Patricia Niemann

Where the Bones of the Earth Shine Through | Patricia Niemann

“I was originally trained over 20 years ago in Germany as a goldsmith through a classic trade apprenticeship. Up to this very day – no matter how outlandish some of my pieces may look – I take meticulous craftsmanship very seriously. My workshop and showroom is set in Latheron, Caithness, and my main work is making one-off pieces of fine jewellery in gold, platinum, silver and gemstones.

But there is a wild side to me, a passion for large scale jewellery, for unusual textiles, hot glass and the human body. I am interested in human fears, and I never tire of translating and re-interpreting them into positive, decorative pieces that can be worn as body adornment. Current themes are the archaeology of death and burial and the concept of decay.

During the years that I have lived here, Caithness, it’s archaeology and relentless weather has started to change my work. My colour choice became more muted – more in tune with the environment. This extraordinary landscape, the colours, the unusual light, wide open spaces and the effect of the harsh weather and the Sea on the land, people and human artefacts has altered my perception.

A big part of my work and passions has always been life drawing. My people seem fierce – only a moment is captured. I am not interested in correct proportions, but in expression – of hands, feet and faces. I work fast and vigorous. My lines have a male quality.”

At Achavanich Stone Circle near Lybster, charred human remains were found in the peat bog – I took glass flames to the site.

At Sarclet Bay these shapes became bristles – the rock surface looks like grey skin.

The Cairn of Get is a lonely open-cast burial mound – charred bones were unearthed there too – glass and Caithness stone bones are added to the Neolithic ones.

In barbed wire fences, black silage sheeting is caught ripping in the wind – and speaks textiles.

“… where the bones of the earth shine through…”

Neil Gaiman, author of dark and humurous adult and childrens books and graphic novels, speaks of his love for the Far North of Scotland.