This work is a response to three particular artefacts in the Pitt Rivers Collection. For me they represented the enchantment of repetition. Rather than tooth or jaw, one sees detail in a repeated pattern: a temptation to look closely both at intricate individual and overall assembly. These artefacts also represent the act of collecting and display, and further are displayed within a museum founded on colonial collecting. These objects are a collection of a collection, a display of a display. Using a collection of found coins, together with a fascination for repetition, collection, collection is an investigation into what a modern wearable ‘collection’ piece might look and feel like.
The above is an extract from the ‘Distantly Relative’ exhibition which took place at The Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford in July 2014. The project involved selecting an artefact from the museum’s collection and create a ‘distant relative’ reflecting life today.
While in the research stage of the project, I was given a collection of coins which representedthe places the collector had travelled. The coins were all in obsolete currency. I decided I needed to make this collection wearable. But just as each component of the artefacts were intricate and beautiful, so were the coins. In fact, they were overpowering. I made a holder which highlighted only a section of the coin, randomly shown according to how the coin slides into the holder. I wanted the wearer to be able to choose to wear just one coin, or them all. So each individual square holder snaps onto a button or clips over a pocket, or integrates into the larger leather carrier.
Some additional information about the exhibition can be found here:
Photography Dominic Tschudin
Stroke Me is the closest I have reached in making the tactile sublime. Although still an ongoing investigation, the first wearable pieces are complete.
This articulated titanium brooch is lightweight, yet draping, undulating, strokeable. It has a personality, at times it seems alive and responsive to touch.
Two streams of investigation converge: one of theoretical research into the emotional potential of tactile objects, especially jewellery, and a second physical and technical investigation into how to create nuzzling, clinging, draping articulation at a wearable scale.
This is on the path to creating jewellery which touches back. Watch this space.
Photography on the model is by Mihalis Intzieyanni and Savvas Zinonos. Brooch on the pebble is photographed by Revekka Moustaki-Zei.
Draping, reversible, adjustable nylon collars, shown silver-plated or coloured.
Photos by Michael Lau Photography.
The result of a physical line of inquiry: was it possible to create a wearable, draping and elegant titanium mesh? The result is a reversible collar assembled with leather panels, designed to be worn numerous ways.
Photos by Michael Lau Photography.
comfort me is a series of fully articulated, shaped nylon brooches and necklaces which are designed to nuzzle into the body and also to feel engaging in the hands.
This collection is the current result of an investigation into the possibility of creating comfort through the physical experience of jewellery. This is challenging work on many different levels, and is the convergence of several important influencing factors.
The starting point was my dissertation research. I read widely, interviewed people about their experiences, experienced a handling session at the Victoria and Albert Museum. All that research, sifting and refining provided a good grounding of where to begin materially researching how I can make jewellery which touches back – aiming for tactile sublime.
I also partipated in an Across RCA project ‘Celebrating Neurodiversity’, looking specifically at autistic adults and more broadly at how we differ in our sensory perceptions. It was an intensive week which made me more aware of repetitive touch and its role in comfort. This led to a series of paper pieces which celebrated repetitive stroking, and pebbles with strokable insides, and investigations into hairy surfaces and structures.
Another important point was my RCA Work In Progress research installation (How does how it feels make you feel?)– I hung a series of pebbles from the ceiling and invited people to walk into them, to‘wear them’ across their chest and shoulders and then record in a few sentences how it felt. This was quite scary: I had never done anything like this before. But the feedback was very generous and raised issues that I would not have considered, such as the importance of nuzzling movement, and the idea of shaping the piece to the body rather than simply draping. I began taking moulds of my clavicle area and discovered how it changed depending upon mood, and began focussing on shaping to and building up from this area.
I employed a simple articulated link which could be built up to create shapes which nestle into the neck and shoulders but found that the resulting test pieces were also really engaging for the hands. Finally I saw the possibility of bringing together into one strand the two areas of the body I was particularly interested in but usually addressed separately: the hands, and the neck and shoulders. Several strands of investigation merged, resulting in pieces designed so that you can drape them onto the body, or manipulate them in the hands, choosing the type of comfort needed for the moment. Essentially, making it possible to wear your therapy, choose your comfort.
