The Weekender

Old Granada Studios has announced ‘the Weekender’ – a free weekend event bringing together the region’s most covetable designer-makers, independent brands and local food producers under one roof.

Sat & Sun 20th- 21st June

 Sunglasses from Lissom & Muster

Sunglasses from Lissom & Muster

Old Granada Studios, Manchester.

I'll be here with my latest work in the pop-up designer store and probably dancing around the gin garden.

YES I said GIN GARDEN!

Other fun treats to enjoy include:

Pop-Up Cinema

Cocktail Bar (in a vintage Citroen!!!)

PLaYROOM Art & craft workshops for the little makers

Specially curated products and hand made pieces from designers like Joe Hartley, Wonderhaus & Lissom & Muster boutique

Hope to see you here to join in the fun! :D

 

 

Exploring Uncertainty

"What happens when makers eschew certainty of outcome, instead embracing chance, volatility and impermanence in their work? Wood artist Nic Webb, and silversmiths David Clarke and Hazel Thorn discuss with session chair Lottie Davies, Taylor-Wessing Prize-winning photographer and BAFTA-nominated short film artist."

 The sugar crystals took 6 months to form on this silver object by David Clarke.

The sugar crystals took 6 months to form on this silver object by David Clarke.

 Hazel Thorn creates her own material through fusing rods of silver and gilding metal, creating an alloy, seen as the the third green stripe.

Hazel Thorn creates her own material through fusing rods of silver and gilding metal, creating an alloy, seen as the the third green stripe.


 

This was another great event held at Collect on Friday. It invited three artist makers with different forms of using unusual and "destructive" methods to give an insight into how it can help make something new and exciting. 

 

BURNING

 

Nic Webb was pointing out the difference he found between the work he makes and other artists using natural materials like Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy's work is fleeting, to be experienced but only for a time as it is left to the elements meaning that without photographs many people would never see his creations.

By making an object you see the effect of a person on a material, having some degree of control in order to leave a tangible record of their existence and ideas.

Webb likens it to the Castillo Caves where the hand of the pre-historic artist is traced in pigment for future generations to see. It is good analogy for an artist maker who harnesses the powerful, primeval force of fire to scorch out his designs.

It is this fine line between chaos and control that allows the most exciting work to be created. Our idea of beauty is often formed through the unpredictability of nature.

 

"MAKING IS A JOURNEY TO A PLACE I HAVEN'T BEEN"

Nic Webb


 

For Nic Webb his chisel is the force of the flame and his paint is the blanket of soot it creates. He says the decisions he makes are like sailing close to the wind. Go too far and you have lost the power but on riding on the edge you can control your manoeuvres and use the natural forces around you.

 

 

CUTTING 

Hazel Thorn gave a really thorough account of her making process which I really enjoyed hearing. She explained the many steps where she will make decisions on how to form her piece. Although appearing random she plans the outcome through instinct, using ongoing analysis and careful thought allowing a piece to "grow" to her design.

Hazel says how daunting a fresh sheet of silver can be, but she is able to lose that pristine preciousness through her approach where she literally cuts her material into pieces. Then it is almost like a series of repairs, each twist and turn as the material is altered is not a limitation but an opportunity she can work with.

Hazel also highlighted how important the hands on aspect of her making process is.  The incidents that occur such as when she unintentionally overheated a piece creating a new shape, means she has discovered something about her material. She can then choose whether to use this in her work having learned how to allow or deny it to happen.

 

 

DECAYING

 

 

David Clarke's work often provokes a big response. A skilled and talented silversmith with his graduate designs flying out to the V&A and Goldsmith's collections he eventually grew bored of making work he found repetitive. 

“It’s the level of perfection in silversmithing that I really moved against – the belief that you should polish every joint until the process becomes invisible,” he says. 

 

He insists on being called a silversmith rather than an artist. This recognises his understanding of this material through his working life so far devoted to learning and practising the skills to create with it. Through this he has earned the right to challenge it and push it. Like a close family member or old friend who can call you out on something you've done wrong when no-one else would dare, push you beyond your limits, and even make jokes at your expense. Just like your best buddies you both know how much you love and appreciate each other and would only ever want to bring out the best in both of you.

He goes against the conventions of a precious and revered material by fearlessly devouring or engulfing the silver using other materials, like baking it in salt or with lead. His work is a lesson to lighten up and enjoy a wonderful material for everything it is. It also serves as a memento mori reminding us of the fragility of a fleeting existence, to live life and enjoy it as it comes as we don't have the control we believe we have.

 

Living Wood, Not Wooden Living

When is a wooden table not a wooden table?

When it's a Marigold.

 "Wooden Table", Peter Marigold, Libby Sellers Gallery

"Wooden Table", Peter Marigold, Libby Sellers Gallery

 

That's the designer Peter Marigold, and I was lucky enough to get an insight into his work as he spoke with us at Collect.

Marigold is a resourceful designer-maker, utilising the materials and ideas that come to him through his immediate environment. Often exploring wood in his designs he harvests the fallen branches from his neighbourhood of Hampstead Heath to use for timber. Having this local resource to hand has encouraged him to explore it's properties in many ways.

 

 The textures of Peter Marigold's Wooden Tables, created using a repeated grain surface from a sample of wood.

The textures of Peter Marigold's Wooden Tables, created using a repeated grain surface from a sample of wood.

Not only does he use wood to make many of his designs, it is through experiments with this organic material  that he also brings the qualities he discovers into other very different substances.

"Characteristically, these are not straightforward forms, but instead have been created using wood rather than being made of wood. They therefore reference wood as an active verb rather than a monumental noun; the resulting forms highly animated and not ‘wooden’ at all." Libby Sellers Gallery

 

By translating what he sees in the formation and degrading of wood into something very hard and processed like metal he is breathing life into a manufactured material.

Through playing with our expectations of what materials look and feel like, it makes us want to engage with these objects, question them, pick them up, touch and interact. 

 One of Marigold's "Wooden Forms" where he uses wax to capture the surface texture of wood. The fragmented, fragile looking shapes are then cast in materials like iron.

One of Marigold's "Wooden Forms" where he uses wax to capture the surface texture of wood. The fragmented, fragile looking shapes are then cast in materials like iron.

It is the natural wearing-out of the objects we use in our lives that gives him great pleasure. Every knock, scuff and dent that marks a surface is like a tree ring documenting their lifespan.

This also shows them to be of a greater quality, worth keeping even with their lived-in "damage" teaching us the patience to invest in an object and forming a bond with our environment.

 "Bleed" series of locally ebonised cedar cabinets by Peter Marigold showing at Collect 2015 with Sarah Myerscough gallery.

