Category Archives: Photography

Highlights from ZDJ’s Launch

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Visitors Catching Up at the Launch

Cannot believe it has been a whole month since the launch of Zoe Davidson Jewellery! And what a month it has been. Since the launch, I have been busy creating beautiful jewellery for my lovely new customers and thankful for all the wonderful supportive comments so far.

In this post I would like to highlight a few key moments at Zoe Davidson Jewellery‘s launch, held on the 1st of May 2016.

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Samples of Zoe Davidson Jewellery’s Fold Form

Demonstrations
Every wondered how jewellery is made? This is exactly what I wanted to show my visitors on the launch day and enjoyed doing it! It is a great way to socialise and create a connection with your audience.

Before working in jewellery, I’d always want to watch a professional at work, no matter the craft. Almost proof that they are who they say they are. At the majority of exhibitions and fairs, you meet the makers behind their stands of emaculate work but think, how did it get from a sheet of metal to a piece of jewellery?

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Hoy Sound Collection on Display

I take great pleasure in showing individuals how small a jeweller’s saw blade is and how to measure their ring size. The most common question I had was:

 “In what form do you get the silver in?”

The surprise they got when I said “in sheet or wire”, like many jewellers. Demonstrating and explaining the fold form technique was my favourite part: using some fire, banging the metal and showing that something so rigid can be shaped with just a bit of heat. It’s always memorable if you can surprise someone.

Drinks and Nibbles
I believe if you want to make an impression at a launch party, keep visitors drinks topped up, give out delicious food and have a consistent theme throughout.

Hoy Sound, my first jewellery collection, is a fast flowing channel of water situated to the South of Stromness. Thus, I thought because my work is sea-related, why not provide fresh local seafood? It also helps that I work at my local fish shop part-time!

Orkney Fish, my local fish shop, were kind enough to sponsor me with providing delicious seafood for the launch. On the menu: smoked salmon pate, crab pate, flaked hot smoked salmon and some scrumptious veggie options. This is an opportunity to thank Orkney Fish and OFS Ltd greatly for the amazing support and providing a fresh taste of the sea to compliment oceanic jewellery launch. Thank you.

But this goes for anyone starting a business: don’t be scared to ask for help. You will be surprised at how generous companies are as they have been there themselves.

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Our Hoy Sound Collection shot by Art Mosomi Photography

Images and Film
In the gallery space beautiful images by Art Mosomi Photography had been printed and hung up for show. Images of some Hoy Sound pieces worn on the gorgeous Johan, the face of this collection. Photography sets a pleasant atmosphere and allows individuals to get a clearer understanding of what the work is about. I suggest you get images printed professionally and make sure they are actually good photographs. It shows you are serious in what you are doing. In Orkney, iDesign have been invaluable in creating some amazing work for me, from posters to signs to leaflets. Their customer service is friendly, prompt and more importantly, local.

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Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story] Screen Shot

Finally, adding a bit of movement and sound in the gallery creates drama to the whole launch. On display, a film telling the story of Zoe Davidson Jewellery, made by Videographer, Gustavo Castro Elgueta and Orkney Musician, James Watson. Artistic to watch and easy on the ear, this film made a great back drop to the event. Having final items to sell is one thing, but giving them a personal story is another. The full video is on my website if interested: Zoe Davidson Jewellery [Our Story]

Finally some tips if you are planning a launch:
– Plan a good launch date ahead of time.
Make sure it is not clashing with any other events that may be on in your area.

Ask yourself: what would I want to see at a business launch? Because it is probably what other people are wanting to see too. For me, is seeing how the work is made and tools uses.

Ask for help. I could not have launched on my own without the help of friends and family. Make sure you have someone on hand to pass out drinks and nibbles as you need to be connecting with your customers.

– Lastly, relax and enjoy the event, as your business only starts once.

To finish this post, I would like to say a huge thanks to:
– Art Mosomi Photography for the launch photographs and many other services you have provided.
iDesign for sponsoring our launch and delivering excellent service.
Orkney Fish who provided us with some amazing local seafood.
The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, for supporting us consistently and lending their film projector.
The Royal Hotel, Stromness who kindly lent us their wine glasses as we would never have that many in the house!
– Finally, my friends and family. For being at the launch, for helping and being so positive. I cannot thank you enough.

