Sunday, 31 December 2017

On the 5th day of Christmas...

... this blogger gave to thee...

... five gold rings...
... four living hinges...
... three books for reading...
... two felted tooties...
... and a day Binging with Babish.

This year, we’re going with the traditional five golds rings, but we’re using the term ring loosely. Rings, necklaces and bracelets are all easily identifiable as rings, they don’t have to be circular, they can be as angular as you like, but they fit over a finger, a wrist or around the neck, so for a post about five gold rings, they’re easily included. Brooches pass through fabric and lock to create a loop, so in my head, they count as rings, so they’re in. Earrings however, they pass through the body, but don’t need to necessarily lock, they’re not always hoops and sometimes they hang free enough to fall out… but they have the benefit of having ring in their name, so the whole jewellery box gets included and my life whilst picking for this post should get easier.

This post is never easy. There are two ways to easily look for images of gold jewellery, one is through Google and the other is through Pinterest, but if you search for gold rings on either platform the results are not that inspiring. I follow people on Pinterest, this helps, I follow people who like jewellery, people who are jewellers, but the algorithm’s look for gold rings, which you get, but they’re wedding rings and engagement rings. Rings – and I don’t want to sound snobbish – that you will find in any high street chain jewellers. These can be beautiful, don't get me wrong, but I’m spoiled when it comes to jewellery, I’ve read too many books, seen too many other artists work, but I like what I suppose you’d term art jewellery. 

In other words, I still think as a jeweller sometimes and I like looking at others jewellers work. Which this post is supposed to celebrate, and this year we’re celebrating rings, brooches, bracelets and necklaces – oh my. Maybe next year I’ll challenge myself to only finding mass produced jewellery, if I’m feeling brave. OR just rename this particular day as five gold things... that would certainly open things up.

But for this year at least, we're sticking with jewellery...

Priceless Bangle, 2004 (detail) by Christel Van Der Laan
(Gold plated sterling silver, polypropylene swing tags)

I freaking love this. I have loved this for years now because it's not only beautiful, but it's simple and makes a throw away item incredibly elegant. Christel Van Der Laan's Priceless Bangle is made of a gold plated silver bangle threaded with hundreds of plastic swing tags that time after time we snap, cut and most often fail to effectively remove from new clothes. They're irritants that we throw in the bin and instantly forget about, and if you didn't know what this was made from, I think you'd be hard pressed to guess.

This just makes me happy. It's completely and utterly impracticable, but I like that it's sculptural. I would have this on my shelf just to look at. 
Bow Sweater Holder (Fabricated Memory: Jewelry Box, 1980) by Amy Tavern  
Sterling, 18K Vermeil

Amy Tavern is a jeweller whose blog I have been following for a very long time and watching her designs evolve through different projects. One thing that tends to go throughout each of her projects is her "bows", which I've always through looks like sycamore seedlings or moths. In this particular brooch the design is harking back to mid-twentieth century sweater/jumper clips, which allowed ladies to keep cardigans securely on their shoulders whether they were wearing it properly or simply had it loose over their shoulders. They've made made somewhat of a resurgence as shirt collar clips in more recent years and it's an interesting historical concept for a jeweller to revisit, as it allows you to incorporate both a brooch and a necklace into one design. Something Tavern has done rather beautifully here.

Something to look at, along with Chatelaines, which as a brooch, charm and ladies Swiss army knife combo has always intrigued me.

Blue Ombre Coral Ring, 2017 by Aineguil Telli
(Silver, brass, resin, pigments, glass)

Now, just as I've sat back down from making coffee to write this, my head has immediately started screaming: under the sea, under the sea, darling it's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me. What have they got a lot of sand, we've got a hot crustacean band... my brain is apparently trying to make me watch The Little Mermaid again, which is fine

Looking at Aineguil Telli's very tactile work is what's set that off, her Undersurface Collection is inspired by the creatures of the ocean, specifically coral. Cast in silver and brass, Telli's rings, brooches, neckpieces and earrings are encrusted with coloured resin which has been embedded with tiny glass beads to evoke the colour, form and texture of coral. This makes them sparkle in the light as if covered in tiny bubbles as if still under the water. Plus, in this particular ring there is that stunning combination of gold and vivid ultramarine blue, which is always a winner.

Oak Leaf Posy Ring, 2012 by Laura Baxter
(Silver, 18ct Gold, Brass)

Laura Baxter works on a tiny scale. Tiny flowers, tiny leaves, tiny seeds, tiny clouds and tiny birds in the limited pallet of gold, silver and black oxidised silver, which she makes into charms, sprays and simplified little vignettes. It's no small feat working on such a small scale in metal and finishing a piece neatly. The smaller the piece you're working on is, the harder it is to hold and the easier it is to damage. It makes it harder to file, sand and smooth edges effectively so takes times and patience, but Baxter has that down pat. Her designs are simple, but there's a lot of work there and I really appreciate that. 

Long Rose Bud Cluster Necklace by Donna Barry
(Rose gold, freshwater pearl and sterling silver - matt finish)

Before I started jewellery, after my first year of uni was finished, we were told by our soon to be tutor that we should try to go to a jewellery show. The only one I could get to,o which didn't involve going to London... which ironically now I'm think about it I was in at the beginning of that summer holiday with the university... was Dazzle, in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival. This was the first time I'd been to any jewellery specific exhibition and having been hooked as soon as I was introduced to the department, I was almost giddy looking around. I guess at that point in time I was excited about the future in the field, and from that show I was introduced to designers that I still like to this day, and Donna Barry was one of them. 

There is something about jewellery which is made up of clusters of different stones, metal components or granulation's that I just find really attractive. They're natural, even when the 'flowers', like Barry and Baxter's are actually very simplistic, or angular like Amy Tavern's, they have an organic and tactile appeal in not only their appearance, but how they move and articulate differently to links and chain alone.

It's something I always feel I failed at in jewellery. I made chess sets, there's nothing more static and less organic looking than that, but it's something I always wanted to be able to achieve. Organic jewellery, without it being instantly recognisable as pretty flowers and leaves. So I applaud anyone who achieves it!

And, seeing this post is now two days late and has stopped me posting the 6th day on time, I need to explain… I hate Photoshop. I also don’t like myself much having not saved my images to file as I went along, and then had to watch as an error message appeared and it crashed out on me. Twice. Once the night it should have been posted and once yesterday evening as I have been re-editing everything. You'd think I'd have learnt, but as this is the third time I'm editing pictures for this post, I may genuinely have a cry and sack it in and go to bed. The ancient edition of Photoshop 7.0 I use, you may have gathered by now, doesn’t auto save. Photoshop is the reason this is late.

Photoshop will now have a short sharp shock as 2018 will be the year I try out Krita, an alternative digital painting program.

Thankfully day six is all finished, saved and just needs uploaded, so perhaps I’ll get back on track for day seven!

Merry Christmas! Part six today/tomorrow…

Link || Amy Tavern
Link || Aineguil Telli
Link || Laura Baxter
Link || Donna Barry
Link || Long Rose Bud Cluster Necklace by Donna Barry via The Biscuit Factory

Listening: Here Comes Santa Claus (as Bon Iver) - Adam Horne

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails