Bloomin' Jewels: Participants

Zoe Arnold creates individual works of art that are also wearable sculpture. She gives consideration to the context of each specific work and presents them as objects to be contemplated both on and off the body, installing them in specifically made landscapes for when they are not being worn. 

Plants are a recent subject of investigation; the plant silhouettes on the surface of her jewellery look like fossils trapped in the rock and are based on British weeds taken directly from the Natural History Museum’s Plant Archives. “Weeds are interesting to me because they are overlooked and underappreciated… yet they are often delicate and beautiful”.

CAA member since 2007

Flora Battachary has drawn inspiration from the history of her family’s colonial links to India. She has investigated Hindu and Islamic culture, particularly the floral motifs and geometric structures which feature in Asian design. Intricate flowers carved in stone and richly textured and patterned gold reference and celebrate a dark, opulent and often obscured colonial history.

‘Pushpa’ (flower in Sanskrit) is her collection for Bloomin’ Jewels, ‘refers to the rich floral patterns found on Indian chintz exported to the west in the eighteenth century. Ranging from stylised, star-like pave patterns to hand-carved amethyst flower rings and earrings, the pieces exude the rich colour and pattern of Indian textiles.

CAA member since 2016

Kelvin J Birk examines notions of preciousness and value. He has recently concentrated on investigating what makes gemstones so highly prized. He currently crushes and pulverises them, what he calls ‘Precious Destruction,’ re-assembling them in new ways. 

For Bloomin’ Jewels, Birk was influenced by handling jewellery en tremblant. “The new pieces I’ve made (mainly brooches and a crown) all have trembling parts and are a contemporary interpretation of an old theme. Chance then often plays a big role in the final look of the pieces. Thin metal parts and wire can melt or collapse during the soldering process and give the piece a very different look.”

CAA member since 2016

Jonathan Boyd works in a variety of materials, focussing on conceptual work and complex lost wax casting techniques. ‘Weeds,’ made for Bloomin’ Jewels and comprises 61 pins and animations, was inspired by jewellery en tremblant. “Weeds are little pockets of natural beauty in an industrial city. The 61 brooches do not flutter like the jewels that inspired them; instead they each form a moment in time - a single frame from an animation of a weed growing in Glasgow fluttering in the wind then dying.”

His second series comprises three brooches and short films based on everyday objects such as street furniture and abandoned detritus. These were 3D-scanned using photogrammetry and transformed into sculptures, as such turning digital models of real life objects into three floral works loosely based on the dandelion, lily and rose. “Both series have extended my practice and will be developed further.” 

Donna Brennan explores the nature/artifice dichotomy by transporting stones and minerals from the realm of nature into the realm of culture. She uses the stones to explore the interplay of light dispersion and refraction in jewellery. Her strange hybrid forms spring from her Australian experience of "unusual nature," combined with an interest in the hybridisation of nature with culture. For Bloomin’ Jewels, Brennan has created a ‘Hortus Conclusus’ (enclosed garden) based on her own garden. The clusters of stones in her rings appear to burst into bloom from the ‘stems’ and tremble when moved.

Sonia Cheadle’s understated and elegant work in precious metals and gems is normally inspired by geometry, architecture and Art Deco. Before Bloomin’ Jewels, she had never been drawn to the floral. However, the allure of ‘movement’ in nature was intriguing and this was her starting point for this new body of work. “I thrive on technical complexities and set myself the challenge of making a diamond tremble, shiver or shake to mimic the actions of nature, for instance the branch of a tree. The brooches were conceived as a series: the four seasons."

Gill Galloway-Whitehead works spontaneously in precious metal wire, creating mini-landscapes, which have a great sense of movement. Her deep knowledge of metal wire allows her to work directly with the material. She is inspired by the resilience of plant life in the most adverse and inhospitable situations, such as a weed poking through a crack in the concrete. In her new work, the frame becomes the brooch – allowing her a new freedom and the opportunity to express more movement than in previous work. “The whole process of Bloomin’ Jewels’ has been important.”

Anna Gordon used en tremblent pieces as the starting point to create work that reinvents narrative floral jewellery and in particular investigates the different methods of creating movement. Intrigued by the symbolism of flowers used across cultures, Gordon created her own take on the “Four Gentlemen of China” in which individual blooms characterize the four seasons: the orchid represents spring, bamboo summer, chrysanthemum autumn and plum blossom winter. She has simplified the floral elements and intensified the symbolism. “I am now inspired to look more at plant symbolism and the language of flowers.”

