THE PLAYGROUND
Ten Top Graduates Test Their Talents

15th Nov - 27th Jan 2019

Green Bean brooch modelled

Green Bean brooch modelled

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XIAOYU GUAN

The theme of this project is about beans and pods. Beans have long been interesting to me as a form and as a metaphor for positive, value, nourishment and potential. I’ve also been intrigued by how many different scales, shapes, textures and colors they come in. Due to the fact that we often eat beans in our daily life, I collected some different types of beans, such as mung beans, red beans and pea, when I want to use beans as a project starting point.

At the beginning of this project, Alice Ballard, an American ceramicist, whose art work ‘Wall Pods’ inspired me a lot. Her work is characterized by the organic earthenware forms of pods and a reflection of the relationship with natural forms. The works gave me more interests into the pods and the natural world as well. However, the difference is that I’m interested in simplifying pods frames to lines,because I think the simple frame is clear and firm. It’s better for people to imagine the whole pod than showing a complete structure. At the same time, the art work ‘wondrous beauty of microscopic plant seeds’ which was photographed by Rob Kesseler has also influenced me strongly. All of the micrograph artwork is sheer beauty and show nature’s mystery and complexity. Therefore, I put beans under a microscope to amplify the detail of their patterns and looked into the beans. Despite the fact that I enjoyed working in enamel and embroidery, I started to combine the two techniques together to create my own beans. Enamel as a base layer and adds more textures on the top and edges, such as: embroidery, tufting, beading, cloisonné, spotty textures and enamel threads, which aim to make beans specific and peculiar. In addition, from the works of the American sculptor Ron Nagle and the jewellery designer Peter Chang, I started to understand and explore how colors work together, the responses color provokes in a viewer, and what color symbolizes in nature. I made my own color palette and started to overlay many layers of colors on the bean’s surface, meanwhile, I still keep the single color for some of them.

In addition to being a food, beans are usually used as lucky charms because of its positive meaning. People believe that beans can bring luck to them. Therefore, there’re two ‘lucky beans’ in my final collection, which people can just put it in the pocket or anywhere they want. For the whole collection, I used a lot of bright color, which aims to bring people limitless happiness when they try or see my works. And it’s also the main meaning of my works. I hope people can feel happy and get lucky when they wear them.

Biographical Details

THE PLAYGROUND - Ten Top Graduates Test Their Talents: Ailsa Morrant, Glasgow School of Art; Naia Conde, University of the Creative Arts, Rochester; Rebekah Wilson, Ulster University; Sandra Zinkute, Glasgow School of Art;
Sam Phelps
, Staffordshire University; Xiaoyu Guan, Central Saint Martins; Rebecca Gee, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design; Shona Dobie, Glasgow School of Art; Claire Mclean, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design; Rebecca Ridley, Nottingham Trent University.