"Bleed" series of locally ebonised cedar cabinets by Peter Marigold showing at Collect 2015 with Sarah Myerscough gallery.

 

At this year's Collect, Marigold was showing his cedar cabinets stained from the reaction with steel nails holding them together. Entitled "Bleed", the beautiful black streaks became the most prominent feature of these sturdy cabinets. 

"Man builds things up, and then nature begins a slow steady process of taking them down again. A normal response to this effect might be despair like King Canute trying to hold back the sea, but I see beauty," said Marigold.

 

 A close up of the inky patterns made by the steel nails reacting with the wood in Peter Marigold's "Bleed" Cabinets

A close up of the inky patterns made by the steel nails reacting with the wood in Peter Marigold's "Bleed" Cabinets

Rather than fighting nature in preventing this unpredictable marking, these displayed the reaction of the untreated metal with the tannin in the wood showing a truth to the materials.

I loved seeing his way the designer was letting go of the piece they had made, allowing nature to take it's course to create a unique, naturally beautiful object. It reminded me of the way mascara can run down a perfectly made-up face showing an overwhelming emotion, too much sadness to mask and hide or a joy too powerful to hold inside.

For more information of Peter Marigold's projects visit his site here.

There are lots of great Artist's talks still going on at Collect on from 9th - 11th May 2015-check them out HERE

 

 

Oh My Gobstopper

With the Amirah Kassem's installation of gumball art ready to spread joy and fun amidst the party goers at Brooklyn Artist's Ball I thought it would be the perfect time to share one of my favourite creations. My own Gobstopper ring is made one-at-a-time and one-of-a-kind in resin with a sterling silver band. Custom colours and sizes are available, to pre-order yours or make any enquiries drop me an email to:  info@jademellor.com.

 10000 Gumballs making up Amirah Kassem's installation at Brooklyn Museum's Artist's Ball. Photo courtesy of Tmagazine.

10000 Gumballs making up Amirah Kassem's installation at Brooklyn Museum's Artist's Ball. Photo courtesy of Tmagazine.

Flower Shop is one of my "wish list" places to visit to have a dream cake made by amazing artist Amirah Kassem . I love her work and style, and the message behind her creations is definitely to enjoy life, with her phenomenally vibrant sweet treats becoming a way of interacting and sharing delightful experiences with one another. This definitely has a lot in common with the kind of jewellery I like to make. It's a way of communicating what you  are interested in, in a way you can share with others. And this kind of art, whether to eat, see or wear is often made to commemorate a special occasion, or brighten up the mundaneness of the everyday to appreciate a colourful world and a life worth living. A tasty, playful treat!

  “The Murakami flowers have got to be one of my favourite things ever,”  Says Kassem. She chose these iconic smiling blooms for her installation created by sweets at Brooklyn Museum. Photo courtesy of Tmagazine.

“The Murakami flowers have got to be one of my favourite things ever,” Says Kassem. She chose these iconic smiling blooms for her installation created by sweets at Brooklyn Museum. Photo courtesy of Tmagazine.

Enjoy The Gum-Ball! Wish I was there! 

Delicious Jewels

Easter Feast!  I love big family get-togethers and Easter bank holiday is usually a lively weekend enjoying home cooked food complete with delicious veggies.

 

The luxury begins with  the colourful variety, choosing beautiful stripy tomatoes or even the  occasional home-grown courgette complete with foraged edible flowers.

 

My family are great at cooking tasty treats, but I also really appreciate the care in how they present them. As makers they get  busy creating things both in and out of the kitchen, soldering a  delicate metal cake topper as the crowning glory to sit upon another family member's luxurious, home-made chocolate cake.

 

 

Another might have made a special journey to snaffle the best game pie, or produce some vintage linens they had squirrelled away for such a celebration. This time and care in presenting and enjoying the food makes sharing the day together even more special, showing everybody how appreciated they are. Whether it's for their baking skills or corny jokes, everyone has something to offer.

If you know any corny jokes, I'm all ears.

The scrumptious  images in this post are of Hemmerle's Delicious Jewels. This amazing vegetable collection made by these  talented craftsmen  was created in 2011  to celebrate a new chapter in their history. The book  they produced featured these gorgeous works of art in combination with the delicious recipes of Tamsin Day-Lewis. It really is a sumptuous read, a feast for the eyes and belly.

Jewellery making and food at the top level are not dissimilar, both rely on technique, long experience and tradition, purism and originality without pretentiousness, elegant simplicity at best, both are beautiful to the eye and a joy to the senses.

Tamasin Day-Lewis
Food Writer and Author


 Roasted artichoke!

Roasted artichoke!

The Hemmerle history is incredibly  impressive, beginning in Munich with the medals and orders made for the Bavarian Royal Family. When they began by taking over an established Goldsmith's at the turn of the 20th Century they brought their unique combination of  refined craftsmanship and  a more challenging and artistic approach to materials. Their  forward thinking, whilst utilising amazing technical skills of a fine jewellers has carried through to the present day. Finding links to modern life they make unique works of art where creating the most beautiful object is more important than the quantity of jewels used.

cabage jewellery.png

"We felt that the cabbage did not
invariably need a pavé setting to come to
life. The crafsmanship of themetal was
sufficient." Hemmerle Jewellers

 

The collection highlights nature’s artistry, both vegetal and mineral, turning the mundane into the magnificent.


I hope you enjoy this time celebrating the arrival of Spring and new growth with delicious fresh treats and the warmth of friends and family. 

A Pea Easter

 

Playing For Keeps!

Aggie either a marble made out of agate or a glass marble that looks like it's agate. A glass or imitation aggie is also called an immie.

 Some marbles in my studio on a sunny day

Some marbles in my studio on a sunny day

Alley A marble made of marble. Alley is short for alabaster.

Bombsies Dropping your shooter on the target marble.

Histing Lifting your knuckle from the ground while shooting.

 Hand sculpted from resin with a sterling silver shank and marble detail, a one-of-a-kind piece available at Craft & Culture

Hand sculpted from resin with a sterling silver shank and marble detail, a one-of-a-kind piece available at Craft & Culture

Keepsies Playing for keeps. You get to keep all the marbles you win.

 Unique resin, marble & sterling silver ring at Craft & Culture

Unique resin, marble & sterling silver ring at Craft & Culture

These two new resin and silver rings have recently arrived in Seattle's Craft & Culture. I designed and made them around some of my own collection of glass marbles. I love their perfect shape and lustrous colour. To contrast these glass orbs in texture and colour I chose to work in  an angular bright blue with flecks of orange to sculpt these one-of-a-kind rings.