The second and ninth photographs are by Mihalis Intzieyanni and Savvas Zinonos.
Reversible titanium mesh collar with leather closure. Designed to nuzzle into your neck. Can be worn with the smooth or pointed side toward the skin.
Produced in collaboration with Renishaw.
This project is full of stories.
golden skin consists of a series of personal and potent metal punches that can be printed around the outside of the ring by the wearer. Marking the ring is a defined, deliberate act. The wearer chooses their story to tell and goes through specific, perhaps even ritualised actions, to imprint this message onto the ring. The resulting imprint is the visual trace, a reminder of the message but also the moment and act of punching the message. The wearer chooses the frequency of marking and can re-punch over existing marks, creating layers of imprints, or can choose to re-melt the ring and begin anew.
This ring and series of punches contain my stories: stories and intimate reminders I need to tell myself now and might want to tell my ‘future self’. They comprise of loved ones’ handwriting, and prints or imagery gathered from remarkable or mundane but special moments I want to carry with me.
Normally gold is from a mix of continually recycled sources. But this gold I am using is unrefined, direct from an alluvial mine, direct from the earth: it was handed to me by the person that carried it from the mine in Honduras. So the line is very direct. This mining company (Goldlake Investments Ltd) has their own refinery but it was a unique opportunity to work with unrefined gold.
Goldlake has provided this alluvial gold with the intention that it be recycled and handed on to another student to work with at the end of this project. When it is recycled, my imprints are melted with it but are enclosed, encased within this gold. And the next student to work with this gold is using gold with my life message in it. It’s the very beginning of the cycle.
I would like to thank Goldlake Investments Ltd for loaning the gold from their alluvial gold mine; the methods to extract this gold involved no use of chemicals, no net loss of biodiversity and direct support to communities around the mine.
I was asked to make a bangle for the dean who was retiring and has a love of and a reputation for bangles. She had worked at the Royal College of Art for many years, and her colleagues wanted to give her something unique and personal which served as a reminder of her time spent at the college.
The time frame was very short. I had never made a bangle before, but I had been working with maps, specifically maps of the area of London I had recently moved to in order to attend the RCA. I decided to use a traditional bangle form and cross section which looked solid from the outside, but which had a map pinpointing the location of the RCA on the inside. A light rod connects the outside to the inside.
Produced in collaboration with 3TRPD.
I believe the touch of jewellery has powerful potential to affect the wearer’s emotions, altering perception of both self and the world around. I also live a life mildly obsessed by pebbles - small, smooth, potent - they each tell a tactile story of a specific place and time.
This installation is an experiment. What is the physical experience of ‘wearing’ these pebbles across the shoulders and against the chest, and how does that experience make you feel?
The above text is an excerpt from the Work In Progress 2015 Show at the Royal College of Art. The public was invited to experience 'wearing' the pebbles, and afterwards to place their written answers to a few questions about how it felt into a jar. I was amazed at the response and found the glass jar full of some really thought-full and thought-provoking comments. Check my blog for more on this ... coming soon!
Photos with model by Dominic Tschudin.
Even when it is not possible to go home, it is comforting to know where it is. Also important is finding ways to feel more at home, when away from home. For a lover of the green countryside, being uprooted to London was difficult until I found green spaces to breathe in. London is dotted with green oases; it is just a matter of finding them. Carrying this pebble in my pocket, I have a printable map of the parks of London. On a sunny day I line up the predominant ray with the hour on the reverse ‘sundial', and I am re-oriented to find my way to a place more like home. And just in case, the bearing line points the way home.
home/here was created for the British Art Medal Society (BAMS) student medal competition 2014 and won the grand prize.
Photography courtesy British Museum
A limited series which explores the beauty of designed chance, the tactile comfort of a pebble in the hand, and the reaction of materials the moment they meet. Made of sterling silver cast directly over porcelain shells.
Photos by Michael Lau Photography.
Cascade combines the luscious weight and drape of silver mail with a cluster of small porcelain pebbles created by casting the silver directly over the ceramic, allowing the silver to draw its own lines along the edges. The piece is designed to be draping and wearable in multiple ways.
Photos with model by Michael Lau Photography.