To view my website and products please go to www.zoedavidsonjewellery.co.uk

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Cheers!

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My Internship at Iris Van Herpen

Well after graduating in June 2013 with great results, I immediately got emailing to apply for experience within the ‘real world’.

Capriole Collection3D printed garment, part of Carpiole Collection

For sometime I had been inspired by Haute Couture/Fashion Designer, Iris Van Herpen, with her innovative catwalk garments and futuristic designs. So I plucked up the courage to email her. To my surprise I got a positive reply and was asked to start as soon as possible in her atelier in Amsterdam. Amazing!

My first day at the studio was an extremely nerve-wrecking one, with other makers and sewers, busy, getting on with serious work. The studio was situated right next to the harbour, with a view of house boats and a great big river. I was met by Iris’s assistant who carried out a small interview and explained what I was to do within the studio. The first job, I remember, was to thread gold chain in and out holes on the sleeves of a black dress. A repetitive but quite theraputic job. Everything, I soon realised, was hand done. The amount of patience and self-motivation needed in this kind of job was essential.

Sarcopha dressSarcopha Dress with snake chain detailing on sleeves. Found on Iris’s RTW site: www.irisvanherpen.com/webshop

Months quickly passed and I soon learned how to laser-cut, as I believed this could benefit my jewellery. First we cut tiny pieces of plexi-glass, a special hard plastic, which were to be hand-sewn onto dresses. Black patent leather was cut shortly after, which we used for strap dresses, beautifully cut into intricate strips to form the pattern for a short dress. It was truly amazing. These dresses became part of the “Embossed Sounds” Collection, where garments created sounds when pressed. My computer skills on Illustrator quickly improved after drawing detailed Spec sheets and laser files. These had to be perfect. Everything had to be perfect. If not, you were told to do it again.

Strap Dress over Liquid DressLaser-cut Strap Dress over Liquid Dress

Strap Dress and Plexi Dress Strap Dress and Plexi DressStrap and Plexi-Glass Dresses in “Embossed Sounds” Womanswear collection.

We even learned how to make the outer layer of stiletto heels. Winding snake chain round heels, shaping carbon and using black pony hair was all needed to create these shows. Cut, shaving and glueing, sanding, brushing, winding. These were some one-off heels alright. Hours of precise cutting to get the most accurate horse hair fit. However, the final result was stunning. Elegant and stylish and perfect for any fashion diva looking to ‘wow’ at a special event. But these heels must’ve been over 6 inches high! Hats off to whoever can walk in them.

 Iris Van Herpen Ponyskin BootBlack Ponyskin Boots found on ODD. Style website

After becoming a master of the laser-cutter, Iris handed me the job of replicating her famous ‘Water Dress’. A large wearable sculpture made from special plastic, formed into curling waves and splashes around the wearer. Iris is a polite but driven young woman. I felt honoured to be given such a job and listened to all her guidence carefully. Using gloves and tools, I began to heat up the plastic and stretch and bend it to form these amazing shapes. It was a kind of meditation. After hours of working it began to take its form and look fluid like water. I tended to make the edges of the plastic bubble so that it would look like the sea foam found on waves.

Water DressHeat formed Water Dress found on Iris Van Herpen’s Website, part of Crystallization collection.

At the end of the day, Iris approached me and was complimentary of my pieces, saying she was nervous to give somebody this job but that I had achieved the look she wanted perfectly. She was very happy so I was happy.

I reckon the best thing about working at Iris was experiencing what it is like to work in the high-fashion industry. You do not realise how many hours and dedication is needed for this kind of job. Also, most importantly, the people you meet. We became a family and helped one another through the highs and the lows. I met individuals from all over the world: Romania, Hong Kong, Australia, Morrocco, Poland, Germany, and so on. These contacts are invaluable and will stay with me forever.

If you would like to know more about Iris Van Herpen, visit her website: http://www.irisvanherpen.com/

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Help Set My Creative Imagination Freeeeee!

