Jewellery and objects by Kelly McCallum

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Here is a selection of work by London-based artist Kelly McCallum, featuring pieces based on Victorian taxidermy.

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McCallum adds precious metals, found objects and natural materials to preserved animals and insects to create sculptures and jewellery.

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Here's a statement from McCallum:

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Kelly McCallum graduated from the Goldsmithing department at the Royal College of Art in summer 2006: a jeweller's interest in scale and attention to detail is apparent in both her wearable objects and her sculptural pieces. Her work is influenced by both story-telling and natural history, employing Victorian taxidermy as well as insects, precious metals and other treasures from her personal collection of curiosities.

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She is interested in the stories of how things age, how they decay or are preserved, are forgotten, covered in shrouds of grime, only to be found again and given new meanings by our own sentimentality.

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Taxidermy seeks to preserve life by celebrating death: it is a strange half-live, a suspension, an illusion. Insects on the other hand, through their lives, destroy this illusion: they feed on death, breaking down, demolishing, creating movement from a silent tableau, forcing change and action.

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McCallum's work juxtaposes and celebrates the interplay of these warring factions, preservation and disintegration. They become the characters in meoldramatic scenes of mortal stillness and ever-present decay.

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  • http://www.biyingwei.cn b+b

    oh,my god

  • tatiana

    In spite of all.. good or bad, right or wrong.. he made us talk about him

  • anotherdude

    not quite sure why any animal rights group would get involved in work that (it clearly states) involves victorian taxidermy..designers it seems should learn to read the accompanying descriptions before commenting…love it or hate it the work achieves what the (female) artist has set out to do which is make the viewer think!…as for the comment about badly made, i am forced to wonder how that conclusion has been formed based on pictures…had the commenter actually seen kelly’s work in person (either at goldsmiths hall, liberty of london or at the saatchi online stand at form) they would realise that it was anything but…whatever we’ve all come to realize the internet is a forum for the uninformed!

  • zednanreh

    The brooch is the most sucessful because it is pure representation. It is also the only item i could see myself purchasing…

  • JC

    I’m sorry, but wasn’t this supposed to be a design magazine? If I wanted to see some idiotic contemporary art jewellery I would go to a contemporary art blog.

  • http://urbanwoodswalker@etsy.com Mary Anne Enriquez

    Thought provoking and very interesting. I disagree with the majority of opinions here. Art will be art, and this indeed challenges us emotionally, visually, and intellectually. Knee jerk reactions as posted here do indeed show that once again, an artist has splendily done their work.

    The jewlery is fascinating juxtuposed with the taxidremy. From a historical scientific context this is new and modern–refreshing in a ghastly odd way.

    The world is full of ghastly horriffic and distasteful things….we all have differing opinions on what is art. I love the concepts this artist has the balls to show the world.

    I fight for animal rights, I don’t wear fur, and I believe all animals and insects have just as much right as humans to life (I don’t kill bugs).
    I also love history, anthropology, and took forensics (the study and science of death) in college. Melding it all together is different and refreshing.

    Thank you Dezeen!

  • Howard

    Death in its most exquisite expression.

  • Drabbler

    I agree with the majority. The work lacks creative talent, is poorly executed and seems to be done purely for shock value or publicity.
    There is so much beauty in animals and insects, dead or alive and not all art needs to be ‘joyful’ but there are more clever and creative ways to display it.

  • kissy suzuki

    It is really gross but very beautiful and original.

  • Esteban Lucci

    IM GOING TO UNSUBSCRIBE JUST NOW.
    YOU, DZEEN, ARE SOOOOO STUPID.
    YOU ARE 1.0.
    THIS IS A HAS BEEN MARKETING WAY.
    BEAUTY AN DEAD……SOOOOO NEW, FLASHING…MMMMM…COOL.

    IDIOTS.

  • Esteban Lucci

    ¨Your comment is awaiting moderation.¨¨

    Im sure you are going to remove my reply, because the word ¨IDIOT¨ is more offensive than your offensive images.

    Thanks.

    Esteban Lucci

  • Esteban Lucci

    UNSUBSCRIBE ME JUST NOW.

  • Andy

    It’s got all of you talking about it, mission accomplished I think.
    It’s also very beautiful and less repulsive than a lot of people.

    Thanks

    Andy

  • swissmodern

    Well… before criticising something of being poorly executed, dare I ask: have you seen the work in the flesh? Do I hear a resounding no? I have, and it is exquisitely done. You may dislike Kelly’s work but please do not talk about something you judge from a photo, go see it. I hear the V&A museum is featuring it in its summer 2009 exhibition…

  • http://www.clairefjohnston.blogspot.com Claire J

    I am forever amazed at how blinkered some “designers” or “creatives” are, aren’t they supposed to be the most open minded and questioning people? For me, Design is about questioning perception, asking questions of the audience. Kelly’s pieces do that. I have seen her work previously, and I admire her work immensely. The audience should be asking themselves why they don’t like the work, and why do they feel like they do when they see it. Are these the feelings that the designer wanted us to feel? Has she accomplished what she intended? From the reaction here, I reckon she has, like Andy says, I see more repulsive things in our society, which seem to be more accomodated by the general populus!
    See it in the flesh to appreciate it

  • http://www.clairefjohnston.blogspot.com Claire J

    I am forever amazed at how blinkered some “designers” or “creatives” are, aren’t they supposed to be the most open minded and questioning people? For me, Design is about questioning perception, asking questions of the audience. Kelly’s pieces do that. I have seen her work previously, and I admire her work immensely. The audience should be asking themselves why they don’t like the work, and why do they feel like they do when they see it. Are these the feelings that the designer wanted us to feel? Has she accomplished what she intended? From the reaction here, I reckon she has, like Andy says, I see more repulsive things in our society, which seem to be more accomodated by the general populus!
    See it in the flesh to appreciate it

  • http://www.dagarchitects.com Kubrick

    No doubt, Damien Hirst has a big order pending.

  • Jesika NYC

    not my taste but yes, very well done & quite amazing. gobsmacked is the word that comes to mind :)

  • Nat

    I can’t understand why this is causing so much outrage. Its fair enough if you don’t like it but to say that the artist is sick is ridiculous. I’ve seen far more shocking pieces of art, and if the artist was making it for shock value (which i don’t believe) alone then many of you have fulfilled this. I’m not saying I even like all of it, but I can appreciate the idea and find some of the pieces quite beautiful.

  • Harriet

    I think all those who find this repulsive are wrong.. I find it quite amazing, she is simply preserving a life by giving it another. She is transforming a dead animal,which most people find revolting, and giving it a beautiful and extravogant twist. I find her work very influensial and I am using her as a contextual link in my FMP on my art and design course.
    Yes its a bit weird, but its quirky and unusual and I love it!

  • Rebecca

    I think this artist is just screaming for attention.
    I like "dead" art as much as the next guy, anything gothic and horror-filled is all right with me, but this is very poorly done.

  • world peace

    grossss how nasty is that if they killed those animals that is seriosly wrong and people who encourage this are sick. thats not art thats animal curelty.and what are those gold bugs about?