CAA member for 20 years

Dorothy Hogg’s underlying dialogue is with precious metals and ways of exploring the interaction of the body with jewellery. She engages the interest of the wearer and viewer by using intriguing geometry, subtle sound, light passing through transparent enamel to cast colour onto the skin or by making a piece to be touched or played with. 

This collection originated with what she sees and plants on her allotment. “My work always develops form my own experiences. I experiment with ideas and test them in materials. I hope that in the works I have made in silver, coral, enamel and seed pearls, I may have captured the spirit of the life cycle of flourish and decay.”

CAA member for over 20 years

Andrew Lamb’s delicate, meticulous work in precious metals is based on his research interests around traditional practice, especially twisted wire, which he manipulates at a microscopic level. He combines this with the use of laser welding technology and experiments in precious alloying. 

For Bloomin’ Jewels he has explored natural repetition in nature. Reflecting infinite organic growth and multiplication within the living growing world, his ‘fibonacci’ pieces, each some 30 plus metres of hand drawn, precious mixed metal wire strips, expand from the centre outwards in a natural form influenced by organic geometry. The brief has inspired his new body of work, which for the first time is floral in nature. “This latest development has endless possibilities which I look forward to further exploring.”

CAA member since 2013

Kathie Murphy works principally in polyester resin, a substance that allows her to make her own material with which to explore the effects of light and colour through shape and form. For Bloomin’ Jewels she investigated colour in flowers, responding to how it is perceived by insects, how some plants change colour based on soil conditions and how others transform during flowering in order to trick insects into visiting them. Using scientific photographs of insects’ colour perception and UV reactive pigments for resin, she has created colourful works that respond with even brighter intensity to UV light. “I hope that the new work surprises wearer and viewer with its capacity to light up under UV light.” 

CAA member since 2000

Lina Peterson’s pieces for Bloomin’ Jewels are made of lime wood, resin and glitter, which she has created using significant explorations into new techniques and materials.

“I was drawn to the contrasting patterns and colours of individual petals, especially those of tulips; I wanted to capture something of the softness of these flowers, but also the exuberance, the too muchness, the joyousness. I had to start from scratch with my forms as the petal shapes made the work too pretty. A more abstract petal form became a repeated key component, and I deliberately left saw marks and imperfections on the wood, allowing colour and texture to take centre stage.”

CAA member since 2013

Wendy Ramshaw is perhaps best known for her geometric and machined designs but she has always been attracted to flowers in art and design. This collection, her ‘jewellery for brides, designed in 1996, channelled the historic romanticism and classic connotations of flowers and weddings. Everlasting blooms realised in silver & silver gilt are brought together to make neckpieces, earrings, tiaras and bouquets. She recently observed that “everyone loves flowers. There are many thousands to admire, from daisies in a lawn to show-stopping roses with beautiful perfume. Painters have captured them as inspiration - think of Odilon Redon's Anemones in a Blue Vase and the Vincent Van Gogh sunflowers. Other artists bring to their images of flowers their own feelings and needs, working in soft materials like felt to hard materials like steel.”

CAA member since the early 1960s

Kayo Saito’s work is closely linked to nature: plants and other organic forms, rustling sounds and swaying movements. 

To introduce a more floral, organic feel for Bloomin’ Jewels, she has gone back to polyester fibre, which she used early on in her career. The polyester is combined with silver and elastic thread.  “With these brooches I want to give the impression of a gentle breeze sweeping over a flowery meadow or the precious moment in which a flower opens its petals. This unfurling is the final stage in the plant’s development, yet it is the beginning of its life circle. I am fascinated by the energy of this moment. I am trying to capture this moment and its significance in my work.” 

CAA member since 2002

Hans Stofer’s practice covers a variety of media, but frequently metals. His practice responds to life events and is guided by materials and objects that have already had a life: their previous existence increases their preciousness to Stofer.

For Bloomin’ Jewels, Stofer submitted new and existing work, all based on his life at a particular juncture – “a very personal biographical garden.” He used plant detritus over a period, when he was unable to spend much time in his studio. “I have a love for materials and things that are timeless – wood, sticks, flowers, petals, wire and wax; seeing flowers blooming.” His Nagerli (nail) flowers with crystal centres made for Bloomin’ Jewels derived from a gift of a clutch of Swarovski crystals. 

Romily Saumarez Smith's miniature artworks are often based on minute observation of the natural world. She reassembles finds made by mudlarks into exquisite objects with their own narrative, stitching them with cobwebs of real gold thread.  Her work is intensely detailed, brought to life through precious metal and gems such as fresh water pearls, garnets and uncut diamonds added to her ‘finds’.