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Hello there, I’m a young enthusiastic creative prosthetics jewellery designer and maker and am struggling greatly to buy the materials I  require to help me create an amazing Degree Show. So if you like my work, why not help by sponsoring me! I’ve got the skills, I’ve got the passion and the drive to make this happen, if only I had the materials to actually create my show-stoppers. For every pledge you will receive a reward and a huge thank you and all my social networking sites. Please follow the link to pledge: https://sponsorcraft.com/p/zoecreativeprostheticsjewellery/

Thank you! xxxIMG_1718 65110_237236146406399_13443744_n _MG_1674 IMG_5279

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Collaborative Alien Project: Who Are We?

Got my little butt into gear and finally plucked up the courage to ask Grant Herron (a fellow Jewellery student) about possibly collaborating as I heard he was into Film props. He was well up for it surprisingly so we went ahead and got started a couple of weeks later.

We decided to take our own interpretation on a Sci-Fi Film ‘Alien’ by Ridley Scott. Both of us thought we should create some kind of arm piece. Grant, being more experienced in electronics, designed the upper arm which consisted of small LEDs, a small rotating satellite dish and hinged parts. This is what I also wanted to learn from him. For me, well I went all out making a silicone corset forearm piece (as I’d never really played with the material before but was very keen to), a prosthetic glove with ribbed tubes and long hinged creepy fingers, all made from latex of course.

As we were both passionate about film, we discussed perhaps making a short film which would be able to present our piece on the body, moving and electronics in operation. For that we would need a storyboard:

My buddy filling in the storyboard

Here are photos from the making of our pieces:

Grant’s upper arm piece in the making. The circular piece with small tubes protruding from (right of picture) is the joint so I can allow movement like bending my elbow.

 

 

 

The satellite Grant made. Also some LED lights you were able to turn off and on.

This sequence of photographs is me attaching my prosthetic latex glove using Pros Aide glue. You can only really glue prosthetics in stages to make sure you have glued it on properly.

Still loose flapping bits of latex.

After repeatedly applying the glue all the latex should be attached to the skin with no loose parts.

Here is the whole of my lower arm piece put on. The fingers are divided into 3 and there are 2 hinged joints on each finger so they can move. The finger tips are square copper wire soldered together and I have created clear latex windows on each so light can pass through.

Below this you can see tubes extending down from the knuckles which are made from latex and copper wire and lastly the piece on the forearm is made from silicone.

The Silicone Piece

I had to create a mould in plaster to cast the silicone in. It is very weird and squishy to touch which I thought went well with the nature of this project.

The Facial Prosthetics

Just experimenting where it looks best. I thought it would look good to exaggerate the cheekbone.

Samples of prosthetics. They kind of look like slugs to me.

Attached only using the prosthetic glue. You can still see that the edges have not been blended with the skin but that comes next.

The beginning of the blending process… but you can see that later!

Here is me and Grant and a few other helpers on the set just setting and cleaning it up.

Day time

Night time

My 20th time trying to put in contacts

Final Make-up

Midnight on the set. So so cold! Kept my dressing gown on as long as possible!

Just altering a wee bit

Final arm in the dark

Movie making in process

One of the Stop Motion pictures

Final scene

Such a good experience. Think we’ll be collaborating again for our final year as I think it is good practice for the future. You can learn a lot from each other and take things a step further. For me, I want to go into Prosthetics as I see it diminishing due to Computer Aided Graphics (CGI). Yes it can be extremely useful for big things but with it, you lose that sense of actually holding and feeling the object as it is all done on computer. Some makers use it because they are just being lazy and it saves time, but some actually use it for good purpose. For instance, in The Matrix when Neo dodges the bullets, that is a good example of well-used CGI.

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Luminous Jellyfish

Another very experimental project, following from my Anemone Project, working with fluorescent pigments and ultra-violet light.

Again, my inspiration came from my diving background. In particular, remembering hopping off the boat to go snorkeling and as soon as I got comfortable in the water I saw, what looked like, 8 or so blueish parallel sticks standing vertically underwater. Was very odd. However, as I tried to figure out why they were standing so vertical I noticed there was some kind of clear plastic thing floating above it. I instantly realised that, from the plastic bags’ square shape, it was a Box Jellyfish. Only one of the most poisonous and deadly creatures in the world! As I hurriedly finned to the boat, I shouted “There’s a bloomin’ great big Box Jellyfish in here don’t get in!”

