Thursday, 17 July 2008

Fashion Accessory or Traditional Jewellery - Can't it be both

It's so strangle how so called "industry professionals" are unable to recognise my "wire" jewellery as traditional as I am not a silversmith. In addition, I have been turned down at various trade fairs within the "Designer Collections" as they don't class me as a designer.
If, however, I show my jewellery to fashion boutiques, they will say it isn't an accessory as I use precious materials. So which jewellery genre does my jewellery fit into? Can't it be both i.e. fashionable jewellery?

It begs the questions, what constitutes a designer? Surely if I create original pieces with a thought process which starts with nothing and ends in an object of beauty, isn't that design?
Lets just look at the history of jewellery, shall we....
According to archaeologists, the first ever signs of jewellery date back 40,000 years, the Cro-Magnons originated from the Middle East, used animal sinew to thread crude necklaces decorated with bones, teeth, and other species including the occasional mother-of-pearl shell.
Following this some 20,000 years later, small cone beads purposely shaped from stone and pierced with holes have been found in archaeological bigs, suggesting the first ever development of the bead. The first sign of precious metal used in fine jewellery comes from some copper jewellery pieces, dating from about 7,000 years ago.
Then the Romans were the first to develop fashionable jewellery with the practical use of brooches to clasp togas together. They also used pearls and glass beads.
So why is it then, my jewellery doesn't fit into traditional jewellery, just because I don't use a blow torch? When in fact, it's conclusive that beaded jewellery is more "traditional" than metalwork.
Whilst I profess to be predominantly self taught as I have dedicated my life's work to learning every day, I have also studied at Central St Martins in London and fully understand and appreciate the metal working process. I have sat with crafters who exclusively create jewellery for royalty, rich and infamous to laboriously perfect my ΓΌber fine wiring techniques to make 1mm diamond beads into chains with 0.3mm wire. I will always continue to update my skills with regular courses whilst I quietly scrutinize the works of some of the greats.
I simply chose wire work because I can produce a finished piece of jewellery faster than metal smithing which inevitably feeds my apatite to produce more, and like my life, at lightening speed. In addition, and based on the vast designs I have produced to date, I find wire making far more diverse. I thoroughly enjoy the creation process, and with wire, it's just one big long creation, unlike metal working which is a series of different stages, there is no defined stage. Creating jewellery with wire is streamlined and actually quite basic. Within minutes, you can start to see the fruits of your labours, which is perhaps why it's so addictive. It's uncomplicated and, well for me, it just flows.
Finally, regardless of what materials are used and which ever way you cut it, jewellery is still just an accessory!
The picture above is a bracelet from my Limited Editions featuring divine Black Spinel (Garnet) in Ladies Tooth step cut handwired with Sterling Silver.

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