Here are more details on these pieces at craft & Culture


Knuckle down To put one knuckle of your shooting hand in contact with the ground. Most players put the knuckle of their index finger on the ground. You position your shooter in the crook of the index finger and flick it out with your thumb.

Lagging A way of choosing who shoots first. Players roll their marbles toward a line in the dirt (the lag line). Whoever gets closest without going over gets to shoot first.


Lagging A way of choosing who shoots first. Players roll their marbles toward a line in the dirt (the lag line). Whoever gets closest without going over gets to shoot first.

 

Mibs The target marbles in a game. Another name is Kimmies.


Playing for fair All marbles are returned to owner after the game.

Plunking Hitting the targets on the fly.

Taw Another name for a shooter. Shooters are often slightly larger than target marbles. In some games you shoot from behind a taw line.

 

 

PLAYING FOR KEEPS THE WINNER KEEPS ALL THE MARBLES AFTER THE GAME ("WINNER KEEPS, LOSER WEEPS").

 


Metal Shadows of Rock

You may have seen from my Facebook status that I am lucky enough to be blogging from the British Museum today! 

This is such a wonderfully rich and inspiring atmosphere, but with so many amazing objects it can be overwhelming. So today I set myself a task to find and learn about just one single object in depth to share with you.

 Squeak! Carved netsuke decoration at The British Museum.

Squeak! Carved netsuke decoration at The British Museum.

 

Finding myself in the Chinese gallery, my attention was immediately drawn to a table of objects you could handle along with a friendly guide to explain their provenance. Amongst them a beautiful little netsuke mouse was curled into a shy ball and an ancient jade pendant was worn smooth in a shape of a fish, still perfect after thousands of years. But these were not the objects for my mission for today. I was surrounded by so many cabinets of intricate, exquisite treasures it took the sight of something completely different to made me stop in my tracks. It was a large shiny silver object, appearing amidst the antiquities as if it had fallen straight from another world and into the museum. But there was no visible hole in the roof or debris where this alien object had crash landed. And here it was this piece of sci-fi, presented carefully on a traditionally carved wooden plinth. This was a sculpture by the artist Zhan Wang.

  Artificial Rock, number 82 by Zhan Wang. Polished stainless steel

Artificial Rock, number 82 by Zhan Wang. Polished stainless steel

 

"In the past, collectors displayed craggy rocks on their desks as objects of aesthetic appreciation. The rocks also allude to the mystic of mountains that were thought to be dwellings for men of pure thought."

 Another steel sculpture by Zhan Wang - the artist also calls them "floating stones" .

Another steel sculpture by Zhan Wang - the artist also calls them "floating stones" .

 

Chinese scholars collected and revered unique rocks with beautiful shapes created through natural erosion. By displaying them in their working surroundings for their aesthetic value they also wished to be reminded of the mysticism of the mountains where men of "pure thought" were supposed to dwell. Their sculptural forms displaying positive and negative space were so admired that artisans tried to reproduce copies of these rocks in various materials, including jade, glass, and ceramic.

Zhan Wang forms his sculptures by moulding sheets of stainless steel around real rock formations. 

The artist says; "The material’s glittering surface, ostentatious glamour, and illusory appearance make it an ideal medium to convey new dreams.''

ins-artificial-stone.jpg

Zhan has also created his own personal universe by recording the sound made by exploding a giant boulder. Read more here

Zhan Wang's work often uses the use of simplistic object that serve a purpose of telling a complex idea. By using the industrial material stainless steel Zhan perfectly captures the organic shape of the original scholars rocks he forms his pieces around but with it's eerily perfect finish, too shiny for nature it's purpose is still that of internal as well as external reflection.

 

 

FASHION TREATS LFW A/W15

London Fashion Week can seem a bit of a chaotic time. From the outside it could look like a lot of fuss over frivolity, peacocks parading for street photographers and avant garde outfits sailing down catwalks in outrageous styles and unnatainable prices. For me the whole point of going to fashion week is just the same as visiting a museum or gallery. It's chance to see the outcomes of everything the designer/artist has most recently been obsessed and in love with. Their fascinations, what they have been dreaming, eating, living, and now created as beautiful things we can wear

But the serious side of fashion means this is a crucial time for designers, their chance to promote and sell their creations to international buyers and gain press coverage for their work be seen and known. As Alexander Fury writes in Issue 1 of this Febs Fashion Daily; "There's one thing that frequently gets overlooked about the fashion business. Namely, it's a business...Hence I aplaud the BFC's new Business Pillar. It emphasises the industrious work behind fashion, which generates billions for the UK economy."

 Inspiration "mood boxes" in Topshop's NewGen area of Somerset House

Inspiration "mood boxes" in Topshop's NewGen area of Somerset House

With all this in mind, I'm happy to say that the joy of fashion is still being upheld. The escapism, fun and enjoyment you can gain from what you wear keeps us creative and individual. This is what makes it such a lucrative business. Enough with the mundane, the sensible option, the reality of life. We can have that any-time. Here are some of the designers I saw with the theme of enjoying life and the freedom of wearing your favourite things, evoking a time of innocence, excitement and curiosity. So let's  pour ourselves a bowl of (designer) sugary cereal and enjoy...

 

First up is Sadie Williams. I loved her collab for & Other Stories so it was great to see some of her catwalk pieces up close in their scrumptious textures. Indulge in softly metallic stripes reminiscent of luxurious Tunnock's teacakes and playful shapes assembled on diaphanous fabrics these were sophisticated, wearable versions of collages we might have pritt-sticked and glitter-glued out of sweetie wrappers at playtime.

 Sparkling textures from Sadie Williams

Sparkling textures from Sadie Williams

Sadie says her own childhood was hands on and creative, with a DIY  attitude encouraged by a mum who loved textiles. You can tell from the way these pieces seemed free and light, unaware of anything else apart from the enjoyment of colour, shape and texture.

These combinations of woven fabrics and futuristic flashes was like seeing a scrap box of snippets of salvaged fabrics curated with a magpie's eye. It makes sense that her mum also had a bric a brac stall, from these combinations of old and new stating her influences as "early constructivist Rodchenko and folky shapes" and with an auntie like Venetia Scott, Sadie really makes it work to feel fresh and desirable for a fashionable fan-base.

 Space Age plants for Sadie William's showroom

Space Age plants for Sadie William's showroom

Walking on a Sugar High! I was addicted to these PEZ shoes- a fantastic idea dreamed up by Camilla Elphick. 