And knowing my dad, he thought it would be good to catch it in our cool box and bring it back to our local Yacht Club to show the kids why stinger/wet suits were so important. My dad actually got stung by one of these bad boys around the ankle.

Anyway, I love seeing how jellyfish move in the water and the different colours they come in. They tend to have luminous tendrils and things that can actually blink to both ward of predators and attract prey. I wanted to investigate ways in which to make colour glow so invested in a UV light bulb which worked wonders! By the way, if you are looking for a UV bulb do NOT get a UV Saving Lamp 75W ES that looks like this:

They might be cheap but they definitely don’t give off UV light just purple light. Just a rip off.

Get one of these Blacklight, ultra violet lamp, low energy BC/B22 Bayonet Fitting High UV light intensity 20W:

These are more expensive, at £9.50 a pop, but are worth the money.

Here are my final pieces. I want to develop this project and make hovering jewellery pieces that look like they are floating with the tide around the body. However, I was really tight with time so made them interior hanging objects.

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Sea Anemone Project

My family are all scuba divers. I love being under the water it’s such a magical place! Feel like a mermaid. It’s brilliant. When I’m under I usually tend to touch things. It’s tempting when there’s colourful little feathery crawlies and wobbly jellies. Once, I got so into it I actually rubbed my face against a sea anemone and it ended up stinging me all over! Ouch. Yes – tip for today: maybe don’t touch things when you haven’t got a clue what it is. Following on from that, I based this project on sea anemones.

They are amazing underwater jellies that possess long wobbly tentacles which wave with the tide. Their colours are vibrant and can usually in groups competing for light just like land plants would do. I really wanted to capture this sense of cluster growth and bright colour, in addition to their strange jelly quality. Here are some of my sketches illustrating their bulbous forms, colour and alien-like features. Be prepared, some of them can be a bit… well, a bit suggestive in shape.

The last picture was my first sample in which I created 3-dimensional crevasses and little hints of colour. I was very pleased with the result as allowed me to think of all kinds of shapes –  the possibilities seemed endless! I even got excited about colour as you will see in my more developed samples below.

Once I got the hang of creating colourful alien-like forms. I tried envisioning pieces on the body. I took inspiration from the designers Lucy Mcrae & Bart Hess and Mi-Mi Moscow. They are both collaborative designers who make creative pieces adorned uniquely on the human form. I like adorning the body in unusual ways because I like morphication and changing the normal shape of the body. Almost like transforming people into underwater creatures themselves. This was my idea.

I wanted to emphasise growth and re-creating the human form. My final outcomes are a mix between final photographs and pieces, aimed to capture unfamiliar shapes and strange alterations to the body.

For my first solution I attached anemone tentacles to the ends of fingers – changing the length and proportion of the fingers to the rest of the body.

Next I created a simple ring with which protrude rather suggestive tentacles. I liked the contrast of the smooth reflective metal to the rubbery matt texture of the latex. The benefits of this ring is you can put on your jacket without worrying about the tentacles breaking off as they are extremely flexible.

Finally I transformed the shape of the back into a kind of extending dorsal fin. Little anemone branches sprout from the surface down the spine as if they were spreading. Long roots stretch across the back to stress this idea of hosting and the ‘taking-over’ of the body.

Next I’ll be looking at making luminescent creatures and incorporating bits of wire to make them look more intricate and delicate. Thanks for checking out some of my work!

http://www.BodyMod.org/flash/mymods.swf

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Kathleen Jackson: Prosthetic Skin Jewellery

Kathleen Jackson is a contemporary jewellery designer who likes to bread the boundaries: interested in people’s relationships between jewellery and the human body.

These pieces are made from a prosthetic gelatin which are stuck to the skin using prosthetic glue; Jackson then blends the gelatin into skin through using gelatin blender and rubber mask grease paints. I think her jewellery is subtle and soft because of the way Jackson has skillfully blended the prosthetic gelatin; merging it with the human skin.

She successfully and delicately adorns the figure whilst emphasising the natural organic shape of the human form. Beautiful.

