Sunday, March 04, 2012



The weather has turned and everything seems to be starting again. Over the last week - another week since my last post - I've completed a few things: some smaller "nut" rings, set with stones:

Smaller Nut Rings - 1

Left to right, natural brown diamond, natural lavender spinel, tsavorite garnet, natural zircon, natural pink spinel.

Smaller Nut Rings - 3

Sizes K - O, much smaller than the one I wear!
I've been a touch concerned by making these as it would be so very easy for them to be "faked", an increasing worry for even the most off-the-wall makers. In this last week, we've seen trashy high-street multiple "Claire's Accessories" successfully prevented from selling their rip-offs of Tatty Devine's work. The article in The Independent is worth reading here. The most interesting part of this is the way in which Tatty Devine used social networking - especially Twitter - to create a negative buzz about the scummy "Claire's Accessories".

I also completed "Giallo - Per Dario Argento", a piece based on my (flawed!) memory of an image from a film by 70s horror maestro, Dario Argento. I thought the idea of an eye behind a peep-hole was from Profondo Rosso, but it wasn't. In fact, I can't actually find where the image in my head came from! Not to worry. I'm very pleased with the piece and now I need to persuade the glamorous and beautiful Asia Argento - his daughter - to model it:

Giallo - Per Dario Argento 1

Giallo - Per Dario Argento, closed in pendant form.

Giallo - Per Dario Argento

Giallo - Per Dario Argento, closed in brooch form.

Giallo - Per Dario Argento

Giallo - Per Dario Argento, open in pendant form.
(Made from found, corroded iron objects, silver, gold, copper, pure iron, recycled rare-earth magnets, vintage prosthetic eye, garnets, black spinel and included quartz.)

Also completed a primitivist bangle with "charms". I haven't made one of these for a couple of years and it is always good fun selecting what is going to hang from them:

Future Aborignial 3

On Friday, I was through in Edinburgh for the launch of Jane Gowans' new collection, "Geology Rocks". It was held in the marvellous "Black Box" gallery in Edinburgh, a lovely, creative space in the Grassmarket in the heart of the Old Town.

Geology Rocks - 1

Jane has used the forms and structures found in rock formations to create a collection of work which is at once delicate and massive. The work is created in CAD initially and then cast, before being oxidised black or plated in 18ct gold.

Geology Rocks - 2

For me, the work is both utterly cutting-edge and contemporary but with a lovely respectful resonance of the late 1960s and early 1970s jewellery by John Donald and Andrew Grima. Jane's decision to use the texture of the 3D prints as a feature of the finished pieces makes sense both technically and aesthetically. Each piece has a very physical presence, a weight which reinforces the source material of the designs. A very fresh and interesting collection.
The display in the gallery was excellent - I applaud the recent tendency to make openings "hands on", where the jewellery can be touched:

Geology Rocks - 3

Geology Rocks - 5

As a postscript to that show, I am now wondering why it is that John Donald and Andrew Grima have been so overlooked in recent years. It seems that they were everywhere when I was growing up but are rarely mentioned now and so much more interesting than Wendy Ramshaw's ubiquitous rings.

Jeff Zimmer has been making new work. This is his most recent piece in the Edinburgh College of Art glass studio, a piece based on Holyrood House in Edinburgh:

Holyrood Impression

Made from layers of painted and fired glass.
I was through in Edinburgh to discuss our exhibition, "Scotland the What" which will be on Crafthaus in a mere three months.

The Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh want to feature my image on the cover of their summer brochure, so I asked my colleague, Simon Murphy if he would take some photographs of me at the bench, which he did. He's working on a project photographing people in tweed and asked me to pose for him. Here is the result, with which I am very pleased:
(Copyright, Simon Murphy 2012)