"What Is Jewellery?" Exhibition Piece No.2 Sweet Ruin Ring

Jewellery Is...JOY

The exhibition this ring is in is about answering the question "What Is Jewellery" by using unorthodox materials. With this piece I have included a marble, a lovely object to enjoy but not considered precious, or a usual material for jewellery as it is, although it is delicate and made of glass. By working in resin I also get to explore colour in my work. This sweet pink shade brings many comments on how tasty it looks, "nougat" being a word often heard from people seeing some of these pieces for the first time. 

Sweet Ruin  Ring, 2014 silver, resin, glass marble, granite, Jade Mellor.  Read about this ring and the Modern Ruin series in the shop   HERE

Sweet Ruin Ring, 2014 silver, resin, glass marble, granite, Jade Mellor. Read about this ring and the Modern Ruin series in the shop HERE

Chanel Jelly Shoes! 

Chanel Jelly Shoes! 

Playing marbles. The milky white one above was used in the Sweet Ruin Ring!

Playing marbles. The milky white one above was used in the Sweet Ruin Ring!

One of my studio snacks, sweet dried papaya! I love the bizarre chewy, squidgy crystalline texture and it gives me a sugar buzz!

One of my studio snacks, sweet dried papaya! I love the bizarre chewy, squidgy crystalline texture and it gives me a sugar buzz!

Here's a wonderful comment from a visitor to our annual open studios last month on seeing my work for the first time:

They’re playful, not stuffy. They cheer me up.
— Michael Flood 2014

This ring is about enjoying life and celebrating and sharing the things you love! By wearing jewellery you are offering it to the world. You are communicating, you nearly always HAVE to touch it, it invites you to interact, it is playful. It is sharing a bag of sweets. It is saying to the lady on the bus, "I like your hat..." it is smiling at a funny looking sausage dog on the street. That extra effort of dressing up, to take pleasure in life and decorating the world around you, taking the time to finish off an outfit, making a statement of who you are or what you like. 

My mother was very chic and she used to say you could have a single dress but with different accessories you could have 27 different outfits.
— "Rare Bird of Fashion" The Irreverent Iris Apfel.

Even the plainest outfit is transformed with an interesting piece of jewellery, or that exquisite piece could also be the cherry on a delicious, fruity, multicoloured, hot fudge, nutty ice cream sundae of an ensemble.

Iris Apfel The "Rare Bird of Fashion".

Iris Apfel The "Rare Bird of Fashion".

So now let's spread the jewellery rainbow! If you don't do it already, or if you have gotten out of the habit (I know my studio scruffs don't always lend themselves to "accessorising" beyond safety glasses) then let's take that extra two minutes to put on something extra, not for habit or practical reasons, but just for the sheer pleasure of choosing something you like. And if you are already a strong card carrying member of the accessories club, how about acknowledging someone else you see who has worn something just for the joy of it. 

The "Sweet Ruin Ring" is currently in the exhibition "What Is Jewellery?" at Manchester Craft and Design Centre, curated by Eve Redmond. Details HERE.

"What Is Jewellery?" Exhibition Piece No.1 Gold Cubed Ring

 

Jewellery is... DESIRE

Gold Cubed Ring, metal, resin, metal dust, Jade Mellor 2014

Gold Cubed Ring, metal, resin, metal dust, Jade Mellor 2014

Box of pyrite specimens: A cube of cubes...

Box of pyrite specimens: A cube of cubes...

In the exhibition What Is Jewellery?" curated by Eve Redmond the purpose was to show unorthodox materials being used by artists today. This ring is made from resin, very different to jewellery traditionally created from precious metal. The piece is also inspired by another material which I use a lot in my work which is Pyrite...


"Pyrite is one of my favourite minerals, the cubic formation has always fascinated me, it looks manufactured with it's crisp metallic edges but builds naturally in this way because of it's unique structure. I love learning about the formation of our environment, triggered by unusual finds like this and researching in Manchester Museum's amazing stores of specimens. This ring is my homage to the beautiful mineral. If Fool's Gold is called so because it appears like gold, this must be (Fool's) Gold Cubed." (my description for this piece)


So with this first ring I want to explore the aspect of jewellery meaning DESIRE: To want something for how it looks, the glint of metallic catching your eye with the magpie's instinct to swoop in and fly off with these shiny treasures. 

This ring was inspired by pyrite. The sparkling mineral nicknamed "Fool's Gold" could be all about it's appearance for those who would be tricked into thinking it was the real thing. 


 
Five "Fool's Gold" Rings of mine,  all using real specimens of the mineral pyrite available now at Craft & Culture  HERE

Five "Fool's Gold" Rings of mine,  all using real specimens of the mineral pyrite available now at Craft & Culture HERE

 


I am attracted to pyrite for how it looks*, it's natural facets twinkling and the smoothed areas gleaming make it a good choice for jewellery, as who doesn't want to wear something that lights up the room in such a way? However the benefits of using this mineral instead of expensive real gold is that I can manipulate it more and I am not afraid to experiment without knowing what the final outcome may be. Gold is a wonderful material to use, but it's preciousness makes it a material you plan for, savouring it, using just enough to make what you intend. Pyrite is much more available to me, this means the exciting part comes from how I can push it. I can smash it, I can grind it, I can use the BIGGEST GOLDEN CHUNKS of it for maximum impact. And when it is worn in this way, it is not showing off value and wealth in the way that a giant 24ct medallion might. It's golden glow is great, but after the wow of the initial impact, there's the head tilt and the chirrup of the curious sparrow. What IS it? How did that come to be? To realise these angular nuggets or magnificent cubes have formed in that shape by themselves as a wonder of nature, that is the thing that continues to excite me, the thing that I love, as well as desire which will never lose it's lustre. 

For some excellent insights into materials and exploring their values vs appearances and how they are being used in contemporary art jewellery today check out the latest CURRENT OBSESSION: FAKE  ISSUE. These guys are the cutting edge of what's happening right now...

 

 

The following posts will look at the other rings in the exhibition. It's been good for me to take the time to think about why use certain materials in my work. Be great to hear what you choose to make your work with! Sometimes having limits can even be the best way to be inventive...

 

 

*(call me a fool, but an honest fool)