To kick off our new series Maker in Focus, we spoke to LCW 2018 participating maker Adi Toch about her love of metal; why craft is a tool for problem-solving, and how she could have chosen science instead.
'Echoes of Process', Adi’s solo exhibition and masterclass at Contemporary Applied Arts was featured as part of the LCW 2018 programme. The exhibition and masterclass explored Adi’s reflections on the remnants of making. The event also featured demonstrations by Ceramicist Sasha Wardell and a meet the maker session with glass artist Angela Thwaites.
LCW: What is your background?
AT: I was born in Jerusalem, graduated BA Metalwork from Bezalel Academy of Arts in Jerusalem and moved to London in 2007 to study for an MA at The Cass. I never planned to stay but one thing led to another and London became my home.
LCW: What drew you to silversmithing?
AT: I worked as an apprentice to a jeweller when I was 14 and fell in love with metal, captivated by the alchemy of turning solid into liquid and by the process of forming metal. It is such a communicative material - metal is perceived as ridged but in fact, it is very malleable.
Each metal has a different character and my favourite is probably silver. I enjoy the dialogue with silver, it is like a close friend – I like the way it behaves and the way it moves. I am interested in its ability to change appearance through different finishes: silver could be pristine white almost like porcelain, or become highly reflective when polished, and blend in with its environment. It is also possible to colour and patinate silver, which gives it a more ambiguous impression. (patina is a surface layer created by chemical reaction).
LCW: How have you developed your career?
AT: I started exhibiting my work soon after completing my MA in 2009. I was fortunate to get early recognition by The Goldsmiths’ Company, The Crafts Council, CAA Gallery. The first museum acquisition was by The Fitzwilliam Museum, about two years after my graduation, and since then my work was purchased for a number of collections including The V&A, National Museums Scotland and National Museum of Wales. Teaching is also an integral part of my career and consequently, I speak regularly and run workshops nationally and internationally.
LCW: Where do you draw inspiration from in the creation of your work?
AT: Inspiration comes from looking around me, observing how people use or interact with objects. I have a deep interest in vessels and containers and the way they form our perception through the division between inside and outside. I’m also intrigued by abnormality of forms, things that are not quite right.
Historical objects inspire me too, handling sessions in museums are a great source of inspiration. And finally, making inspires more making - often when I’m halfway through a project I already have an idea for the next one.
LCW: What role does craft and making have in society?
AT: Craft and crafted objects teach us about history and about material culture. Making is all about problem-solving and it is a great tool for understanding the world from a young age. Creativity is crucial in any path that one chooses to take in life.
LCW: How long does it take for someone to really build confidence in their craft?
AT: It really depends… but I can say that learning and trying new things should never stop.
LCW: If you weren’t a silversmith what would you be?
AT: Maybe a scientist? My main subjects in high school were biology, chemistry, physics. It was a toss-up between biology and metalwork and I eventually decided to study metalwork at Bezalel Academy of Arts (in Jerusalem).
LCW: Has your interest in science influence your work?
AT: Yes there is a connection to science in my work - the alchemy of metal and the exploration of materials, finishes, forms.
LCW: What’s one thing you would most like to own?
AT: I never really thought about this – I’m mostly into making things rather than owning things
LCW: What is craft to you? What does it represent?
AT: It is a way of communication. And there is something quite addictive about making.
See more of Adi's work and keep up to date with her upcoming exhibitions at her website: http://aditoch.com/