A secluded January in the studio has given me time to think about some new ideas and where I want to start taking my work in 2014. I’ve been busy already, starting to etch on a larger scale (more of that later) and beginning to work on some new pieces of silverware for my exhibition stand.
Here’s a sneaky peak at some rocking Tidal napkin rings, works in progress:
This summer I took my first trip to the Cornish seaside, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but have never managed to – now that I have I think that it could now become a firm favourite of mine.
I spent a few days wandering around the local beaches, exploring the South Coast Path where it meandered by the campsite and generally soaking in the sound of the waves and the blue, blue sea. The landscape is certainly inspiring, at turns gentle then wild and I was so sad to come home!
Of course I didn’t spend the whole week wandering along the coastline (though that wouldn’t have been a challenge) I did venture down to St Ives to take in the light and explore the twisting streets of the town. It offers up a whole host of independent galleries filled with the work of local and international makers and artists, many of whom have been influenced by the beautiful local landscape.
Davies paints landscapes, with big, heavy brush strokes and expressive sweeps of colour that all build up on top of each other into some seriously captivating textures. Some of them are stormy, some a little serene as he reacts to the changes in the seasons around his home near St Ives.
Tucked away in a cabinet downstairs was the work of Cornelius Jakob Van Dop, a jeweller and metalsmith with a clear love for texture, line and the natural world. His small, palm sized boxes are decorated with beautiful illustrations of the coastal landscape and wildlife. There was something in them that reminded me of sailors scimshaw carvings, filled with the details that had been keenly observed during a life looking at the sea.
They were beautifully made, with neat hinges and simple dimple locking mechanisms that functioned neatly and really let the quality of the illustrations come across. Alongside these were a collection of animal and insect brooches, I particularly liked the whale, simply made in plain silver with more of that glorious fine detailing:
The Gallery is open all year round and details can be found here.
I made these rather lovely 18ct yellow gold and silver stacking rings this autumn and have just realised that the images never made it onto my blog … Working in yellow gold made a nice change from my more usual red gold and the soft sandy texture looked great in yellow metal:
I’ve been feeling the need for things to be a little simpler lately. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my new Beachcomber pieces but I also like wearing neat, simple everyday jewellery that can handle a tough week in the workshop and doesn’t need to be taken off when you get in the shower, still half asleep, in the morning.
And, for that matter, it’s nice to have jewellery that you can sleep in.
So a couple of months ago I made myself these:
and I haven’t really taken them out since. Sure, I’ve changed them for more special or dressy occasions but they’ve always gone right back in again after.
They’re silver and lightly reticulated, meaning that they’ve been heated to the point where the silver just begins to turn liquid – then cooled off to preserve the wonderful, slightly rough texture that that leaves behind:
It burnishes up to a lovely, warm glow that looks soft and natural.
I’ve put a small range together:
Simple pendants in silver (with a red gold accent):
Stacks of bangles, also silver with a red gold accent:
and rings (silver and red gold):
which I’m testing myself – they wear beautifully and feel really summery!
I lose things on my bench all the time and, just before Christmas, I went a little way towards solving that problem when I bought these lovely, lovely bowls at a fair in Leamington:
They’re made by Nicola Crocker, a ceramicist from Northern Devon who shares my love of the seaside – and her work really does look like it just washed up on the beach. I bought three little bowls, around 2″ across, in blue, green and pink shades, it was a difficult choice given the beautiful selection of colours that I was presented with:
her work comes in larger, sculptural variations too – though all with that gorgeous seaside focus.