Last weekend I traveled up to London to attend the V&A’s Mid-Century Modern study day, focusing on design from the 50s and 60s. The morning session was led by Dominic Bradbury who has written a definitive guide to the period, Mid-Century Modern Complete, published by Thames & Hudson. It’s a beautiful book and I was tempted to treat myself, but it’s so vast that I’d have had to book it its own seat on the train home. For now I’ll have to satisfy myself to adding it to my Christmas wish list (a bit early I know!).
Dominic introduced the period and looked at houses and interiors, furniture and lighting. He showed us slides of some seriously swoon-worthy properties which still look incredibly contemporary given that many of them were built 60 odd years ago.
The V&As own specialist curators then took us through textiles, ceramics and product design. My own personal highlight was the textiles section, led by Sue Prichard, which focused specifically on British designers and manufacturers. It was fascinating to see how post-war austerity had influenced the designs, limiting the colour palette and size of the pattern repeats and also how artists such as Henry Moore (see pic below), Barbara Hepworth, John Piper (see pic above) and Graham Sutherland had collaborated with fabric producers on their ranges.
All in all it was fantastic stuff, but there was so much to take in each section could almost have warranted a day on its own. I left feeling very inspired and determined to look into areas of particular interest in more detail, particularly the fabrics from the period.
I’ve been eagerly anticipating this exhibition at The Whitechapel since it was announced last Autumn and I wasn’t disappointed. It was worth the wait.
Tracing the history of geometric abstraction from Malevich to the present day, the show encompasses artists from across the globe to show how ideas developed in different countries. It was refreshing to see both work from places other than Russia/Western Europe/North America and a healthy dose of female artists included for once.
Some of my personal highlights were Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s simple and serene tapestry (see above) and Bela Kolarova’s Swatch of Snap Fasteners. Living in Eastern Europe during the height of Communism, Kolarova used everyday found objects (her other piece on display featured make up swatches) to create striking geometric patterns. Of the more contemporary works, I loved the vibrant colours of Peter Halley’s Auto Zone (below) - I guess the organisers of the show did too as they used it for the front of the exhibition guide – and Jenny Holzer’s witty TOP SECRET 32.
It’s great going to a show that really inspires you and sets you thinking about future jewellery projects. I spent most of the train journey home furiously scribbling down ideas although I’m not sure how much sense they’ll make when I go back and look at the them at a later date!
To celebrate Valentine’s Day I’m giving away this limited edition Sterling silver heart necklace on a delicate 18 inch silver trace chain. It’s a beautiful minimal piece that will look great with anything and makes a great Valentines gift to yourself or someone else!
To enter simply follow me on Twitter @elinhorgan and re-tweet the competition tweet, including me in your retweets. Existing followers can join in too by re-tweeting competition tweet, again including me in your re-tweets.
The competition closes at 9pm Friday 6 February. Good luck!
Terms & conditions
- Competition closes at 9pm GMT Friday 6 February, 2015
- Winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries submitted by the closing time
- The successful entrant will be required to provide their postal address in order to receive the necklace
- The necklace will be posted out on Monday 9 February via Royal Mail First Class Signed For (within the UK) or standard delivery (worldwide)
- Anyone found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible
- Multiple entries in a single day will not be accepted
Way back in August last year I saw an open call from the Royal Academy of Arts asking designers to submit work to be considered for the 2015 round of its RAted programme. RAted was an initiative launched in 2014 aimed at showcasing UK design talent, with successful participants having their work sold in the RA’s gift shop and online store.
With hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to huge high profile exhibitions it seemed like an amazing opportunity so I completed the online form and, about a month later, heard that I’d made it through the first round. As a result I, along with about thirty others, was invited to present a selection of my work to the RA’s retail team, cue much excitement and some frantic making!
On the day itself we had an opportunity to chat to previous RAted participants which was really helpful and it was great to meet the other people who’d applied. I was nearly last in to show my work which gave me plenty of time to feel nervous, but luckily it was all quite informal so I needn’t have worried.
Fast forward a few months and I received an email saying that I’d made the cut and been chosen as part of the 2015 RAted edit. Hurray! The range officially launched last week and is available in the RA’s gallery shop and online. There’s a fantastic selection, with everything from clocks to pencil cases and four of my designs are featured, including the circle/triangle earrings pictured below. The other designers taking part include Geoff Stocker who produces beautiful digitally printed silk pocket squares and some amazing intricately decorated ceramics from Michelle Kent aka Suitcase Susie.
This set of three brooches was made in response to a project brief around the theme of ‘memento’. I used my first pair of shoes as the basis for a series of drawings, paintings, clay sculptures and plaster carvings which focused on interesting shapes and the relationship between positive and negative spaces (see the clay sculpture and plaster carving below)
The outline of the brooches follows the shape of the soles of the shoes and each one picks up on a decorative feature – shape & colour, stitching and perforations. Each brooch was made in two parts, annealing and hammering the silver to dome it and then soldering the two pieces together. The pin is a piece of stainless steel wire with silver tubing at one end to attach it to the brooch and at the other end to ‘cap’ the sharp point. The colour was added by using felt, red thread and clear adhesive stained with red paint.
I’ve been working on some new pieces in the lead up to Christmas…and making my first foray into cufflinks! They’re made from hand cut and finished silver sheet and intended to form part of my current Geometrics collection. For the time being I just have the semi circle (above) and triangle (below) designs, but I’m hoping to add to these in the coming weeks.
A couple of my stockists already have them on sale – Cambridge Contemporary Crafts and Made in Britain - and I’ll also be showing them at the forthcoming Christmas Design Temporium at Bristol’s Architecture Centre from 22 November to 23 December 2014.
What do you think?
Posted in Galleries, museums & exhibitions, Projects
Tagged Architecture Centre, Cambridge Contemporary Crafts, Christmas, cufflinks, geometric, handmade, jewellery, made in britain, New designs, silver
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!