Sunday, February 03, 2013

Coco's Cogs

I quite often find myself a bit "drained" when I've finally finished a piece of work and, having finished the codpiece, I could relax a bit and make some less challenging work, such as some earring trios to offer to the "Earrings Galore" show at Heidi Lowe Gallery, the call for which is here. I had the annoying problem of a flask of castings of settings for one set failing twice, but have managed to get four sets together so far, the fifth to follow when the castings finally work...

Bike Chain Earring Trio -

Bike-chain Earring Trio, made from sections of found bike-chain, set with CZs and synthetic sapphires. The backs of these are set too:

Bike Chain Earring Trio -

I made a set from a broken Archimedes Drill. I've had the core of this for ages but have never wanted to do anything with it as it is such a beautiful form. Set with garnet, black spinel and amethyst:

Archimedes - Earring Trio - 3

Archimedes - Earring Trio - 1

There is a set made from my old stalwart of steel rule, the 17, 18, 19 set. The stones used here are blue topaz and opal:

17, 18, 19 - Earring Trio, 3

17, 18, 19 - Earring Trio, 2

Finally, my "monochrome" set, made from found, corroded washers and set with beads of natural rock-crystal, howlite and a freshwater pearl:

Monochrome - Earring Trio - 2

Monochrome - Earring Trio - 1

I was sent a link by the BJA (Brittish Jeweller's Association) - a rather staid body largely representing the retail and commercial jewellery outlets in the UK - to a video about how Coco Chanel came to launch her famous 1932 show of jewellery featuring diamonds. The video itself is somewhat annoying but one fleeting glimpse of a piece, shown for only a few frames at about 3'32", a sautoir diamonds and chain, has led me down an unlikely path...

I am not entirely clear why Mlle. Chanel has managed to stay under my radar for so long. She was associated with so many of the people who have been of interest to me in the past - Stravinsky, Cocteau, Picasso and others - but I've never paid any attention to her work: more specifically, I've never paid any attention to her jewellery. This strikes me as especially odd given that her own design influences and sources were Renaissance, Byzantine and Baroque...
Last summer, in Pittsburgh, I found some beautiful and odd cogs in "Construction Junction" and I have been saving them for "something" without having any clear idea of what I wanted to make. My own interpretation of the Chanel sautoir is where they will be used.
I discovered in my researches so far that Mlle. Chanel liked her jewellery to be multi-purpose: she liked pieces which could be taken apart and reconfigured or worn as separate pieces, a conceit which appeals to me too. In my own interpretation, this will be a major feature too, including a brooch element, a bracelet, various chain and pendant configurations and possibly earrings. So far, only the central brooch element is clear in my mind and on the bench:

Coco's Cogs - WIP - 3

For some years, I have been a keen follower of Cari-Jane Hakes and her work but over the recent months we have been talking a lot more about our respective practices. She recently commented on how much she liked the little silver antlers which I had made for the kilt belt buckle:

Silver Antler Pile

So I sent her a pair around which she has started to make a piece of work. In conversation, we decided that it might be a good idea to build an exhibition around this, inviting makers to use a pair of antlers to create a piece of jewellery and sending the antlers to them. At the moment, it is all a bit vague, but if anyone has any comments on this idea, they would be very welcome. I am going to be meeting with Cari in March to work out some ideas in detail.

Finally, a little "charm" I made from some odds and ends on the bench. The setting was made for something else and not used and the back part is from a Shimano cassette for a bike:

Shimano Pendant