Jack Cunningham is an academic and contemporary studio jeweller whose particular interest is narrative jewellery, being that which tells a story or makes a statement through visual imagery.
Jack Cunningham trained at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee and is currently head of silversmithing and jewellery at Glasgow School of Art where he has taught since 1990.
« I am motivated by the construct of our relationship with family, place, people, of recollection and memory, life and death. I am also interested in the dialogue that is consequently established between the maker – the originator of the artefacts statement, the wearer – the vehicle by which the work is seen, and the viewer – the audience who thereafter engages with the work.
‘I work exclusively with the brooch form to explore these personal narrative themes, which are sourced during numerous visits to Japan and time spent in Glasgow and Paris. »
His work is held in a number of public collections including the National Museums of Scotland and the Musee des Arts Decoratif in Montreal. He has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad and was a shortlisted finalist for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize 2000
Chaque fois que je me retrouve face à un bijou, souvent une broche, de Jack Cunningham, j’ai un sourire… C’est comme retrouver son âme d’enfant, une fraicheur, une joie de vivre, une « simplicité » qui font chaud au coeur …. Je suis peut-être naïve ou simple d’esprit, mais ses bijoux me font du bien au coeur, ce ne sont pas des « crises esthétiques » mais « juste » de petits bonheurs …..
« In most of my designs I aspire to evoke a feeling of nostalgia. I consciously work in a miniature scale, using a diverse range of materials in order to create attention so that the onlooker has to become more involved in the piece, hopefully sparking memory or thought as well as making them smile. »
oui, tout à fait ……………
Fragments - Brooch 2006 – white metal, garnet, green coral, wood, crystal
Jack Cunningham – Fragments Brooch 2006 white metal, coral, readymade
» The choice of materials in the pieces reflects an alchemical collage approach. Plastic and coral, biscuit tin and garnet; the found and the sought-after cohabit in many pieces where, most succesfully they show the validity of each person’s story as an ‘everything-except-the-obvious’ approach in order to put across a personal coherence, a revelation and a testimony, and ultimately a report on the highlights of the experience of cultural transplantation. » (about the Narrative jewelry - Analysis of ‘Transplantation A sense of place and culture- British and Australian Narrative Jewellery’ – Samuel O’Hana – Manchester, Samuel O’Hana, 2012- Klimt02-forum)
Jack Cunningham, ‘The Great Barrier’ Photo by Electric Egg
Jack Cunningham Brooch: The Great Barrier series (detail) – Found objects Photo by Electric Egg
Jack Cunningham – « Kit » series - Love Kit Blue Brooch 2002 white metal, enamel, moonstone, turquoise, cultured pearl, amethyst, sodalite
Jack Cunningham – « Kit » series – Nature Kit Brooch 2003 – white metal, amber, shell, cultured pearl, amethyst
Jack Cunningham – « I collect many things, but this particular collection is based on plastic and lead geese and chickens, which were manufactured by a Company called Britains. » The story behind the collection… : « I am a contemporary narrative jeweller (in addition to being a full time Academic), and therefore collect small items which may in some way, convey a message, tell a story or trigger a memory. »
The « Paris » series – Midnight Blues Brooch 2003 – white metal, lapis lazuli, agate, turquoise
Jack Cunningham – « Japan » series - « The Peak » brooch 2003 white metal, obsidian, jade, nephrite, rock crystal
Jack Cunningham – ‘Relationship’ Series – « How deep is your love » brooch 2010 – white metal, bone, wood, cultured pearl, aquamarine