Kate Bajic is a contemporary art jeweller based in the UK. Her latest collection is inspired by lichenology and her pieces incorporate chemical, physical and functional aspects of specific lichen species. We asked Kate about her interest in lichens and biology.
What attracted you to focus your work on lichens?
Initially it was the diversity of shape, colour and habitat that attracted me. As I began to discover more about the different species and their multitude of uses (both historically as a dye and foodstuff, and more recently in cosmetics, drug trials and as bio indicators for pollution), I realized the scope for using them as inspiration was vast. This allowed me to focus in on particular species and the functions of their specific chemical compounds, to create pieces of jewellery that were wearable but also had hidden meaning. I am now developing new pieces based more of the structure and form of lichen species but still including elements of chemical compounds.
Will you focus on any other biological themes in your future work?
Yes I hope so. I am interested in science, biology and chemistry in particular. I am currently an Artist in Residence at the University of Lincoln and am in the process of creating a collection of objects and wearable jewellery which have been inspired by my collaboration with Dr Sheena Cotter from the School of Life Sciences. Her research is based on burying beetles, a fascinating species which uses mouse corpses as a food source for its young. It creates an earth crypt where it buries the mouse and prepares and preserves it as a food source for the beetle larvae. This project is very different from anything I have done previously, allowing me to experiment with a range of new techniques and materials, including glass casting and creating porcelain and silver casts of mouse bones. This is a stand alone project and my first foray into a science/art collaboration but hopefully not my last.
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