Eclecticism and extra-large jewellery peppered the catwalks of the collections for Spring/Summer 2017.
Could this be the long-awaited backlash against minimalism and the dainty?
These two trends really appeal to a hoarder- jeweller like me. I save all sorts of objects that I know will one day become something more than their original purpose. While the designers are reaching for lighters, ropes and bike chains, I favour LEGO, toy soldiers and sea glass. Bringing unconventional items into the mix can be a great way of introducing colour to metal work, presenting interesting challenges in setting or creating special findings to show them off.
I recently discovered New Zealand contemporary jeweller Lisa Walker whose carefully-selected objects for neckpieces include children’s toys, pebbles, kitchen utensils and (in the most unwieldy case) a laptop suspended on a braided rope necklace. (As a wearer you may want to avoid going so big that you can’t leave the house – maybe stick to a Gameboy!) What’s interesting is that Walker is not averse to a more delicate piece of wire work. This contradiction left me feeling that it was the selection of the objects that was key rather than a consistent or conventional aesthetic. Items we select to keep close to us and statements made on gallery walls are not too far removed from each other.
One of my own favourite pieces is a melted LEGO police containment unit. This came from an idea that goes way back to when my brother (now a chef) put a LEGO car in the oven when we were children and it melted into a cool, wobbly but still defined, shape. (Disclaimer: not endorsing melting LEGO in your oven!) The police unit piece is threaded onto a cord from a haberdashery with simple copper wrap finding to secure. It is one of my most complemented necklaces. So it’s always worth keeping hold of broken bits and pieces or experiments for jewellery projects.
Hopefully helpful hints:
-See what you have, keep a bead box, keep your mistakes, keep objects and images that interest you or remind you of a particular trip or a time. In the past I have made paper beads by rolling up strips from a comic or the insides of envelopes and securing with pva glue (not a necklace to wear in the shower).
-Find interesting ways of connecting them, see what looks good together. At this stage I find interesting pieces of broken chain or failed experiments from other projects come in handy. Drawing ideas or making a mock up before constructing them can always help develop something more interesting and avoid mishaps with your precious treasures.
What has inspired your personal collection so far this year? Tell us what you have been making.
Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.