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Lorenzo Nanni: Prosthetic Jewellery

Lorenzo Nanni studied textiles at Duperré Art School in Paris. He is influenced by organic and living organisms, pulsating slightly eerie matter re-born and replicated in embroideries and silk. Nanni uses these materials in a very unusual way; using embroideries to imitate the texture of blood and producing fake skin out of silk. Reproducing the essence and beauty of nature is his goal.

 

 

His prosthetic pieces come encased in a glass dome so they can also be exhibited as an elaborate sculpture as well as worn to the human body. The pieces may take many forms, mostly all coming from natural resources, using animal life and vegetation, body tissue, veins and arteries, to produce stunning yet at times dark and cheerless pieces.

 

 

 

I really like Nanni’s works because they are unique and creative. His use of embroideries and silk are particularly imaginative; establishing interesting textures. I enjoy the contrast of beautiful versus sinister themes, you feel a sense of uneasiness which lures the viewer in and makes the pieces memorable. I am not sure if I would want to wear these pieces out, however, as an elaborate sculpture in the room would be ideal.

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Research Project: Lauren Kalman

For this research project, we were asked to research allocated jewellery designers in-depth and create a piece inspired by their work and philosophies. I was given the multi-media and goldsmith artist Lauren Kalman.

Kalman was born in Cleveland Heights, and currently lives and teaches in Providence, Rhode Island. Her mother was a commercial photographer and her father, an industrial designer. Her parents are present in her work – as her objects for the body imply to ergonomics and industrial design.

Her Hard Wear series focuses on the struggle between the unrefined body and the desire for perfection. She believes gold symbolises beauty, purity and immortality because it is an expensive and valuable material. People have been wearing jewellery made of gold to emphasise these qualities and improve their desire for perfection. However, in contrast, Kalman makes the body look UNdesirable through applying gold to the body, highlighting disease and imperfections.

Kalman applies jewellery to the strangest of places, such as the inside corner of the eye, the inner ear and nostril. I believe through placing objects in these awkward places reveals hidden areas of the body. In addition, these jewels cause restriction and sometimes reactions. For instance, blocking one nostril through inserting jewellery makes it more difficult to breathe and the sprouting shape of the object must hurt and graze the nostril when you put it in. The Gold Duct piece, when place, causes you to cry because the gold is just about touching the eye itself and restricting you to blink, thus, drying the eye out.

Are these grillz as cool as pimped up rapper Flava Flav here? Or just gross? As you watch Kalman insert these gold veneers into her mouth, the effect is both intriguing yet repulsive as the veneers cause saliva to drip from her mouth. Imperfections begin to show. Thus, in the ‘Hard Wear’ series, Kalman is conveying the idea that beautiful and valuable materials such as gold and pearls can reveal undesirable qualities and imperfections on the body through distortion.

Blooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological Embellishments 2009


In this series, pins are temporarily pierced into the skin to mimic infectious diseases. However, this temporary nature echoes the temporary visibility of diseases she portrays such as syphilis, warts, herpes, etc, which in time disappears from the skin’s surface, but sadly still lingers within the body. Her inspirations come from common images off the internet and medical resources, this is the reason for the compositions and close-up nature of Kalman’s images – trying to imitate photographs of medical infections.

I believe Kalman is emphasising that until the material of the infection is altered, grotesque becomes immediately beautiful. Even the colour of the embellishments, arrangement and monetary value convey these contrast because they are made of valuable materials, dotted evenly and balanced beautifully yet in the back of you mind you have got to remind yourself these are spots and disease. You may think a blistering rash is disgusting to look at, for example, but as soon as the glistening sores are replaced with lustrous pearls does it transform the appearance completely.

So yeah, from Kalman’s work I decided to take a similar approach but different theme and look at what food does to prevent certain diseases. In particular, I have focused on foods which actually look like the organ they help to protect.

For instance, a sliced carrot looks like the human eye and helps with the function of the eyes, improves vision and prevents infections such as cataracts.

Tomatoes have four chambers and is red just like the heart has four chambers. They can help with blood flow and prevent heart diseases such as coronary heart disease which is the narrowing of arteries.

But what I have taken interest in is the brain. Walnuts have gnarled folds just like the brain and are high in Omega 3 fatty acids which help with the development of the brain, thus, may assist in preventing dementia and brain aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia which includes the loss of memory. It leads to the development of protein ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ in the brain, resulting in the death of brain cells. So far Scientists are not absolutely sure of what causes Alzheimer’s disease. It could be age, inheritance or genetic factors. No

one is sure.

