How can I realise the conceptual from the chronicles in the contents of a jewellery box? Unlocking the biography embedded in sentimental jewellery, historically and currently to inform the development of unique 21st century narrative jewellery.
A mixed methodology research project that incorporates both primary and secondary source material. Traditional research methodologies and one to one interviews will be supplemented by observational studies of individuals and their jewellery collections. Together with the use of multimedia recordings enabling research that is as creative in capturing narratives, as is the production of jewellery that convey their stories.
I am now nearing the end of my first module, and as I have been preparing for assessment and putting the final touches to my proposed brief, it’s been really useful to stand back and take a comprehensive view of my work in progress and begin pulling the pieces of the puzzle together. I started the process off by laying the body of my work out.
Quite early on in this first module, I adopted a strategy for recording my research which was outside of my practical studio work. Whether it was a book, journal, event or exhibition, I started to build a database on how this could inform my practice – Making particular reference to narrative jewellers, material and aesthetic, technical, historic, ethical and contextualisation. This, along with the ethical framework I had started to build as materials and processes could potentially become a regular part of my studio practice, I found really aided in underpinning some cohesion in my project.
My ethical approach is one of transparency, like food labelling, and one goal for me would be to work towards a product that is recyclable. This is one of the reasons I particularly like steel, we have an established infrastructure to recycle steel, it’s commonly recognised as a recyclable material and can be continually recycled with no deterioration in performance.
But my priority right now, is that the personal archives and data I am collating are used confidentially, sensitively and with integrity, ensuring I have permission for use and adhering to data protection. The biggest health and safety consideration I have is currently with the use of magnets, firstly their nickel content and secondly their potential wider interference with pace makers, credit cards and electronics.
During my research, I piloted interviewing a willing volunteer and her jewellery collection – ‘Project K‘. Over an afternoon we sat and unpacked her jewellery box, discussing in detail the sentimentality of each piece. We jointly mind-mapped the contents and documented the process through time-lapse and photography. Project K was filled with narratives, rich history, and significant life markers – The ups and the downs, not just personally, but which embodied those of her family before and could be called upon to draw strength in the here and now.
With rich red garnets, a reoccurring theme of text, intermixed with tourmalines, antique gold and Berlin iron and cut steel jewellery. And when discussion turned to Project K also keeping a jewellery diary to document when and why a piece is worn – The seed was firmly planted and I realised that I wanted to work in response to an individual’s jewellery collection. It would be a big undertaking and specific to my brief, I would need to consider a number of factors.
I would need to identify potential participants who had access to plentiful primary source material. This also applies to my own archives and work in progress. I would need participants to be in an accessible location, whilst also willing and available to meet up on an ongoing basis. I would also be required to prepare for participants to have a change in circumstance and commitment.
I am responsible for driving my own visual language forward as well as developing methods of recording my observations. So far on the course there has been an element of reclaiming my personal identity, and I am hoping that going into the next module, and in digging deeper into my research that I can develop rigour into my framework along with an emergence of a strong individual aesthetic.
So, how can I realise the conceptual from the chronicles in the contents of a jewellery box and unlock the biography embedded in sentimental jewellery, historically and currently to inform the development of unique 21st century narrative jewellery?
Answers on a postcard…