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).
As part of a college project I’ve been exploring letter forms with a view to using these repeated shapes to make an articulated chain. Here are a couple of the more interesting results from my experiements. First up is the upper case letter M cut from rigid plastic and with some of the negative shapes included which has then been melted using a heat gun. It produced some quite interesting results, but the one pictured above is my favourite. Not sure I’d ever have a hope of recreating this though so it’s of limited use for the project.
I also cut several upper case Ms from a flexible foam sheet then skewered by their legs them onto some dowel (ooo…sounds painful!). The photo below shows one version of the arrangement….
I’ve been upcycling! I found some lovely vintage silver charms in an antiques market and was keen to give them a new lease of life so combined them with semi-precious stones, Swarovski pearls and crystal beads to create a range of necklaces and bracelets. The theme of the collection is Hidden Treasures and is inspired by the interesting knick knacks that you might find whilst rummaging around your granny’s old jewellery box.
The necklaces come on a sterling silver diamond cut trace chain and the bracelets are handcrafted from silver wire which I shaped, soldered and hammered to give it a delicate texture which catches the light. As the charms are individually sourced, each piece in the collection is a genuinely unique so you won’t find anyone else wearing one. I think my favourites are the donkey charm bracelet (above) and the ballerina necklace (below).
The full collection is available to buy from my website www.elinhorgan.com
The silver leaves necklace (above) is something I made a while back, but hadn’t got round to posting about. I chanced upon the effect whilst trying different materials in the rolling mill to see what patterns they made on pieces of annealed gilding metal.
The ripples are made by embossing quite thin silver sheet (about 0.8mm) with corduroy and the leaves make a fabulous jangling sound when you wear it which I love! I’ve also made earrings in a similar style (see below) and would like to devleop a whole colletion based on this idea – using various sized ‘leaves’ in different materials/finishes.
The Holburne Museum is an oasis of calm less than a 10 minute walk from the hustle and bustle of central Bath, but a world away from the pavements teeming tourists that you find in the rest of the city. Once you’ve navigated your way around the wheely suitcases you’ll find this former hotel set in gloriously serene surroundings at the end of Great Pulteney Street. Its new modern glass extension is one of those things that shouldn’t work, but really does. It provides both exhibition space and a lovely café filled with mid century furniture which looks out over the garden.
The museum is based around the collection of Thomas William Holburne who inherited some of the items, but added many more of his own including old masters, silverware, minatures and porcelain. He was particularly keen on small, finely made objects and the eclectic mix makes it all the more interesting. For me the highlights of the collection were Cornelis De Bryer’s ‘Still Life with Fruit and Shellfish’, Guardi’s ‘Coast Scene’ and a fabulous array of Maiolica decorated with scenes from Greek mythology, particularly the large dish depicting the story of Diana and Actaeon. I’m also a sucker for a tasty bit of silverware and I loved this fluted sugar bowl & saucer with matching slop basin (below)
The small temporary exhibition Presence: the Art of Portrait Sculpture takes Henry Moore’s plea for the ‘… removal of the Greek spectacles from the eyes of the modern sculptor’ as its starting point. A waxwork of Moore greets you at the entrance to the exhibition (I embarrassingly thought it was a frosty, but real, person) and the rest of the show addresses the tension between realistic and abstract portrait sculpture. Ron Mueck’s hyper realistic ‘Self Portrait Mask II’ stopped me dead in my tracks. At once strange, serene and really quite disturbing, it is so incredibly lifelike that you can see every pore, wrinkle and hair follicle. See more of his sculptures here
The design for this bracelet started out when I was thinking about whether it was possible to make a moebius strip out of a very thin piece of silver sheet. I’m still not sure if it is as I suspect the metal might break as you twisted it, but anyway I got waylaid by this idea in the meantime.
It’s a single strip of silver which was been passed through the rolling mill then wrapped around itself twice and held in place with a couple of rivets. Putting the rivets in was a two (wo)man job as it seemed to be impossible to hold the end down and secure it without it springing up and taking your eye out. I really like the result as it’s super simple, but quite unusual and not too girly (so perfect for me). It also makes me feel like I’m starring in a wobbly 70s sci-fi series a la Blake’s 7. Result!
There’s a real treat of a show on at Bristol’s Royal West of England Academy at the moment. Its new exhibition, curated by Coates & Scarry, brings together work from artists across the world on a theme of Unnatural-Natural History ”…a place in which genetic mutations and environmental pressure have altered the natural course of evolution”, according to the accompanying info.
There are some really interesting pieces on show. As you enter the main gallery you’re greeted by Kate MccGwire’s feathered sculptures which are at once incredibly beautiful and strangely repellent. And that feeling of unease continues throughout the rest of the show. Christian Rex van Minnen’s ‘Unstill Life’ (above) is reminiscent of a Dutch master, but on closer inspection you see strange shapes (body parts?!) oozing gooey droplets and Marco Mazzoni’s amazing coloured pencil portraits have flowers sprouting from the eye sockets.
I also really liked Jessica Joslin’s charming bird sculptures made from animal skulls and brass hardware (light fittings I think). The exhibition runs until 23 September - I may go back for a second look if I can stomach it!
The week long Constructed exhibition at City of Bath College showcases work from art, media and design students studying at the college. There’s a real mix of stuff on display – everything from stunning jewellery and stained glass to product design and photography.
One item that caught my eye was this amazing fabric neck piece (above). The colours are much more vibrant than in the photograph and it looked so tactile that I had to resist the urge to run my fingers over it. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any information on who had made it or the project that it had been produced for which was a shame. Still, it’s a beauty!