I took inspiration from Alzheimer’s cells and tried developing veiny shapes and alien-like forms to convey inner body organs and cells. I liked the idea of something growing out of the body like roots of a tree, spindly wrapping tendrils to emphasise a feeling of growth and never letting go. Like Alzheimer’s, it worsens over time and once you have it, you have got it for time.

The cells under a micro-scope were beautiful to look at, yet transmitted a nasty disease. I carried out samples using resin, experimenting with different colours similar to that of Alzheimer’s cells. The colours, to me, looked ultraviolet, like they glowed. Thus, I sampled using bits of UV acrylic and bright pigments to achieve colours I was happy with to give the idea of nuclei and cell-like qualities.

Sensation in this project was important to me. The first thought that came into my head of a nasty growth was something sticky, fleshy, and when touched would remain on your hands as if it was trying to pass onto someone else. Trying to grow and spread. I immediately thought LATEX. It possessed these rubbery-like qualities which would be perfect for what I wanted to achieve. I experimented with colours but preferred the clear stuff as it seemed more cell-like to me.

I attached the resin bits to the latex and created vein-like patterns by cutting holes into the rubber. I experimented with burning to achieve dark crisp sticky edges. The reason why I darkened the latex was because it would create more of a contrast on the skin, but yet retained that transparent quality. The natural latex was too similar to the colour of the skin, it would not be seen in the photographs and would reflect light too much, thus my decision. In addition, the melted latex would stick and feel more repulsive when attached to the skin, when taken off it would leave oil residue on the skin which emphasises the idea of dormant disease.


This is my final piece. I am pleased with the sensation and idea of my piece, however, the colour is not fully to my liking. I tried to find a way to make  the latex UV but the paint was expensive. Hopefully my piece conveys an impression of growth and spreading through the appearance of it placed on the body.

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Catwalk Project

This project was pretty challenging. We were asked to design an extravagant and unusual piece of catwalk jewellery. The inspiration for the piece, being a particular culture or a specific period in history. We were advised to make use of scale, colour and form.

In the end, after spending a lot time researching different cultures and designers, Sarawak became my theme. Sarawak is a Malaysian region in north-west Borneo, and means a great deal to me because when I was young, my family took me trekking around there and we even lived with the tribe for a couple of weeks. What an experience. I focussed mainly on colours they use, symbols and tradition.

I experimented with weaving, which is a huge tradition in Sarawak, the woven art possess symbols and designs which represent certain animals like deer, birds, frogs, etc. These symbols are meant to protect the village by warding off bad spirits. You can see some etched tribal designs on the circular pendant hanging from my piece. In addition, I practiced weaving in wire and yarn and ended up weaving 2 long tubes of black wire which took me AGES. I could have machine knitted the wire but my intention was to keep up the tradition of Sarawak and keep weaving by hand. There are two colours running consistently through my piece (black and red), this is because red and black are used frequently in Sarawak art and textiles: red representing sacrifice, courage and determination; black symbolises rich natural resources and wealth of Sarawak such as timber and petroleum. The black weaved tubes are attached to both ears creating a feeling of awkwardness and weight. The reason behind this is in Sarawak, they consider lengthened ears beautiful thus wanted my piece to be more of an experience rather than aesthetic. To express the true pain of beauty and tradition in Sarawak. I have had people ask me “would this be kind of sore to wear?”, well yes of course, but this is nothing compared to some of the weights Sarawak women have to dangle from their ears. They can be up to 100 grams in weight each!


(Development: weaved coloured sires, weaved yarns, beadwork samples)

(Development: piece was going to be attached the hair to focus on awkwardness but issue with it staying on, thus replaced weight on ears)

Near the end of the project, we were taught how to use the photography studio. Man was confusing at first! Really enjoyed it though.

I really enjoyed this project as it allowed me to experiment with unfamiliar materials and different techniques (weaving, photography, etc). However, it still seems unfinished to me so will work on it during the easter break. I strongly believe jewellery should not only be aesthetically beautiful, but tell a story, have a deeper meaning. How, in some countries, beauty must be accompanied with pain.

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