Back from Belgium

Whew! Crazy week on The Continent. It’s so nice to be back in my English home. I have a 15 page research paper due this Tuesday (which I just finished up today) and then next Tuesday I have a 3 month long jewellery project due, so it’s necessary to hit the ground running. Before I jump back into the jewellery making, I thought I’d do a brief update on my week in Antwerp.

Why we went:
8 MA Jewellery students from Birmingham City University in England and 6 MA Jewellery students from the Academie in Antwerp came together for a week-long project called “Table Manners”. The goal was to make a collaborative gallery show centered around food and cultures. Between the 14 of us, we represented 6 nationalities: British, American, Belgian, Taiwanese, Chinese, and French.

What we did:
The first day we met, we had some Belgian cultural experiences: eating frite (Belgian fries, baked a special way and slathered in mayonnaise) and also visiting the still-intact house of an Antwerpian merchant from the 1500’s.

Belgian Frite (pronounced "freet") with copious amounts of mayo

After these “field trips”, we drank Belgian beer and talked about how we wanted to do the project. After much discussion, we divided into three groups: one group wanted to experiment with making crazy food concoctions, another group was interested in making edible tables, and another group (the one I was in) decided to make frite cones and forks out of things Belgium and Antwerp are famous for: diamonds, chocolate, lace, and mussels.

We spent the next few days working with our groups to accomplish our very different goals. I didn’t really see how all these separate pieces would come together to make a complete exhibition, but all I could do was work with my group and make sure that the things we made were good. Our group consisted of Karen (from a town near Brussels), Melinda (born in Antwerp), Rebecca (from Stratford-upon-Avon in England) and me (from several places in the United States and currently residing in England). We worked really well together and ended up making some pretty great things!

Friday we set up our show at Silke & The Gallery in downtown Antwerp. Even though our groups sounded like we were making really different things, the stuff we made ended up coming together really well! We all made things out of food, and I think that’s the key element that held everything together. Here are a few photos of work from the gallery show: you can see a lot more photos of what we worked on by clicking this link:

Table Manners Exhibition at Silke & The Gallery. Yes, it's written in chocolate.

“Food Worlds” by Natalie
“Waffle Table” by Group 3

Frite cones and forks made by our group- made out of materials Belgium is famous for- chocolate, lace, diamonds, and mussels

Diamond Frite Fork

Gold & Diamond Frite Fork, made by Rebecca

Solid Belgian Chocolate frite cone, made by me. I poured layers of dark and white chocolate, then carved into the cone to reveal the coloured layers

Dark: chocolate-dipped lace cone, by Karen. White: lace frite cone, made by me

I took 800 photos during the week, and about 300 of them are up on facebook, so feel free to peruse them at your leisure. I’ve made the albums public, so even if you’re not on facebook or we’re not facebook friends, you’ll be able to see them.

Antwerp 1: The Sights

Antwerp 2: The Art

Enjoy the photos, comment on this post if you have anything you’d like to say, and I’ll update again after I’ve got some new jewellery made. Back to work now… while I work I’ll be dreaming of delicious Belgian food, chocolate, and beer.

Enjoying Kwak, which comes in it's own special container that ensures the beer doesn't get warm from your hand holding the glass



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3 responses to “Back from Belgium

  1. Pingback: Back from Belgium

  2. Nice frittes, ajajajajaja
    I like your blog Miriam, hello from France, Paul

  3. Hi Paul, thanks for reading- I promise the next post will not be frite-obsessed :)

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