So, I FINALLY got myself down to the Tate Modern last week to see the Matisse exhibition. It was pretty busy even at 10 in the morning, but what a great opportunity to see the work he produced in the latter part of his life. I’d seen a few pieces here and there, but this exhibition brings together over 100 works, each one bursting with colour and movement.
The scale of some of the later works in particular is incredible (The Parakeet and The Mermaid, above, is 7 or 8 meters across). He called this period his ‘second life’ and it was impossible to walk around without feeling the energy radiating from walls covered with brightly coloured leaves and flowers. The footage of him at work ‘painting with scissors’ was fascinating and demonstrated the dexterity and skill that went in to producing each picture.
Well, it was worth the wait – truly life affirming!
Here’s a necklace I started a while ago and have only recently got round to finishing..
Each individual shape is a letter ‘r’ which was cut from clear silicone sheet and then folded over on itself. The pieces are fastened to themselves and each other with loops of coloured copper wire and a tiny metal washer on each side to stop the silicone from tearing (see detailed photo below). The original version used much larger pieces, but the weight of the whole necklace made the silicone droop – not a good look. So, I remade it with more, but smaller components.
There’s no need for a fastening as it easily stretches over your head to get it on and of course it’s totally waterproof. It’s not a material that I’ve used before, but it’s surprisingly durable. Could this be the ultimate beach/poolside necklace?!
I’ve been playing around with some new photographs for my Geometrics collection with the help of my very kind friend Anita who agreed to model for me.
Many pieces in the collection interlock and the separate elements move freely when they are worn which is surprisingly hard to convey in a picture! We went for simple styling with a plain blue sweater to keep the focus on the jewellery.
I also recently added a few new pieces to the collection, including some double shape necklaces like the semi circle one below. These will be up on my website in the next month or so and are available through a number of my stockists including the lovely Made In Britain and Cambridge Contemporary Crafts.
I’m a big fan of understated jewellery and you can’t get much more understated than this simple silver ring I made recently. It’s just two pieces of 2cm square silver wire – one straight and one curved – which have been soldered across the two joins at the top.
I found I needed to twist it to get it on over my knuckles, but I like the fact you can wear it with either the straight or the curved side showing. I also think that a few stacked on one finger would look great.
It has already become one of my favourite pieces as it goes with absolutely everything. If I can work out how to make a few standard ring sizes then I may add it to my Geometrics collection….watch this space!
Another experiment, this time with nickel sheet, to make the two forms in the top photo. The initial inspiration was line drawings of tools and utensils and this lovely shape came from the close up of a handle of tin opener. These pieces will be mounted on square silver wire structures to two make rings – huge rings admittedly, but I like jewellery that makes a statement!
It’s funny how you start to see the connections with other things after the event. Directly above (and on its side) is a photo that I took years ago of the Guggenheim in Bilbao. The picture sits on my living room shelves and I stare at it every day, but somehow it seems to echo the look and feel of the nickel pieces. Or maybe it’s the other way around….?!
This is my first experiment with resin and although it wasn’t completely successful I do like the finished effect. I’m not sure how wearable it is as it’s quite heavy so ideally I’d like to re-do it with thinner wedges. I embedded a colour photocopy of a collage I’d made between two layers of resin and then cut and sanded the pieces. I deliberately left the finish quite rough as I liked the fact that you couldn’t clearly see the image underneath. Unfortunately, for some reason, the two layers didn’t stick to each other properly and so had to be glued and clamped together – eek!
The wedge shapes are drilled through at the top and threaded onto titanium wire with silver tube spacers between them. I decided not to use silver for the whole necklet as it’s too soft to hold the shape, so titanium was ideal as it’s light and strong. The necklace fastens by pushing the end of the wire into another piece of silver tube that’s been superglued in place.
This is a piece that I’ve been working on for a while and finally finished this week – hurrah! I took my inspiration from some black and white cut outs that I made, based on leaf forms, although the end result is pretty far removed from this. The cuff itself is made from a double layer of gilding metal – the front part was oxidised and the back part silvered and then the two pieces were riveted together. I decided to make the rivets part of the design by making pins that would give the piece some additional texture whilst also holding it together.
The holes were made by embossing the metal with paper that had been hole punched and then piercing out random sections. I brushed back the oxide layer slightly so that some of the lovely warm coppery colour of the gilding metal shows through. It’s quite tough – I’m thinking a biker jacket, knuckledusters and a Hell’s Angel boyfriend are the ideal accessories for this one.
And now for something completely different….
I’ve gone beading mad this week as I decided that a nice new statement necklace would help me beat those winter blues. Luckily my nearest bead shop Bamba Beads is but a five minute stroll away so I’m usually able to get my fix pretty quickly. I chose a selection of glass and brass beads and strung them onto some plated curb chain, finishing it off with black grossgrain ribbon et voila…..see above.
It’s quite heavy to wear, but it makes a very pleasing jangling noise when I walk and it’s definitely brightened up a dull February!
If you’re interested in contemporary jewellery design, there’s an excellent show on at the Design Museum at the moment – running until 3 March. Unexpected Pleasures draws together a diverse selection of work from designers across the world under several key themes. Pieces are then cleverly grouped together under headings such as ‘Logical Solutions’ (looking at the use of repeated components) and ‘Finish Me Off’ (focusing on technical processes) which ensures that the huge number of works on show doesn’t overwhelm visitors.
It’s hard to pick out favourites as one of the strengths of the show is that the exhibits work so coherently together, but for me there were two pieces that stood out – both from the ‘Worn Out’ theme which explored the relationship between object and wearer. Susanne Kelmm’s ‘Frozen’ (see above), made from heated and distored plastic reminded me of Calla lilies (also see my own very inelegant experiments melting rigid plastic from my previous post!) and I was also drawn to the elegant simplicity of Paul Derrez’s pleated plastic collar (see below).