Artist Profile: Marissa Ziesing’s silver touch

Inspired by our emotional responses to place and memory, Marissa Ziesing is an artist and jeweller who hopes to breath life into the fires of silversmithing.

Marissa Ziesing is a jeweller/object maker who was recently announced as a recipient of a 2018 Helpmann Fellowship with support from the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation to undertake a six-month residency at Bishopsland Educational Trust in the UK. The internationally recognised residency will help develop Ziesing’s practice further, providing a practical bridge between university study and professional life as a silversmith or jeweller.

Ziesing creates sculptural objects and vessels that evoke a sense of place and echo elements derived from her childhood. Her work focuses on ideas around the conscious and subconscious nature of our relationship to place and identity and in particular our emotional response.

It’s the hands on physical nature of silversmithing that attracts Ziesing. “It’s a declining art form across the world, with today’s technologies and consumerism it’s not common,” she explains. “For me the physical hands on process of creating beautiful forms out of metal, creating an object with heat, hammers and a few tools is exciting.”

Ziesing graduated in 2014 from the Enmore Design Centre, in Jewellery and Object Design and in 2016 from the University of South Australia, in Jewellery & Metal. In 2017, she received the Rob Lyons Award at the Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition, a $3,000 cash award recognising artistic excellence and talent. Ziesing also received a Helpmann Academy regular grant in 2017 to attend a six-week international residency with the Center for Metal Arts (CMA) in Warwick Valley, New York.

Ziesing is due to embark on the residency in the UK in September this year and through the experience hopes to further her technical abilities from concept to form. With limited metalwork studios and silversmiths in South Australia to learn from, the opportunity is imperative for Ziesing to develop her skills further.

“The opportunity gives me time to concentrate on making,” she says. “ I will be able to access the right tools and knowledge through intensive one-to-one training and specialist classes with renowned British silversmiths and jewellers, such as engraving, enameling and gold fusion.”

By building networks overseas and broadening the scope of her practice Ziesing hopes to extend her work to include collaborative projects. She also hopes to return to Australia, and in particular Adelaide and grow the art of silversmithing, igniting interest and breathing new life into this declining artform.

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