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Brandi Couvillion

Studio  
209
Brandi Couvillion
Sample Work

I am a self-taught artist inspired by the built environment, the various states of its decay, and its relationship with the ever-evolving natural landscape. Currently working in metal my sculptural jewelry immortalizes the transitory landscapes of history: from trade routes and forgotten swamps to abandoned asylums whose architectural residue still decorates the landscape today. I am inspired by the traditional craftsmanship of architectural details, such as wrought iron and plasterwork, as well as historic maps, some culled from archives dating from the early 1700s, that make permanent an ephemeral aspect of our cities’ histories. My collection, Architectural Elements, draws inspiration from a restored 1816 building adaptively reused. Each design correlates with the traditional craft techniques of three specific eras of the building’s storied past, revealing the shifting economic and social conditions of the city—from a lavish townhouse to a bohemian art school, a local television studio and, finally, a state-of-the-art museum. Exploration is a common thread in my work, using an assortment of techniques, materials, and elements to capture lost features of the built and natural landscape. The heat image transfer etching process I utilize is a contemporary variation of a traditional etching technique utilized in the original printing of the very maps I reference. The transitioning of the coastline is represented through etching—the acid and salts of the etchants naturally erode away from the metal plates over time, shifting the surface and leaving traces of natural oxidation in the patina’s residue. Likewise, I incorporate Keum-boo, an ancient Korean gilding technique of bonding 24 karat gold to silver, to indicate the route of a 19th century streetcar line. My precise application of patinas along with the effect of time give a blue hue to the etched shapes of waterways. I incorporate different types of chains to evoke the movement of water - the delicate feel of a small rolo chain represents the silt deposited in the alluvial soil at the river’s delta. Alternatively, the snake chain in my Fluidity Collection mimics the river’s flow, evoking aquatic sensations and the sultry curves of the river. Ultimately, my work blurs the lines between the past and the present, weaving the poetics of space with the fabric of time.

From raw sheets of metal, her work transforms into wearable archives in suspension thru an intensive, handcrafted process involving heat image transfers, various etchants, gilding, patinas &polishes.

My name is Brandi Couvillion, and I am originally from New Orleans. I currently reside in D.C and work in studio 209 in the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. With a background in historic preservation, I am inspired by the built environment around me and the various states of its decay, and its relationship with the ever-evolving natural landscape. My work immortalizes the transitory landscapes of history: from trade routes and forgotten swamps to abandoned asylums whose architectural residue still decorates the landscape today.

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