My eye was immediately draw to Kirsty Ward's new collection as I wandered the corridors of Somerset House. Kirsty studied her Womenswear degree in my own old uni city of Manchester before her MA at London's Central Saint Martins. Her latest offerings featured sugary shades with baubles and beads reminiscent of strawberry bon bons and twists of licorice.  "I like to make pieces that the wearer will love, with thought going into every last detail. I also love to mix jewellery with clothing - blurring the line where one stops and the other starts."

 

Kirsty Ward has also collaborated with another favourite of mine- William's Handmade, to make her neat but usefully sized and shaped bags to put the fun into functional with their embellished leather cubes in the same sweet palette.

Here are the rest of William's own bags in her new collection shown at London Fashion Week. These portable pouches, and takeaway totes are an everyday version of the asymmetrical  silhouettes and jukebox inspired steamer trunks from her big luggage pieces I first fell in love with a few years ago.

 Casual leanings, these smart bags will always put you at ease wherever you take them.

Casual leanings, these smart bags will always put you at ease wherever you take them.

 Williams Handmade, fun, functional and beautifully made in quality materials, bags to fill a niche in your wardrobe.

Williams Handmade, fun, functional and beautifully made in quality materials, bags to fill a niche in your wardrobe.

 If Warhol was doing Pop Art in the Thirties...  getting an appetite for Cleo Ferin Mercury's "Diner" scarf.

If Warhol was doing Pop Art in the Thirties...  getting an appetite for Cleo Ferin Mercury's "Diner" scarf.

I would have to combine this scarf from Cleo Ferin and and a pair of Termite shades for the ultimate brunch outfit.

 The Factory set might also be wearing some of the amazing shades on offer from TERMITE, mixing materials for fabulous frames in modern shapes with a 6Os sense of psychedelia.

The Factory set might also be wearing some of the amazing shades on offer from TERMITE, mixing materials for fabulous frames in modern shapes with a 6Os sense of psychedelia.

So it looks like there's plenty of fun to come with the next Season's offerings from our designers. Let's enjoy having fun with fashion a little bit of what you fancy and a LOT OF WHAT YOU LOVE!

Make yourself at home

verb live in

...bide, exist, hole up, inhabit, reside, squat, abide, bunk, continue, crash, flop, locate, nest, occupy, park, perch, quarter, remain, rent, rest, room, roost, settle, sojourn, stay, tarry, tenant, establish oneself, hang one's hat, hang out, keep house, locate, occupy, populate, possess, reside, dwell, live, lodge, people...

environment c.1600, "state of being environed"; sense of "nature, conditions in which a person or thing lives" 

I always say how much I love how Hubert Duprat drew attention to how the Cadi Fly larvae carefully construct themselves their protective cases. The larvae use whatever is available to them to build their homes, and the  precious materials Duprat gave them in his controlled environment  illustrates their skills and intuition beautifully in gold and glistening jewels. I have recently made some big changes to my own surroundings, relocating ready to begin a new chapter in a new place. Before I left my old home I made this piece of jewellery. It is a portable keepsake literally using the very materials of my old environment, containing the dust and debris that had surrounded me. To me it is also a protective talisman, a cocoon I have made to be safe within it. It is also a reminder that no matter where you are, just like the little larvae you can make the most of whatever you have and sometimes it might be even better, possibly even exquisitely precious and more wonderful than what you had ever been expecting...

 

 

 

Advocating Craft for 2015

Building the market for collectors of contemporary craft in the North West

I was lucky enough to have attended this symposium organised by  the North West Craft Network that also coincided with the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair  in October. The symposium gathered together a group of selected curators, designers and major supporters of the creative world  to put our heads together and come up with ideas to strengthen the craft industry in the North West. The hope is to produce real results for those of us who are committed to making our living from our skills and passions. The results from the workshop have been published HERE.

 Lively discussions and workshops with the curators, collectors and craft practitioners. The fantastic variety of guests at the symposium, "Building the Market for Contemporary Craft in the North West".

Lively discussions and workshops with the curators, collectors and craft practitioners. The fantastic variety of guests at the symposium, "Building the Market for Contemporary Craft in the North West".

This was a welcome chance to meet and talk as a mixed group of professionals in the creative industry. We found we each had our own experiences, sharing what we have each found either as a designer or curator or from the experienced eye of a passionate collector.

Ever since this event, my mind has been buzzing with ideas, and has even helped me to make huge changes to my own creative career.  This gathering was a great starting point to now develop on helping us to focus on making 2015 a great year for craft. Not only working hard (as we all know the long hours and sacrifices from taking an unconventional path) but working smart, meaning that our precious time is spent in the most useful ways in order to help ourselves to thrive and build up the contemporary craft industry as a whole.

Here are four points that I felt were repeated again and again in our discussions in various ways. January is shiny, new and full of promise, the perfect time to begin trying to incorporate these a bit more into our work and daily lives.

 

1) Talk to people, tell them why you do what you do and how it makes you feel. This could be you interacting as a maker selling directly or it could be to visitors to the gallery where you work or an event you volunteer at or the tweets about the exhibitions you like. This also means LISTEN to them too. Listen to the lovely compliments on your work and your efforts. What do they like about it, what is unique? What don't they like so much? Maybe they are getting the wrong idea or something important is being missed. You will only know by communicating, and this will motivate you forward.

 Here I am giving a presentation at Manchester Museum, sharing my inspiration and practices. It really made me think about why and how I make what I do and the unpredictable questions which helped me reflect and learn.

Here I am giving a presentation at Manchester Museum, sharing my inspiration and practices. It really made me think about why and how I make what I do and the unpredictable questions which helped me reflect and learn.

 

2) Treat your work how you want to be treated. You have dedicated your time and energy to your creative endeavour, show it's value. Whistler made his security guards wear yellow socks and created jewellery to be worn to his shows using his signature "butterfly sting". You may not need to go this far but what is important about your work? Do you need to invest in exquisite, protective packaging to demonstrate preciousness by treating each piece as if fragile and sacred. Or maybe is it the processes you need to show or the materials? Do you need to show the timeline of how you developed a idea to prove it is the best it can be or do you need to romance us with your artistic inspiration? Other people do not know how or why you do what you do, and sometimes your finished object alone won't allow them to appreciate and value your work over other all the things competing for their attention every day. These big brands rely on expensive marketing or "bargain" prices, however you have something they do not have. Prototypes, raw materials, sketches, videos, proof of production, the magic of it's inception. You. This is your value, show it.

 Bernhard Schobinger's jewellery art work is highly valued.  He chooses to create an individual container to house each piece which can tell you the story behind it, decorated with it's details and his signature. They are all intended as one complete beautiful and considered object and Schobinger says "if you lose the box you know nothing of the piece".

