3D Innovation – Designer/ Maker
Having specialised in 3-dimensional design during my degree I am using the MA programme as a transitional exploration of jewellery and object. Coming from a different discipline has allowed me to interpret jewellery design from a completely new perspective. My research area focuses on how recycled materials can be applied to jewellery design. My aim is to challenge or change peoples’ perceptions of rubbish by using the alchemic processes of craft to add ‘value’. For my Major Project I have produced a collection of conceptual jewellery that has been visually inspired by Elizabethan ruffs. The strong, geometric forms and explicit methods of construction also allow the pieces to be viewed off the body as sculptures in their own right – giving a dual purpose or function.
By choosing to use recycled instead of traditional materials, such as precious metals, I hope that my work will have a greater relevance to today’s contemporary culture and the ensuing debates surrounding the ‘throwaway’ society that we live in. The very idea of using rubbish and base metals to produce jewellery, which is traditionally viewed as a high status symbol, is a paradox in its self. Historically, jewellery is given as a keepsake to treasure. In using ‘rubbish’ and items that have been discarded or rejected creates a juxtaposition of ideas and values which I find fascinating. Jewellery is a high value product that demands kudos. Conversely rubbish and ‘second hand’ objects are perceived as having a zero or negative value and are tainted with a social stigma or prejudice. The conceptual pieces that I have produced are made from a selection of both everyday ‘rubbish’ collected from bins and ‘junk’ that have been donated by friends and family. By dividing my materials into two categories, ‘rubbish’ and ‘donated junk’, I hope to discover if peoples’ opinions or perceptions of value are affected by the very fabric of the material used.
During the course of my project I have become increasingly interested in the narratives and memories associated with inanimate objects, sentimental attachment and how these can affect our perceptions of value or material worth. In order to better understand these themes and discourses I undertook a visual arts commission in the SO Arts Festival, Skegness. Members of the public were invited to share their personal stories about the objects they most value in their lives and why. These thoughts and ideas were recorded onto fabric that was then displayed and became part of an interactive installation. I am using some of the information gathered to help inform my practice in the future.