Method in my madness

In an effort to identify the method with which I work, I printed out all my blog posts labelled ‘design & work process’. In laying them out in order I saw a pattern starting to form which looked something like this:

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I often have an idea that I want to explore and end up making a couple of prototypes or test pieces. These are made with no intention of becoming a final piece of jewellery, but rather for the satisfaction of turning an idea into something workable and making something with an unknown outcome, and seeing where it leads.

More often than not, the unfinished pieces get placed somewhere on my bench or wall as I start working with another idea. What I have come to realise however, is that the threads of the ideas behind all these little test pieces feed other ideas and designs later down the line, linking up in a network of interwoven threads, slowly weaving a pattern.

For example; my idea of wanting to incorporate colour with ribbon earlier this year lead to a bunch of test pieces for interchangeable jewellery, then I carried on working with my metal lace concept for a while. After a few months, I found a test piece that seemed to link up with some sketches I had done and I ended up making ‘lace’ rings with coloured ribbon.

I guess what I am trying to illustrate here, is that for me the making of jewellery is an indulgence where I can explore the thoughts in my mind and tangibly work with and make sense of many of the influences and ideas in my mind. It is this making process that gives the pieces of jewellery I make value to me. Many of my little test pieces of metal I cannot bring myself to get rid of, yet somehow it is easy to sell a piece of jewellery. Where is the sense in that? Surely a piece of jewellery is more valuable…or is it?

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Preciousness and value

I have been dappling with the concepts of preciousness and value for a while and after recently reading a section of the book Jewellery of or time-art, ornament and obsession (Helen W. Drutt English and Peter Dormer / Thames and Hudson) I think I am arriving at a deeper understanding of how things acquire value, and how it relates to my work.

The way I see it is that any material in its raw state or form is of absolutely no value, it acquires its value through other influences and therefore its value fluctuates in accordance to what value man applies to it.

Think of it this way- take a ‘precious’ metal such as gold. Only once a purpose was found for the raw material, and its qualities it could produce when refined through different processes did it become of some value. And when it became a comodoty in numerous forms (namely jewellery) that people were attracted to and delighted in, it’s value increased.

Yes, value can also be aquired by the rarity of something, but what is it that decides rarity is precious? Is it one’s desire to have the ‘only’ of something, and why? Do we need to find our own value and individuality in holding the individuality of something else?

What is it about owning something that no one else has that is so attractive?

In the book I mentioned above it is stated, ‘…it is people who make materials what they are…they learn that certain materials can be worked upon to produce effects that they, and others, gain much pleasure from. Jewelers, of all craftspeople…know how much they must bring to a material to make it precious…In this sense the preciousness of jewelery is a part of its content.