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.