I was recently asked to transform a customer's own cube specimen of pyrite into a ring for a surprise gift for their partner.
The pyrite for their commission was more of a gunmetal colour than most gleaming "Fool's gold", and after discussing different colour options, we decided together that it would be a great contrast to use a pale pink for the ring.
The pyrite cube provided was gun-metal grey, metallic with hard edges.
Bringing together these opposites, a crisp cool metallic with something so soft and delicate seems unnatural, but we can find references in nature. Think of pink granite!
Granite is an igneous rock is formed from the crystallisation of magma below the Earth's surface. It's composition from many different minerals including quartz and feldspar give the colours white, pink and grey with dark flecks.
We encounter granite everywhere in our daily lives inside and outside our homes:
We run our hands over cool, smooth counter tops,
We are warned not to slip on floor tiles when it's raining,
We are impressed by the grandness of pillars, stairs and building fronts,
We carve in it the names of those we wish to remember
I love plundering the rich resource of rocks and minerals for less obvious uses of colour to evoke and appreciate them.
If it is found somewhere in nature there is still a harmony to be found.
I walked past this lamp-post everyday in Manchester and it was part of my inspiration for my Modern Ruin series.
Although man made, the bark like texture from the natural rust made this painted metal pillar pleasing to my eye, and I grew to love it in the same way I would instantly connect with a tree in the woods.
One of the leading PANTONE colours of 2016 is ROSE QUARTZ, one of the components of granite.
"A persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Like a serene sunset, flushed cheek or budding flower"
"Rose Quartz reminds us to reflect on our surroundings during the busy but light-hearted spring and summer months."
I hope this specially commissioned ring is able to also carry these properties to the new wearer it was made for!
If you have your own mineral or materials and you would like to know more about how it could be made into an object to keep or wear, just drop me an email.
I'm happy to answer your questions or have a chat about some ideas: email@example.com
verb live in
...bide, exist, hole up, inhabit, reside, squat, abide, bunk, continue, crash, flop, locate, nest, occupy, park, perch, quarter, remain, rent, rest, room, roost, settle, sojourn, stay, tarry, tenant, establish oneself, hang one's hat, hang out, keep house, locate, occupy, populate, possess, reside, dwell, live, lodge, people...
environment c.1600, "state of being environed"; sense of "nature, conditions in which a person or thing lives"
I always say how much I love how Hubert Duprat drew attention to how the Cadi Fly larvae carefully construct themselves their protective cases. The larvae use whatever is available to them to build their homes, and the precious materials Duprat gave them in his controlled environment illustrates their skills and intuition beautifully in gold and glistening jewels. I have recently made some big changes to my own surroundings, relocating ready to begin a new chapter in a new place. Before I left my old home I made this piece of jewellery. It is a portable keepsake literally using the very materials of my old environment, containing the dust and debris that had surrounded me. To me it is also a protective talisman, a cocoon I have made to be safe within it. It is also a reminder that no matter where you are, just like the little larvae you can make the most of whatever you have and sometimes it might be even better, possibly even exquisitely precious and more wonderful than what you had ever been expecting...
Jewellery is... DESIRE
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.
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)
Here is some background on a recent ring I was commissioned to make for a lover of bold, unique sculptural jewellery. Experimental and organic, it takes time and observation to let a piece like this develop.
For enquiries into having your own bespoke piece made or giving the opportunity as a redeemable gift certificate just get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to answer any questions.
Getting out of the workshop and discovering the majority of my clothing is covered in splashes and smudges of pigment (not in a good way) I have I have made a couple of purchases recently to freshen up my existing wardrobe which currently spill out of vintage suitcases in my "cosy" apartment. The questions I have had to ask when considering a new item have been: "How can I make this work for the crazy/unpredictable weather we continue to have??!" The answer seems to be simple pieces in light fabrics cool enough for coping with the city's public transport in hot spells, but with the prospect of adding interesting tights, knitted layers of cardigans and scarves and my favourite high 70s leather boots as the leaves change colour...
Cue Craft & Culture to create an amazing new lookbook, shot by the talented Fiona Pepe which along with a selection of my handmade jewellery also feature;
interesting knits, tactile leather and THE most amazing ombre tights!!!
The colours add autumnal interest with their faded tones and are made even more wearable by the fact the opaque colour is darker and heavier at the top (thank you!) which flatters even non-model legs drawing attention to the narrowest part of the ankles!
These graded colours and wonderful textures are just what we need for the transition from Summer to Autumn. Here's a look, but check out the whole feature and new items joining the Craft & Culture site here.
Sruli Recht A/W13 Collection, CONCENTRATED presented at Paris Fashion Week including the mineral and resin jewellery collection I produced with him. Other materials include Icelandic down, Japanese denim and heavy satin, goat skin, walnut wood, cashmere rib, metal mesh, Austrian felt, Scottish waxed cotton, viscose jersey, wool and modal jersey, silk and cupro shirting, shearling, pixelated rabbit fur, and Italian wool suiting, providing a rich variety of intriguing trextures.
Here is a preview from the lookbook.
“This collection is completely burned.” - Sruli Recht, January, 2013. The collection in three words – facetted, charred, smoking.