Bernhard Schobinger's jewellery art work is highly valued.  He chooses to create an individual container to house each piece which can tell you the story behind it, decorated with it's details and his signature. They are all intended as one complete beautiful and considered object and Schobinger says "if you lose the box you know nothing of the piece".

 

 

3) Support yourself by supporting others. Mark Twain said (the) "Best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up." Do you have a favourite designer or maker? Tell them! Tell others about them and  share the love! We are making efforts to get the public to understand and appreciate contemporary craft but maybe we need to set a better example.  We all want people to appreciate and buy good things rather than overbuying, damaging the environment or creating sweatshop conditions.

 Here's my chance to show work by my super creative and wonderful friend  Natalie Laura Ellen . She puts so much of herself into her designs. I love the fact that she creates her own cosy world with her goodies, inspired by her passions like her vintage cameras, visits to horticultural shows  or the little details of her home city of Manchester where she works and produces all of her products. See her lovely shop  here  

Here's my chance to show work by my super creative and wonderful friend Natalie Laura Ellen. She puts so much of herself into her designs. I love the fact that she creates her own cosy world with her goodies, inspired by her passions like her vintage cameras, visits to horticultural shows  or the little details of her home city of Manchester where she works and produces all of her products. See her lovely shop here 

 

 

4) Let people help you. Even if you get up VERY early in the morning or go on a different course every month you may not be able to do everything you need to do by yourself. This can be hard to admit as you may have to relinquish a bit of control (if you are used to working independently) and it may mean everything is not 100% how you want it just yet. But it may free you up to get on with the most important parts that no-one else can do, or get over something that's been blocking your progress. It is usually easier to tweak what you have and build on resources than have nothing to show but grand words and ideas on how you want it to be.

 

 This photograph was taken by my talented photographer friends Nikita A. Queeley Gill and  Simon Shortt  not long after I graduated. We worked together on this shoot giving me beautiful images like this one using techniques and equipment I wouldn't be able to do alone. This photo and the support of friends and family then led to me winning a fashion competition in Paris, where I saw my work on a catwalk for the first time. I don't know where I'd be without help from all of these wonderful people, so thank you all, always remembered and appreciated.      

This photograph was taken by my talented photographer friends Nikita A. Queeley Gill and Simon Shortt not long after I graduated. We worked together on this shoot giving me beautiful images like this one using techniques and equipment I wouldn't be able to do alone. This photo and the support of friends and family then led to me winning a fashion competition in Paris, where I saw my work on a catwalk for the first time. I don't know where I'd be without help from all of these wonderful people, so thank you all, always remembered and appreciated.

 

 

When I am feeling intimidated by a project or big workload I think of this quote used by Ben Barry, designer at Facebook "Done is better than perfect". There is more from this interview from 99% below;

"I have several friends that are incredibly talented. They will start on projects but rarely follow through. They get bored or distracted or discouraged that it's not "perfect" and give up. Following through and finishing things is one of the most important things you can learn.

One of my favourite quotes is "Done is better than perfect." That doesn't mean making crap – I believe you should always strive for the highest quality you can – but you have to finish. I think a lot of my friends in this situation don't realize how in-demand their skills are. I think if you follow through on projects and just put the tiniest little effort into promoting yourself and have the tiniest bit of self-confidence, you can get the job you want."

white swan backstage film, photographers.JPG

 

I think for Contemporary Craft to have a fantastic future we need to think of ourselves as a whole, banding together as the company of British Designers, each a representative of the national brand. When buying for pleasure it is easy to be swayed by the exotic, paying extra for imported rather than domestic which may mean our local artists are overlooked or undervalued. At the symposium, Professor Geoffrey Crossick, chair of the Crafts Council  brought up the point that "Craft" is fashionable, using the popularity of Craft beer as an example. Companies are utilising this self given label to great effect making a product appear wholesome, local, community based, somehow better for us. We need to think of all of these things when producing or buying our designs too; carefully crafted, artisan made, combining passion and skill and the best ingredients, a more informed, sophisticated choice.  We are lucky to have some of the most talented people right under our nose and we need to be proud of ourselves, contributing to our great industry as pioneers in art and design. The craft economy generates nearly £3.4bn for the UK economy. That's you and me, making it, promoting it and buying it. I think we deserve a bonus this year.

 Giving Contemporary Crafters everywhere..."A BIG HAND".

Giving Contemporary Crafters everywhere..."A BIG HAND".

 

Making It: Building Your Craft Future. A Day for Emerging Makers at the Whitworth Art Gallery

Thurs March 5th 2015

If you are an emerging maker, this event also organised by the North West Craft Network along with Manchester Craft and ADesign Centre and The Whitworth Art Gallery, will be a great chance to meet some great people and learn form their experience of creative careers of the North West via workshops in the spectacular atmosphere of newly re-imagined Whitworth.

There are also some great ideas in "The Done Manifesto" you can read here on

Thank you so much to the Symposium organisers, the incredibly hard working North West Craft Co-ordinator; Victoria Scholes and the superb Angela Mann and Anne-Marie Franey, organisers of The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. They are continuing to push contemporary craft by events like these as we strive to make it as great as it really can be. My thanks also to the speakers, Jo Bloxham, James Beighton, Louise Gardener and Geoffrey Crossick for sharing their viewpoints on the podium and also to the wonderful people I met here to share our passion and enthusiasm for Contemporary craft in the North West.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Drawer Zoo

Who wouldn't want to live in a miniature zoo full of tiny weird and wonderful animals? I visited Top Drawer in London's Olympia yesterday and was fascinated by these creations by Japanese needle felt artist Terumi Ohta aka "True Style Lab" as part of the brilliant new area for designer makers called CRAFT.

 Smooth on the inside...crunchy on the outside

Smooth on the inside...crunchy on the outside

 The patience and skill of hand needle felting is the perfect way to capture the colours and the textures of a spider's hairs giving this super little tarantula a lifelike appearance.

The patience and skill of hand needle felting is the perfect way to capture the colours and the textures of a spider's hairs giving this super little tarantula a lifelike appearance.

 This little fellow looks preserved in a pre-historic environment as your own pet dinky dino in a bubble.

This little fellow looks preserved in a pre-historic environment as your own pet dinky dino in a bubble.

 Hand made clay teeth are painstaking made and indiviually inserted for as their creator Terumi says, for her; "It's all in the details".

Hand made clay teeth are painstaking made and indiviually inserted for as their creator Terumi says, for her; "It's all in the details".

