Tradition And Innovation

Tradition and innovation my starting point for this project was jewellery, looking specifically at early forms of jewellery. my research started at the Manchester museum where they have a wide selection of Egyptian jewellery on display. I saw techniques such as using thread or string to attach beads and amulets together to create bracelets and necklaces and some examples of metalwork in a classic coiled snake arm band.

The book stuff matters by Mark Miodownik “published 2014 penguin books” On the subject of copper he talks about the Egyptians and their use of copper chisels with which the stone was carved for the pyramids. It is estimated that 300,000 chisels where used and for them to be effective, had to be sharpened every 4-5 hammer strikes because it is a soft metal. This information has inspired the use of copper in my work which I like to work with because of its colour and being easy to manipulate.

I also read Egyptian Symbols by Heike Owusu published by sterling publishing in 2000. Where I learnt more about the importance of colour significance in Egyptian jewellery   “In contrast to the colour red. Green stands for “good” in general. The colour of vegetation and emerging new life promised protection and happiness – a symbol of rebirth.”                                                                                                                                                     “The colour blue indicates the divine aspect of being. Thus the original god Amun was given the skin colour blue as an expression of the endless cosmos. The other gods wore wigs and beards of blue colour as an indication of their divine origin.”

This has informed thought into my colour pallet and my use of colour of which at the moment I want to be subtle as not to detract from the texture and colours in the metal. My initial thoughts on this subject are using a phew strands of colour in the binding. I have also thought about using a natural patinas which normally fit into this pallet.

In the book “Ethnic Jewellery” I found examples of jewellery made from materials that are local to the civilisation. I saw an example of a human bone necklace which is bound with the book just states “fibre” to attach the bones onto the necklace. From the Austral Islands a necklace that also uses bone which is bound together using coconut fibre and human hair suggests that they have made the binding material from what they can find and grow to make the materials

Some brass jewellery form Luzon in the Philippines sparked my interest where they have cast in bronze 5 separate pendants that have then been bound together instead of casting them as a whole piece

Navajo who used turquoise that they found on the ground. This finding of the turquoise on the ground led them to believe that the stone fell from the sky and was a piece of the sky therefore leading to it being names the ‘sky stone’ which was drilled and strung, but the technique of stone setting was not learned until the 1880s and since then the use of silver and turquoise became common. Silver was obtained from objects that where traded from people who had immigrated such as silverware or silver dollars. Much like modern day recycling or up-cycling, using what they can find trade for.

Bernhard Schobinger uses found and recycled objects to create jewellery. I saw a selection of his work at Manchester Art Gallery. He is using modern day discarded made objects unlike the people from the Austral Islands, who use made or natural found materials.

Joe Hogan also uses found materials in this case driftwood and weaving techniques i found it interesting the way that he had combined the two elements. in some places the weaving just goes around the drift wood, but some places he drills through to add more strength to the join between the two materials. this has influenced thought into how i secure and add more strength of the join.

I have been influenced by found metal and natural organic materials due to my research into early jewellery which only used materials local to them because of isolation and trade routes either didn’t exist or where small and slow.I intend to use metalworking to manipulate my found metal and also create new pieces. I also want to continue exploring using found and new materials together. My materials have been inspired by my research into early jewellery for example the use of silver and turquoise in Navajo jewellery has influenced my use of silver, my research into the Egyptians has also informed my colour pallet and use of copper. Found materials from my research into Joe Hogan, Bernhard Schobinger, Navajo and the jewellery examples I found in the book Ethnic jewellery.

I intend to continue explore using materials such as wire, thread, string to bind found metal, manipulated found and new metal and found organic materials to create wearable pieces. I also want to explore and develop the use of wirework, threading, weving and binding to attach materials together and to for example the chain or strap, broach pin or ear loop. But focusing at the moment on necklaces.

I have also been looking into the Trichinopoly chain technique more commonly known as the Viking knit due to archaeological finds dating back to the 7th century located in Scandinavian countries like Norway and Sweden. The technique was most commonly used for bracelets and necklaces and is made using one length of wire which is successively looped around a circular template for example a pencil or dowling then removing once complete. I have been adapting this technique and the tools to be able to make the knit flat, and have been using other materials like leather. I am looking into developing this further to make the strap or chain for the pendant.

I have found that when using Leather the Trichinopoly chain dose not hold its shape as well as the wire but sits back into a cylindrical shape however is easier to pull and shape and can still be opened out flat. the wearer could pull and shape this to how they pleased, or could be stitched in places to hold a shape.

I am starting to look into using necklace clasps to hold the necklace on, but I am exploring the notion of using clasp as the pendant or focal point. and the placement of this on the body. i intend to explore different materials for the strap focusing again on natural and found materials.

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