Iris Mondelaers : No Frills Objects!
Iris Mondelaers
No Frills Objects!
Ludo Helsen, July 18, 2011
Portrait

Iris Mondelaers is no newcomer to the world of silver; indeed, she has been working in the field for more than twelve years.  She is a versatile artist with a preference for the floral. Having trained as a jewellery designer at the ‘Karel de Grote Hogeschool’ in Antwerp and with a qualification in ‘Diamond Grading and Identification’ from the Diamond High Council, jewellerymaking is her principal activity. However, Mondelaers finds silversmithing equally interesting, and throughout her career she has made highly imaginative works of art and utility objects in silver.


Iris Mondelaers/Portrait_Denis Kenis
Iris Mondelaers/Portrait_Denis Kenis


Working as a jewellery designer I often come into contact with people who choose to commemorate a special event with a piece of jewellery. Consequently, I often meet them at the most wonderful times of their life: just before getting married or celebrating an anniversary, on the birth of a child, etc. This shows that jewellery is still often associated with rituals and traditions. It is these rituals which really interest me and which prompted me to design a silver object for the Sterckshof Commission 2008. Rituals often stem from old customs and many have a long history. So I wanted to bring these two aspects together: Flemish traditions and ‘antiquity’ reduced to the four ancient constituents of the material world. Like silversmithing, Flemish tapestry-making is a dying art, now only practised by a small group of specialized artisans. For the Sterckshof Commission 2008 I designed my own interpretation of this ancient craft.

Bonbonnières “Aster & Axel”_Silver, gold, agate, 2007_Koen Lemmens
Bonbonnières “Aster & Axel”_Silver, gold, agate, 2007_Koen Lemmens


Collar_Silver, gold, 1997_Hugo Maertens, Brugge
Collar_Silver, gold, 1997_Hugo Maertens, Brugge


The work is entitled ‘Touche pas aux Fleurs!’  Flowers play an important role in much of my work. Sometimes they are very fragile, sometimes quite coarse. ‘Touche pas aux Fleurs!’ is a large, woven, silver tapestry (120 by 124 cm) made up of fine silver threads (925/1000) which are linked by means of circles. Together the smaller circles form a larger circle: the earth, one of the four elements. The work as a whole is monumental because of its size, but very light because of its open structure. The openness symbolizes the air. The tapestry is decorated with silver flowers which are silver gilt on the inside: the element fire. They heighten the contrasts within the work. The flowers are characteristic of my gold and silver work. They are shaped by hand. Mat, teardrop-shaped rockcrystals hang from the flowers, symbolizing the element water.

Silver, partly gilded, rock crystal_Hugo Maertens, Brugge, 2008
Silver, partly gilded, rock crystal_Hugo Maertens, Brugge, 2008


This object might be a nuptial piece for a young couple about to marry or a wedding present, in which case it is hung from the altar, within view of the bride and the groom. It can be used again at a christening, and later on at a communion and even a funeral. In this way it takes its place in the family. The metal is very durable, which means the piece can be handed down form generation to generation.

Drawing, 2008
Drawing, 2008


www.irismondelaers.be