Scottish based Kathy is currently completing a PhD on the creation of stimulus-reactive jewellery using smart materials and microelectronics following extensive study in silversmithing and jewellery.
The inspiration in Katharina’s work has come from two very different sources : the vibrancy of natural structures and the darkly glittering geometries of the city which she expresses by using a variety of materials ranging from tactile silicon to intricate metallic structures enclosing geometric gemstones and ossified minerals.
Not only content with a variety of materials she also uses a range of technologies such as photo-etching, three-dimensional printing and laser welding which enables her to replicate the fragility of mould and closely integrate the pieces into the geometries of the human body. Her Xylaria Brooch (2013) for example is based on observing the way in which crystalline and fungal growth forms on exposed surfaces in natural environments using silver, gold and silicone shapes that seem to burst out of calcified mineral growth. Additionally the brooch changes colour as the temperature rises and falls through thermochromic pigments being infused into the silicon.
Kathy’s development of ‘soft’ sensors, possible through piezoelectric, shape memory and magnetic smart materials has also resulted in pieces such as her Geotronic Brooch (2013) in which a light source pulsates in tandem with the human heartbeat.
If awarded the fellowship she would like to further explore the visual and functional potential inherent in smart materials and also develop a further collection of interactive jewellery possibly incorporating other smart materials such as memory metals and even live cellular material and smart polymers.