It’s a day late for Valentine’s Day but here is my latest “grownup steampunk” piece comprising a heart shaped labradorite in gorgeous striped bronze and green, set in silver oxidised to echo the colours of the stone. Suspended underneath is a beautifully tactile Victorian cabinet key. The idea of this series is that over time they gain character as they are worn and the patina changes and adapts to the wearer.
I think I have done it! I have finally found a theme for my silversmithing.
I am conscious that I am not a formally trained silversmith and that people who have studied design at a college or university are encouraged to take an idea and stick with it, developing it as an idea and generating a brand identity.
In searching for a theme I have found myself envying Icelandic silversmiths (I would love to do a range with oxidised trees over hand picked labradorite stones to sell to tourists hoping to capture forever the bucket-list moment when they saw the Northern Lights) or those living near the sea (pebbles and sea glass go so beautifully in silver).
I live in Sheffield, about as far inland as you can get, with a comparatively recent industrial heritage, ugly modern buildings (I love some modern buildings but most of the ones we have are just dull) and no interesting local rocks (from a gemological point of view).
This year however I have taken themes from last year’s steampunk jewellery and developed them.
The result is pleasingly chunky, androgynous jewellery featuring generous stones sometimes set over reclaimed watch movements.
The silver is oxidised, giving it an industrial quality and, as I develop the theme, I intend to bring in other found objects and different metals.
As to stones, I have already used labradorite with its oil-slick colours and will also introduce acid green peridot and, if i can get hold of them, Mexican Fire Opal.
On a recent walk I also found some nice pieces of slag and iron waste so if I can find a way of cutting them down I think I may start incorporating them into jewellery too.
And there we have it – Sheffield specific, modern industrial jewellery that I enjoy making.