Here is my favourite of Terumi's art pieces, I really wish I could have taken this beautiful cub home with me but hopefully I can visit it if she will exhibit more of her menagerie soon!

 

Have a look at more of Terumi's work online at WWW.TRUESTYLELAB.COM who was exhibiting at  Top Drawer London as part of the new specialist makers area called CRAFT

The Big Bang 2015 by Maud Traon at Gill Wing Gallery

I have been enjoying a brilliant start to 2015 by helping to create this exhibition at Gill Wing Gallery in Islington, showcasing an installation of French jewellery artist Maud Traon's jewellery and objects.

Maud's objects create a post-apocalyptic landscape as a collection of glittering, futuristic cosmic debris. She describes her approcah as "Naive, playful & messy". I love the sense of intrigue they inspire, some are wearable, others are objects to enjoy and ponder. By creating a whole installation it has created a strong atmosphere of her work and by making it visible on a busy city street it makes this kind of exciting work visible  to the general public and their daily lives rather than in a closed gallery. 

 Maud Traon ring from her collection, "Oh toi mon Petit Poney"

Maud Traon ring from her collection, "Oh toi mon Petit Poney"

Here is some information on our  concept behind the exhibition, and reasons for holding it at Gill Wing jewellery gallery;

The Big Bang 2015 by Maud Traon 

"An explosion of colour and creativity in the jewellery universe. Maud takes us on a flight of fantasy in her use of unusual materials in eye catching colours and sparkling textures to create objects that fill us with wonder. Finest Swarovski and toy trinkets are engulfed in resin glitter, with gold and silver layers sealing their fate.

We chose to work with Maud for our first exhibition of 2015 to show an example of the creativity and individuality of the makers work we have in the gallery. We now house over 60 original jewellery artists, from the accomplished artisans, many of whom are now teaching the next generation and the up-and-coming, experimental makers. These designers push the boundaries of jewellery by utilising new technology, or demonstrating ancient jewellery techniques combined with fresh ideas. We hope that by continuing to showcase these talented individuals, exemplified by Maud Traon's extraordinary objects, we welcome in 2015 with the only limits to jewellery being those of our own imagination."

 Maud Traon ring from her collection "The Constant Gardener"

Maud Traon ring from her collection "The Constant Gardener"

 

Here it's as if they are in a  vivarium creating an atmosphere for these other worldly specimens to thrive in allowing viewers to see them in their weird and wonderful habitat.

 

Maud says she enjoys walking when coming up with a new piece, I agree that it is perfect way to allow yourself space and time to think and dream. Maud's foam rings here are encasing fairies, mermaids and princesses, we suspended them as if they were floating away, showing the lightness and delicate beauty, something for the daydreamers wishing to escape the mundane.

 

When we asked her what fragrance her pieces would have Maud answered (they would smell of) "spices and sweets". They certainly look tempting to passers by, catching the eye of even the busiest shoppers and commuters on Islington's busy Upper Street!

This installation is still on now, you can see it for yourself at Gill Wing Jewellery Gallery:

182 Upper St.
London
N1 1RQ

 

www.gillwingjewellery.co.uk

www.maudtraon.com

 

INTERWOVEN EDITORIAL for ELEMENT MAGAZINE

See the whole issue here

    Interwoven

    Fashion Director Karen Jones Russell
    www.representedby.ME

    Photographer Euan Danks
    www.euandanks.com

    Assistant Stylist Mariel Osborn
    www.representedby.ME

    Hair & Makeup Michael Richmond
    www.representedby.ME

    Models
    Laura Catterall @ 12+ Models

    Clothing Credits:
    Annie Oakes
    Helen O’Donovan
    Jade Mellor

    Makeup Credits:
    Makeup Kevyn Aucoin
    Nails Priti NYC
    Hair Kerastase

    Give Me A Spoon, Exhibition at Atta Gallery

    This Fantastic exhibition at Atta has been extended until  Sat 15th Nov! 

    The jewellery gallery in Bangkok is currently home to a collection of amazing wearable objects, all developed from the idea of a simple spoon.

    The artists featured all have their own unique approach to this humble utensil, demonstrating various techniques and a utilising a variety of materials.

     Albert Setyawan, ceramic wearable "spoons"

    Albert Setyawan, ceramic wearable "spoons"

     Ho Koo's side scoop spoon and precious  "grains"

    Ho Koo's side scoop spoon and precious  "grains"

      Poly Nikolopoulou  unusual, textured spoons

    Poly Nikolopoulou unusual, textured spoons

     Simon Cottrell's spoon  Silver +10% Zinc alloy, Monel, Recycled woven nylon cord.    You can see Cottrell's work at Schmuck Munich, where he has been selected to show next year!

    Simon Cottrell's spoon Silver +10% Zinc alloy, Monel, Recycled woven nylon cord.

    You can see Cottrell's work at Schmuck Munich, where he has been selected to show next year!

     

    I am a lover of spoons, using them to mix and make my work which themselves become records of the colours and textures that I use.

     One of my Hewn rings and a spoon from my studio.

    One of my Hewn rings and a spoon from my studio.

    The idea is to challenge artists to create something that they do not normally create and exercise their creativity by translating their practice into a new kind of work. Most importantly, it is for the artists to have fun!" - Vipoo Srivilasa, Curator (you can view the website here)

     

    For this exhibition it was a chance to take an everyday object and explore it's shape, symbolic meanings or function with the individual artists creating their own interpretation of a spoon. The simple brief allows exploration of ideas and materials leading to a fabulous array of textures and shapes and making a familiar object into a wearable, thoughtful piece of art.

     Yiumsiri Vantanapindu

    Yiumsiri Vantanapindu

    Whether a usable object or decorative, spoons have many meanings. Love spoons were a folk tradition, made by young men and given as a token of their affection to a woman they admired. The wooden carvings were a chance for them to show their skill, taking time and patience. The complicated shapes and symbols  communicated how deeply they admired their loved one. If a girl accepted a spoon form a suitor she might then wear it or tie it to her clothing to show that she was taken, in a similar way to an engagement ring. Even more of a reason for them being the perfect focus for a jewellery gallery!

    For practical purposes wearable spoons make sense. In a nomadic lifestyle you would carry the objects that you used daily. They were useful, and therefore precious and important. 

     Spoons in my studio

    Spoons in my studio

    Easily overlooked, the spoon is simple & reliable, perfectly formed for it's purpose and a daily necessity. I am happy to celebrate this essential tool (and I couldn't polish off my dessert without it!).

    Hooray for the beautiful, useful spoon!

    You can see plenty more pictures from the exhibition here on the Atta Facebook page.

