Lockdown special – What have I done with 10 weeks off work?!

Good afternoon jewellery fans.

I hope you are well, this is a really weird time to be writing in. My workshop is closed and has been since March. I cannot make jewellery at home and most weddings have been postponed so all of my orders are on the back burner for the next while.

Well the short answer is not a lot.

Today though, I want to talk about what I’ve been up to during Lockdown. I’ve not been making that much, as I’ve not felt that creative. Who would have thought that being forced to stay inside would be so mentally difficult for an introvert like me!! I took a step back for a while. I used the time for rest because nothing else felt as pressing as resting. Allowing my body and mind to catch up with what was happening in the world. I’ve been for walks with the dog, I’ve tried to keep doing yoga, I have read a few more books than I would have had time to usually. In my more productive moments I sent all my accounts in so my tax return could get done, I baked a lot of cakes and have updated my online shop!

Getting creative

So here we are, it’s now May, we’re into our 10th week of lockdown in Scotland and I finally feel like communicating with the world. I’ve been quite elastic at this time, popping up on Instagram for a few days and then disappearing for weeks at a time, I’m just going with how I feel and not trying to tell myself to do anything at any set time because my brain seems to love to rebel against doing what it’s told right now.

Every week during lockdown Vanilla Ink (the super cool jewellery school where I have my studio) have been releasing a brief, and asking the jewellery community to get involved by making pieces of jewellery with whatever they have lying around and they have a new “sponsor” each week to choose the design of the week. I’ve been following along with the briefs from the start, working on little wax models every so often. Last week I got really excited about the brief; I had an idea in my head of a design which had been sitting stewing in my brain. The brief, for a G.Thunberg, seemed like the perfect time to make the ring I’d been thinking of. The sponsor was Benchpeg, they run an online jewellery magazine which I have been a subscriber to since 2007!

My design

A flat lay of Jen's sketchbook and inspiration

A flat lay of Jen’s sketchbook.

The brief from Vanilla ink

The brief from Vanilla ink

 

My concept

This ring is a grounding reminder, I was inspired by Greta’s autism and activism. I wanted to make a weighty ring, a sensory totum or talisman, that will act as a literal reminder. I wanted the wearer of this ring to have their hand weighed down, in a comforting way, reminding, grounding them. Each time Greta experiences frustration, about a situation or another world leader who is minimising her experience or gaslighting her, I wanted this ring to act as a sensory reminder, bringing her back to why and what she is working towards.

This ring is a representation of a mountain, a large jagged beautiful naturally chaotic place, which has a mine carved into the side of it. After seeing photos of craterous diamond mines around the world, I thought of all the ways in which jewellery also affects the planet and I don’t want to ignore that in this piece.

In order to keep this ring as low impact as possible, I would have it cast in post-consumer recycled sterling silver, so that no new first hand mining has taken place. Everything we need is already out of the ground if we weren’t so greedy. I would also consider oxidising and polishing it to add depth to the mountains as well as heightening the contrasting elements of the ring and concept. I’m not sure if it would be possible to cast in one piece or if I would have to deconstruct it in some way to make it viable. I was also considering taking some of the weight out by hollowing out the underside of the mountain. It has to be the right balance of weighty to wear but not so much as Greta may not want such a weight on her finger!

My piece

A wax carved ring on a white background

Hand carved mountain

A wax ring on my finger

Wax carved ring on my finger

A wax carved ring from the top down on a white background

Mountain ring top view

The wax carved ring on my finger

Hand carved wax ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sent some photos of my wax carved ring to be judged. I was delighted to find out the next day that my design was chosen by Benchpeg!!

They said; “This design hit all the right tick boxes for us, and stood out as the overall winner. It’s a brilliant design and has a compelling concept, thought process and considered manufacturing processes and materials, as you would expect for this particular individual. ” 

You can read the rest of what they thought on their blog, along with the other pieces which caught their eye. You can catch up with all the briefs and the other content from Vanilla Ink here.


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