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During the 1920s Coco Chanel’s pioneering use of costume jewellery challenged the status quo that jewels were only for the wealthy. By the 60s Paco Rabanne was designing futuristic jewellery with wood, plastic and paper and the 80s were dominated by supersized imitation jewels of Butler and Wilson. These were all defining steps towards the jewellery that is designed, made and worn today. For me however some of the biggest innovations of jewellery design came during the period of Art Deco and more so with Bakelite Jewellery.
Art Deco embodied elegance, glamour, functionality and modernity – essentially of French origin; it drew inspiration from Egyptian and Aztec forms and was made up of bold angles, linear symmetry, simple volumes and shapes, straight, smooth surfaces and sharp edges. Art deco put large and translucent surfaces and stone including amethyst, aquamarine and citrine, contrasted by opaque materials such as onyx, jade, lapis and coral. I have undertaken extensive research into Art Deco and Bakelite jewellery in order to take components from the two that I consider to be key developmental steps in jewellery making.
My new works will include my signature frivolity and unique aesthetic trademark of randomly faceted pieces of coloured resin, as well as aesthetic throwbacks to Deco and Op Art. My love of all things peculiar lends itself to a curious, decorative and elaborate creative work with a unique vision through the art-direction of cult, art/fashion zine.
I want to change people’s ideas about plastic jewellery, what it stands for and what it should look like. This exhibition aims to challenge people’s perceptions towards the application of plastic as a primary material used in jewellery design. There is a plethora of plastic jewellery commercially available and from my professional experience, plastic jewellery is perceived as a non-precious and throw away commodity. Contrary to this believe, I will be elevating plastic jewellery into the realm of the artistic and precious.