Bic Tieu - Flowers Between

Bic Tieu - Flowers Between

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From the exhibition 2022 Robert Foster F!NK National Metal Prize 

Year: 2022

Materials: sterling silver and shakudo


21.5 x 15.5 x 5.1 cm 

About the Maker: 

Using the format of a vase as a tangible metaphor to articulate in-betweenness. The vase as an ornamental container to display flowers changes by what is placed in the vessel. Similarly, this notion can be related to the framing of one’s identity living in-between and of cultures. This work is an exploration of myself as a Southeast Asian – Australian woman living between two cultures. The vessel design is a reflection of my experiences, my identity and the intercultural connections of life living between the eastern and western cultural spheres. I acknowledge the reality that exists ‘in-between’ and this work expresses a visual and material framework for my ongoing interest and belief in the value of the shared experience. Through living between these cultures, I revel in the creative and metallurgical processes that inform my art and design practice.

The surface design language is developed through a series of processes where I begin with collecting and rendering of flowers using digital graphic application. Through the illustration, I then take this into the laser cutting of components in which I use lost wax casting for metal alloys of silver and mixing of gold and copper into the composition. Numerous cast components are then further manipulated, cut and soldered to form the final sheet pattern. I then take this sheet to construct the final geometric form through a process of silver soldering to formulate the final form.

The imagery on the vase draws on both eastern and western floral motifs endemic to my cultures to construct a visual language. The re-positioning and layered arrangement of the emblematic motif of deconstructed peonies are contextualized with Australian floral natives including fan flower, flannel flower, kangaroo paw, sturt desert pea, waratah and wattle. These motifs have a deep historical association with Asia and Australia connecting place, cultures and movement and metaphorically contribute to the layered meanings with identity. 

The design of the surface tension creates a dialogue for the Australian Southeast Asian diaspora, but more importantly, becomes instruments for articulating cultures that exist ‘in-between’ cultural spaces. 

Available for shipment or collection from 12 December 2022.

Photos: Tim Bean