     

     

     

    Love Struck!

    Just a few days left to see the amazing work of Bernhard Schobinger at Manchester Art Gallery!


     Pearls and saw blades, brought together in a Schobinger ring at Manchester Art Gallery.

    Pearls and saw blades, brought together in a Schobinger ring at Manchester Art Gallery.


    The exhibition "Rings of Saturn" curated by Jo Bloxham and Gallery SO finishes on Sunday. Details can be found  HERE. Bernhard Schobinger combines exquisite skills and precious materials with unconventional objects collected for their importance to him in his jewellery work.

     
     Bernhard Schobinger rings in Manchester Art Gallery

    Bernhard Schobinger rings in Manchester Art Gallery

     

    I find something that sets the artist apart from a more conventional maker is never being able to switch off from your desire to create, seeing "jewellery potential" in objects encountered in all the days of your life. The amazing objects Bernhard Schobinger has gathered mean that so many of his pieces have a story of how that first morsel of inspiration was discovered. Here is a closer look at the fabulous "Lightening Rod Chain" necklace which is in the exhibition.

         Bernhard Schobinger, Blitzableiterkette, 1990, necklace, copper, gold fire gilding, patina, rose quartz spheres, gold, stainless steel, photo: Gallery S O

     

    Bernhard Schobinger, Blitzableiterkette, 1990, necklace, copper, gold fire gilding, patina, rose quartz spheres, gold, stainless steel, photo: Gallery S O


     ZAP! A decorative lightening rod finial in an electrified shape!

    ZAP! A decorative lightening rod finial in an electrified shape!

    "An old lightning rod is partially a device to ward off evil, pointing back into a mythical, animistic world." Bernhard Schobinger



     Lightening rod components like Bernhard Schobinger collected from a roof for his jewellery.

    Lightening rod components like Bernhard Schobinger collected from a roof for his jewellery.

    It seems like Bernhard is fearless in his quest for collecting objects. The lightning conducter components for his necklace he actually rescued from the roof of a building about to be torn down. You could consider them jewels worn by the building itself. Although they had a practical purpose being made from a material with properties that would assist with the safety of a building if it should happen to be struck, the rods and finials are also beautiful objects, made by skilled craftsmen so that many are collected and highly valued.

      ASSEMBLED COLLECTION OF LIGHTNING ROD FINIALS, CA 1860-1920: Courtesy of Jeff Bridgeman

    ASSEMBLED COLLECTION OF LIGHTNING ROD FINIALS, CA 1860-1920: Courtesy of Jeff Bridgeman

    This necklace reminded me of something I learned about kerauni or "Thunder Stones". In studying early cultures an aspect I have enjoyed learning about was the history of the discovery of their objects in relation to our own knowledge and how our it has changed as we studied and learned more. Stone age arrow and axe heads were mysteries for a long time. Before we had any idea of the existence of Lithic culture, when these unusually shaped objects made from rocks were dug up by farmers they knew they had obviously been around for a very long time but without a notion of early cultures we created our own explanation for them. With a defined shape, as if crafted by a skilled hand but emerging from under the earth,  we knew they were special but we didn't know why. This is why they were often interpreted as "Thunder Stones". the explanation for their existence was that they fell from the sky, created in terrific storms. With no understanding of science, it was mythology and superstition that reassured us lightening wouldn't strike twice. This made these prized objects, and we now believe they were placed on the roofs of homes to protect them from being struck in a thunderstorm (our understanding of these stone age finds only changed much later after travelers could see these kinds of tools being used by distant tribes still utilising this technology from our pre-history).

     

     "Thunderstones" Pre-historic axe-heads and arrowheads, once thought to be  fossilised thunderbolts!

    "Thunderstones" Pre-historic axe-heads and arrowheads, once thought to be  fossilised thunderbolts!

     

    I love this idea of knowing an object is special but not knowing it's original purpose, and cherishing it as a precious thing. It is what a lot of jewellery is about, wearing these about your person to protect, decorate and dream about.

    There were many other beliefs all over the world and throughout history about these objects. If I believed in reincarnation I may well have requested some time spent as a Thunder Stone in Scandinavia. These were worshipped as sacred objects or Gods and lavished with offerings,  being poured over with beer and  annointed with butter (sounds a bit like an 18-30s).

    Although these may seem unusual some to be used in a piece of jewellery, by interpreting these ancient Thunder Stones or using real lightening rods would make sense as the best gift from a partner to show a union between them. If lightening doesn't strike the same place twice, if given to the wearer it would  protect them from being love struck by someone else...

    Bernhard Schobinger Rings of Saturn finishes this Sunday! Visit this exhibition on this fantastic jewellery artist while you can and prepare to be amazed by jewels which are not always what they seem.  We are very lucky to have this work in Manchester!!!

     

    Here's a little more about Thunder Stones on Manchester Museum's Blog.

     

    "What Is Jewellery?" Exhibition Piece No.3 Nebula Knuckleduster

    Jewellery is...LOOKING BEYOND

    The third ring from the exhibition "What is Jewellery?"  celebrates the stargazers, dreamers and out-there thinkers. Jewellery is not an essential item, it is a means to express ideas, to challenge preconceptions and to go further than a practical object may do.

      Nebula Ring 2011, As featured on Vogue China Oxidised silver, resin and metal dust by jewellery artist Jade Mellor.

    Nebula Ring 2011, As featured on Vogue China
    Oxidised silver, resin and metal dust by jewellery artist Jade Mellor.


      This piece is available to buy directly from my    STUDIO SHOP  along with other pieces including more from this exhibition.

    This piece is available to buy directly from my STUDIO SHOP along with other pieces including more from this exhibition.

    This ring fits over three fingers, binding them together comfortably, but noticably so that it you are aware always when you are wearing it and it cannot be missed by others. It makes you feel powerful, charged with the energy of the cosmos, weightier than some of my other resin pieces due to the metal dust contained within which gleams through the surface giving an uncanny appearance. 

     

     

     


     

    This is a prize jewel for a space warrior, protection to travel to new planets fearlessly and push the boundaries when escaping the mundane and constraints of local convention.

     


    Here is some more on the origins of this piece:

    "I am fascinated by meteorites, the properties these alien rocks have, often more than meets the eye. They fall from the skies as a gift from other worlds. The exhibition "Jewels from space" at the American Museum of Natural History in New York was a huge influence on me. The Cape York meteorite housed there is the biggest and heaviest ever moved by man with a weight so great special supports were built into the bedrock of the building. Seeing such a monumental object that had arrived from so far away made me want to create something otherworldly that would have an impact when worn. In exploring resin I find I can create larger scale objects, light enough to wear which at once look familiar and perplexing."