Many of her rings and brooches are like miniature landscapes and hark back to a visit to Newfoundland, where she walked across a very remote island. “My ‘Cross section’ brooch shows layers of earth with vegetation growing at the top; as if you had dug up a piece of soil with its different layers. It was inspired by a drawing by Jane Dixon.”

Rie Taniguchi’s main concerns are the environment, wildlife and their relationship with humans. She raises these issues in her work, combining them with folk tales and myths to make wearable jewellery, usually in the form of animals, which can also be displayed as mini-installations. 

Her environmental concerns are clear in this collection which focusses on ‘Pikas’, small mammals of around 30 species, native to cold climates. Pikas eat a wide variety of plants; grasses, sedges, shrub twigs, moss, lichen, twigs, needles, stems and leaves, but their habitats are under threat from global warming.   Each plant depicted here can be worn individually or displayed within an installation. “After working on these pieces for Bloomin’ Jewels, I look at plants with new eyes.”

CAA member since 2013

Simone ten Hompel is known as a silversmith, but also studied jewellery design. Many of her objects have a practical function, but all are poetic investigations of form and the space between, to intrigue and provoke the viewer.  Her designs, particularly her spoons often include what can be read as leaf forms. “Leaves can be used as spoons, so I searched under the German lὅffel blume, literally spoon flower. It revealed the white nettle, or Lamium, which has spoon shaped petals.”  In form, the three brooches resemble long stems with a bloom. Simone’s own pun on letting metal blossom.

CAA member for over 20 years

Christopher Thompson Royd’s work is concerned with preserving a moment. His childhood in the Oxfordshire countryside has been influential in a career that has concentrated on immortalising flowers commonly seen as weeds. His delicate plant forms are presented in a marbled folio, an allusion to the Hans Sloane Herbarium at the Natural History Museum. Each work is made by tracing the outline of a pressed flower, which is then used as a form to hand cut layers of paper-thin gold or silver. These are cold enamelled and bound with fine gold wire. “On the body, they have a carelessness about them, as if the flowers had been recently gathered from a walk in the countryside and fashioned into a sort of daisy chain that as children we have all made.”

Maud Traon works in mixed, media, metals and gemstones often using electroforming and electroplating. Much of her work is developed through the making process. She often inserts tiny unexpected objects into the works. 

The inspiration for this series is the symbolism of flowers and how they help narrate the story of a painting or are part of the codification of an event or rite of passage, such as a wedding or, funeral. “The symbolism of the flowers and their use over time has been my main interest. The use of light, playful and colourful almost “immaterial” material (like foam putty) makes the presence of the flower slightly awkward and somehow inappropriate once we discover it, embedded in the mass of material. I sense that Bloomin’ Jewels will influence some new work to come.”

Xenia Walschikow’s jewellery is based on Russian folk art, especially ‘Khokhloma,’ a seventeenth-century traditional painting technique practised by women. “My aim for Bloomin’ Jewels was to create work that represents flowers as wearable decorative art, but in a way that has not been done before. I was a painter first before learning the skill of jewellery making. The paint becomes a wearable material ready to be formed and assembled into three-dimensional jewellery decorating the body. I discovered that paint can be reinforced and made flexible, which gave me a new direction to create more challenging work and an art installation for the body.”

Silvia Weidenbach has pioneered the use of 3D-printing and haptic devices to make jewellery and objects that could not be created using conventional methods, thus combining these ground-breaking approaches with traditional techniques. She draws inspiration from the seventeenth century ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, interpreting it in a contemporary way.

“I love the en tremblant pieces; the opulence, the dynamic, the joy of adornment. With flowers I love the power, the colour, the diversity, flower bunches, the combination of creation, the adorable element, the growing, the sprouting, the structure of the flower, the exotic beauty and the surprise. It is wonderful beginning to play more with a narrative element in an abstract way and I can imagine more floral burst brooches sprouting soon.”

Rebecca Wilkes is inspired by nature but also by finding a way to make jewellery interactive and interchangeable. She uses 3D-printed nylon to create abstracted, floral-based elements with integrated magnets, which can be configured into different patterns on magnetised base plates and made into neckpieces and rings. They create a strong visual impact, with each piece hand-dyed to give a unique finish. She is excited by exploiting the potential of 3D-printing technology to create high impact pieces. 

Wilkes is intrigued by the timelessness of floral symbolism and its inherent romanticism. “It was used in Roman times and can still be used as the backboard for ultra-modern 3D-printed jewellery.” 

Exhibitions

2017

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