Press

Guernsey Press Interview

Picture by Adrian Miller

Photographer sculpts unique chess set inspired by islands

GUERNSEY will forever be pitted against Jersey, as one local artist, immortalises the two islands in clay ready for battle.

Photographer Yasmin Mariess has being sculpting a chess piece set out of clay for two years, with the pieces made out of locally known figures and historical objects from Guernsey, which have been moulded in black, and the Jersey pieces moulded in white.

‘I love making things out of clay,’ said Ms Mariess.

‘And this all came about as a result of my daughter and I discussing what to do as a project together one summer.

‘We didn’t actually begin it together, but I kept on with the idea anyway and, although she’s not involved in making them, she is my harshest critic, as well as supporter.’

Each piece has been hand-moulded, baked and painted, creating the figures they are now, with pawns turned into donkeys vs crapauds, rooks into loophole towers vs Martello towers, knights turned into the Guernsey cows vs Jersey cows, bishops turned into the La Gran’mere du Chimquiere vs angel Rene Lalique, the kings turned into a Guernsey fisherman vs a Jerseyman, and the queens turned into Liza Queripel vs Lillie Langtry.

The board will also be created by a local carpenter from blondewood and blackwood.

Many of the pieces have multiple versions due to its creator’s perfectionism and attention to detail in making the pieces fit the chess board squares in height order and featuring local clues, but none caused Ms Mariess as much bother as the angel Rene Lalique of Jersey.

‘I wanted the angel to be made out of glass but unfortunately it just wasn’t working out and I was ending up with melted Bee Gees instead,’ added Ms Mariess.

‘After making over 300 pieces altogether for all of them, I’m happy with what I have as the final result.

‘I mean as they say an artist never really finishes their work, they merely abandon it, that’s me, I could go on perfecting it – I’m really looking forward to seeing it played with.’

The international Chess Festival, from 20-26 October, will feature the one-off Guernsey/Jersey chess set, with the top Jerseyman and Guernseyman set to play with it.

Ms Mariess also has plans to hide pieces from her initial endeavours around Jersey and Guernsey in the future, with the chess set sold in future with a book she has created about the set.

Article by Danielle Kenneally
Source: Guernsey Press
Published: Oct 11, 2019

Jersey Press Interview

Photo by Adrian Miller. Taken 25-10-2019 at the Peninsula Hotel.
Yasmin Mariess with her handmade chess set. Launched today at the International Chess Festival. 

Can you find hidden pieces of Channel Islands chess set?

SPORTING rivalry between Jersey and Guernsey is nothing new, but one artist has taken it a step further by creating an inter-island chess set where crapauds take on donkeys and Lillie Langtry takes on Liza Queripel, the fictional character.

And now Islanders can find their very own piece of abandoned art which helped in the development of the ‘La Table des Pions’ project.

Today, 30 ‘discarded’ Jersey pieces created by artist and photographer Yasmin Mariess have been hidden around the Island for people to find and keep. They feature Jersey cows, mini Seymour Towers, crapauds (pawns), a Lillie Langtry – the ‘queen’ of the Jersey set – and a number of angel René Laliques which were designed to act as bishops.

Each one is attached to a tag with a QR code which once scanned with a smart phone will take the finder to a web page featuring an online book which explains more about the project.

Ms Mariess, who is based in Guernsey, has spent more than two years on the project. Many of the discarded pieces have been given away to friends, but when it came to finding homes for the Jersey pieces she needed a little help and contacted the JEP, which agreed to hide the pieces.

‘I have been working on the inter-island chess set for over two years, and in the process made around 300 pieces as the early ones were made and discarded in favour of a better design,’ she said.

‘When I read the quote from Paul Valery that “an artist never really finished his work, he merely abandons it” this inspired me to share the pieces by “abandoning” them to be found by people on each island.

‘I invite you to keep your eyes out for various chess pieces that have Jersey imagery on them. Some are beautiful, some are mundane, and others plain weird.’

All that Ms Mariess asks in return is that those who find the pieces do not attempt to piece them altogether to create their own chess set.

The one-off Jersey/Guernsey chess set was launched last week at the International Chess Festival held in Guernsey. She also plans to put it up for sale in the future and is selling copies of the book online.

Each piece of the final set has been hand-moulded, baked and painted, with pawns turned into donkeys vs crapauds, rooks into loophole towers vs Martello towers, knights turned into the Guernsey cows vs Jersey cows, bishops turned into the La Gran’mere du Chimquiere vs angel Rene Lalique, the kings turned into a Guernsey fisherman vs a Jerseyman, and the queens turned into Liza Queripel vs Lillie Langtry.

The board has been created by a Guernsey carpenter from blondewood and blackwood.

And although many of the pieces required multiple versions to perfect, it was the angel René Laliques that caused the most problems.

‘I wanted the angel to be made out of glass but unfortunately it just wasn’t working out and I was ending up with melted Bee Gees instead,’ said Ms Mariess.

Article by Lucy Stephenson
Source: Jersey Press
Published: Oct 29, 2019

Guernsey Press Feature

Yasmin Mariess with her handmade chess set, along with International Chess Festival organiser Peter Rowe. 

Grandmaster of sculpture unveils unique chess set

THE 45th annual International Chess Festival has played host to a unique board crafted over the past two years by a grandmaster of sculpture, Yasmin Mariess.

Held at the Peninsula Hotel, a centre piece of this year’s festival has been the chessboard and pieces painstakingly hand-crafted by Ms Mariess.

A photographer by trade, Ms Mariess took on the task as a school summer project for her daughter.

‘We liked making sculpture but we both wanted something we could work on separately rather than doing one sculpture and we both like playing chess together.

‘However, once the teenage passion had exhausted itself I was left carrying on with it by myself. My son had the bright idea of making it a Jersey versus Guernsey rivalry because we needed two sets of pieces to compete.’

Each piece has been handmade, baked and painted.

Pawns have become donkeys and crapauds [toads]; rooks have become loophole and Martello towers; knights into Guernsey and Jersey cows; bishops into La Gran’mere du Chimquiere and angel, Rene Lalique; and the queens into Liza Queripel and Lillie Langtry. While the kings have been turned into Guppy’s creation, Stone de Croze, and a Jerseyman.

Ms Mariess said there was some indecision over the Guernsey king with many suggesting John Gollop, so much so, she has made a small, one-off Deputy Gollop playing figure.

‘After making over 300 pieces altogether for all of them, some of which I have hidden around the island in shops and about Town, I’m happy with what I have as the final result.

‘I mean, as they say, an artist never really finishes their work, they merely abandon it, that’s me. I could go on perfecting it – I’m really looking forward to seeing it played with, although I feel they may find the board a little distracting from their strategy,’ said Ms Mariess.

Grandmaster and organiser of the festival, Peter Rowe, said: ‘I didn’t really know what to expect but now I have seen the board it is really quite something and I really like the character on the pieces. We do not really play with ornamental boards professionally but they are brilliant ornaments.’

The board and pieces will be on display at Catherine Best’s Mill from 5 November.

Article by Yves Le
Source: Guernsey Press
Published: Oct 26, 2019