This week carrying on from developing my research methodologies through drawing, I have thoroughly enjoyed being back at the bench realising some of my ideas from my sketch book into life. As I continue to define my area of research, unlocking, narrating and framing the stories and provenance attached to sentimental jewellery. It seems a good place to start with my own jewellery and tales of nostalgia.
I decided to start working with mild steel, firstly as I could continue to work with enamel and secondly as steel is magnetic and would allow the interactive connectivity I have been exploring. Having never worked with steel before, I didn’t know what to expect, but it really just clicked for me, allowing an accuracy and speed to my hand piercing. Although it may have been slightly quicker to machine cut, I felt far more invested having worked by hand.
With a range of base shapes pierced, I moved onto photographing some of my families sentimental jewellery, this is jewellery which is worn everyday. To begin with I decided to photograph this in my hand as well as being worn by me and my mother.
I printed the photographs onto waterslide decal paper and transferred to the surface of the steel which I had primed with a variety of enamel paints. At this stage, I have reverted to enamel paints rather than vitreous enamel as it allows a little more speed in generating my ideas in 3D.
I then began to incorporate some pieces which I have attached tiny 1mm magnets to the underside. This has allowed me to start building layers, playing with the interactivity and trapping elements between the shapes. In this instance, I am exploring a representation of a bed spring, which narrates the story of how my grandmother’s wedding ring, a ring that I wear everyday, was lost and found years later spinning on a bed spring.
Looking at the photographs above, it feels as though it’s just starting to get interesting. I am keen to experiment further by producing some more shapes and also vary the scale. In this second stage, I also intend to investigate borders, mounting and framing and how this could be integrated with a connection to the body. I am also considering options to seamlessly combine the magnets, perhaps mounting and treating them as gemstones.
I am drawn to the flatness, in turning a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional image, and by doing this I feel as though I am cementing the story and its history. I am wondering about including a drawn or hand written element, acting as a personal signifier.
Ongoing in the background I have also been busy hunting down some more vintage boxes to repurpose and house my new ‘heirlooms’. One for my own story, one for a friends story and one for a fictitious tale. I want to play with the idea of sentimentality, how we filter memories, and how we can cling to nostalgic family stories, and sometimes buy into provenance of jewellery that isn’t always true.
On a final note, in piercing and painting the steel, I created some curious accidental templates and drawings. The negative space, has ignited some new possibilities I need to explore back in my sketch book.