In the midst of the recent handmade revival, Jordan Askill proudly uses high tech to design his sculptures and jewelry. It’s not that the Sydney native doesn’t have a fondness for all things natural, just that he chooses futuristic methods to express his love, capturing the wild grace of galloping horses, for instance, through software and hard cast-iron. Askill caught the jewelry bug while working as a studio assistant at Dior Homme in Paris before starting his eponymous line and its newer offshoot, Jordy. But his imagination eventually led him to much bigger, and more complex sculptural replications of his visions. We chatted with Askill from his London studio, smack in the middle of his production cycle.
How do you go from a computer design to a finished piece?
I take a 3-D scan of a found object that I want to use, or I’ll create a base shape in the computer and sculpt them from there. Then I make a 3-D print out, so the design comes out as a little wax object. Afterward, I have crystal carved using the wax prototype, or I make a mold of the prototype to cast the final product. If it hasn’t come out exactly correct, I’ll embellish it by hand. So things have two processes, which is important to me, because I don’t want people to entirely forget about the old artisan techniques.
What does technology add to your work?
I just love the fact that with digital technology you can create one complete piece that has direct symmetry and organization. So, in a way, it’s all completely organic and uniform because there’s no glue or pieces joined together. Keep it as clean and as pure as possible. You don’t find glue in a rock or in a wave, it’s just one pure form.
Do you find that the needs for the smaller pieces are different than the larger pieces?
I suppose with the jewelry that I have to be a bit more level-minded about the wearability. And with the sculpture I can just go further and really create the world that I want.
So what’s the appeal in making jewelry over sculpture?
I love this idea of being able to find something precious and put it in your pocket, going around with this thing on you that’s got personal meaning to you.
Growing up, did you keep a lot of jewelry around you?
I’ve got boxes and boxes of trinkets. When I was seven, my parents gave me this big cabinet, all glass and mirrors, and it had a light. I used to spend hours decorating it. It’s still in my parents’ house with all my porcelain ornaments and crystals. My mother was over here while I was setting up an installation, and I was placing all my jewelry around the sculptures, and she was like, “Oh my god, this is exactly what you used to do when you were little.”