It was about a month ago when, during the research of new accessories for my work, I saw for the first time the precious accessories “Engraulis” created by Miranda Keyes. I was in Berlin in ButterflySoulFire boutique. These necklaces, earrings, masks, and styling applications composed primarily of real fishes are colored golden-brown with amber shades.
It was love at first sight and decided to use for my photo shoot. Here is a brief interview with the young artist Miranda.
How old are you and where do you live?
I am nineteen years old, I started the project when I was sixteen. I currently live on the West coast of Scotland.
When did you started your project and what kind of fish do you use?
This project started three years ago, I mainly work with fish, though have also incorporated shrimp, octopus, squid and fruit into my designs. I find creatures of the sea to be the most pleasing medium to work with-I like the idea that, preserved under resin, they are restored to the beauty that they find in the water.
Where do you sell your creations?
I sell my creations through a museum of curiosities in Hackney, London called The Last Tuesday Society. As of this summer I have also been selling through ButterflySoulFire in Berlin. For the past two years I have been working mainly on private commissions.
Which are your fonts of inspiration?
I adore 17th Century still life paintings, I think these play a large part in my inspiration. I have worked a great deal in the past in preserving flowers and fruit, to very varied degrees of success. I have used the results as part of larger three dimensional still life compositions. I think a lot of my interest in preservation that fed into the workings of the fish came from this project. I am also I think greatly inspired by work of the 15th century physician and artist Frederik Ruysch, who pioneered techniques of preservation to create the most beautiful dioramas.
How long time do you dedicate for one of your piece?
I will build up the form of over a number of days, dependent on the size of the piece, and when it is finished, I begin the process of lacquering. For this I use a blended resin. This takes around seven hours to become touch dry-each piece needs around ten coats. It is a long process!
Can you give me more details about this work process?
The process to completion is slow-a careful piecing together, often resting on an intricate tessellation of the curved fish. Then a gradual build up of layers of resin. It is something I enjoy immensely. Right now, I am beginning to work with bigger fish, and have been visiting the fishmonger often to experiment with different varieties, the experimentation is most exciting, now I have developed a technique of preservation, there is enormous scope for what I can do. A friend of mine works with birds, so I have been working with the insides of these, as she uses the skins. I love the beauty of things in the right context; on the neck or head these things that would otherwise be left, are elevated to jewels.
Take a look!
01 January 2011