used burning as a method of surface finishing, which turns the wood deep black and highlights its complex texture. As a new technique she has also applied chemical bleaching. Compared to the wooden jewellery exhibited in her previous solo show, Off (2016), the pieces in this exhibition are more minimalist and do not depict human figures, for example. Deflections, cuts and the placement of individual adornments are determined by the pieces of wood themselves with their weight, size and pattern.