    Nebula Ring 2011, As featured on Vogue China
    Oxidised silver, resin and metal dust by jewellery artist Jade Mellor.

    This piece is available to buy directly from my STUDIO SHOP along with other pieces including more from this exhibition.

     


    "What Is Jewellery?" Exhibition Piece No.2 Sweet Ruin Ring

    Jewellery Is...JOY

    The exhibition this ring is in is about answering the question "What Is Jewellery" by using unorthodox materials. With this piece I have included a marble, a lovely object to enjoy but not considered precious, or a usual material for jewellery as it is, although it is delicate and made of glass. By working in resin I also get to explore colour in my work. This sweet pink shade brings many comments on how tasty it looks, "nougat" being a word often heard from people seeing some of these pieces for the first time. 

      Sweet Ruin  Ring, 2014 silver, resin, glass marble, granite, Jade Mellor.  Read about this ring and the Modern Ruin series in the shop   HERE

    Sweet Ruin Ring, 2014 silver, resin, glass marble, granite, Jade Mellor. Read about this ring and the Modern Ruin series in the shop HERE

     Chanel Jelly Shoes! 

    Chanel Jelly Shoes! 

     Playing marbles. The milky white one above was used in the Sweet Ruin Ring!

    Playing marbles. The milky white one above was used in the Sweet Ruin Ring!

     One of my studio snacks, sweet dried papaya! I love the bizarre chewy, squidgy crystalline texture and it gives me a sugar buzz!

    One of my studio snacks, sweet dried papaya! I love the bizarre chewy, squidgy crystalline texture and it gives me a sugar buzz!

    Here's a wonderful comment from a visitor to our annual open studios last month on seeing my work for the first time:

    They’re playful, not stuffy. They cheer me up.
    — Michael Flood 2014

    This ring is about enjoying life and celebrating and sharing the things you love! By wearing jewellery you are offering it to the world. You are communicating, you nearly always HAVE to touch it, it invites you to interact, it is playful. It is sharing a bag of sweets. It is saying to the lady on the bus, "I like your hat..." it is smiling at a funny looking sausage dog on the street. That extra effort of dressing up, to take pleasure in life and decorating the world around you, taking the time to finish off an outfit, making a statement of who you are or what you like. 

    My mother was very chic and she used to say you could have a single dress but with different accessories you could have 27 different outfits.
    — "Rare Bird of Fashion" The Irreverent Iris Apfel.

    Even the plainest outfit is transformed with an interesting piece of jewellery, or that exquisite piece could also be the cherry on a delicious, fruity, multicoloured, hot fudge, nutty ice cream sundae of an ensemble.

     Iris Apfel The "Rare Bird of Fashion".

    Iris Apfel The "Rare Bird of Fashion".

    So now let's spread the jewellery rainbow! If you don't do it already, or if you have gotten out of the habit (I know my studio scruffs don't always lend themselves to "accessorising" beyond safety glasses) then let's take that extra two minutes to put on something extra, not for habit or practical reasons, but just for the sheer pleasure of choosing something you like. And if you are already a strong card carrying member of the accessories club, how about acknowledging someone else you see who has worn something just for the joy of it. 

    The "Sweet Ruin Ring" is currently in the exhibition "What Is Jewellery?" at Manchester Craft and Design Centre, curated by Eve Redmond. Details HERE.

    "What Is Jewellery?" Exhibition Piece No.1 Gold Cubed Ring

     

    Jewellery is... DESIRE

     Gold Cubed Ring, metal, resin, metal dust, Jade Mellor 2014

    Gold Cubed Ring, metal, resin, metal dust, Jade Mellor 2014

     Box of pyrite specimens: A cube of cubes...

    Box of pyrite specimens: A cube of cubes...

    In the exhibition What Is Jewellery?" curated by Eve Redmond the purpose was to show unorthodox materials being used by artists today. This ring is made from resin, very different to jewellery traditionally created from precious metal. The piece is also inspired by another material which I use a lot in my work which is Pyrite...


    "Pyrite is one of my favourite minerals, the cubic formation has always fascinated me, it looks manufactured with it's crisp metallic edges but builds naturally in this way because of it's unique structure. I love learning about the formation of our environment, triggered by unusual finds like this and researching in Manchester Museum's amazing stores of specimens. This ring is my homage to the beautiful mineral. If Fool's Gold is called so because it appears like gold, this must be (Fool's) Gold Cubed." (my description for this piece)


    So with this first ring I want to explore the aspect of jewellery meaning DESIRE: To want something for how it looks, the glint of metallic catching your eye with the magpie's instinct to swoop in and fly off with these shiny treasures. 

    This ring was inspired by pyrite. The sparkling mineral nicknamed "Fool's Gold" could be all about it's appearance for those who would be tricked into thinking it was the real thing. 


     
     Five "Fool's Gold" Rings of mine,  all using real specimens of the mineral pyrite available now at Craft & Culture  HERE

    Five "Fool's Gold" Rings of mine,  all using real specimens of the mineral pyrite available now at Craft & Culture HERE

     


    I am attracted to pyrite for how it looks*, it's natural facets twinkling and the smoothed areas gleaming make it a good choice for jewellery, as who doesn't want to wear something that lights up the room in such a way? However the benefits of using this mineral instead of expensive real gold is that I can manipulate it more and I am not afraid to experiment without knowing what the final outcome may be. Gold is a wonderful material to use, but it's preciousness makes it a material you plan for, savouring it, using just enough to make what you intend. Pyrite is much more available to me, this means the exciting part comes from how I can push it. I can smash it, I can grind it, I can use the BIGGEST GOLDEN CHUNKS of it for maximum impact. And when it is worn in this way, it is not showing off value and wealth in the way that a giant 24ct medallion might. It's golden glow is great, but after the wow of the initial impact, there's the head tilt and the chirrup of the curious sparrow. What IS it? How did that come to be? To realise these angular nuggets or magnificent cubes have formed in that shape by themselves as a wonder of nature, that is the thing that continues to excite me, the thing that I love, as well as desire which will never lose it's lustre. 

    For some excellent insights into materials and exploring their values vs appearances and how they are being used in contemporary art jewellery today check out the latest CURRENT OBSESSION: FAKE  ISSUE. These guys are the cutting edge of what's happening right now...

     

     

    The following posts will look at the other rings in the exhibition. It's been good for me to take the time to think about why use certain materials in my work. Be great to hear what you choose to make your work with! Sometimes having limits can even be the best way to be inventive...

     

     

    *(call me a fool, but an honest fool)