In the past I have mainly made objects using gold. This collection will mainly be made with silver. Like the copper moulds that were the inspiration of my last collection, I was drawn to clouds because they are abstract shapes and yet in the right context we recognise them as specific objects in our everyday life.
Clouds are objects that come in a range of organic shapes and can be bright and shiny or dark and black. Silver is similar. It can be polished to create a vivid white metallic lustre. Exposed to air or water, a black layer of silver sulphide will form that can be cleaned off. For many the fading to blackness is a drawback. For me this dual possibility shared by both silver and clouds was a positive quality that I assimilated into my designs and what inspired me to make this collection. The skyscrapers of Mumbai, a city I visited a few years ago, also have this duality and in the early development stages of this collection they were also a stimulus for ideas. Another feature of silver is that it is light in weight, allowing several pieces to be worn simultaneously. When I set out to design the pieces for this collection, I wanted to make objects that would be versatile and easy to wear in various combinations. Clouds that are formed in polluted areas can be dramatic and pink in colour, so some of the pieces in the collection will be made in pink gold.
Although brooches feature prominently in the history of jewellery design, today it is not so common to see people wearing them as they are not as trendy as they once were. Brooches feature strongly in the Clouds with a Silver Lining Collection. Brooches are the jewellery pieces that give the designer the biggest artistic freedom when designing, and they have a strong sculptural quality. I have always loved brooches because when worn, they can be elegant while making both a bold and sophisticated statement.
The first piece of my Valence Collection was a set of 3 brooches worn as one piece. The design that gave birth to my new collection was also a brooch made of a set of brooches and pins. It is made of three silver clouds (all different sizes) booches, five single diamond pins and a yellow gold lightning bolt. One can wear all or just a selection of the pieces. The clouds can be polished or blackened to the mood of the wearer. Diamonds represent the rain that falls with the storm. The jewellery sets the stage and the frame of mind of the wearer. She can dress to her mood’s delight, making a storm if she likes! I love the versatility of this piece. Of course not all pieces offer so much compositional variety, but they can be polished to look shiny or blackened. With a bottle of particular chemical one can paint the silver so that it oxidises to blacken instantaneously. The black is not even in this instance, but nor are clouds and it can be polished off with regular silver polish as desired. If you let the silver take it’s natural path, it will go yellowish then dull before going greyer and greyer until eventually it is all black. This process can take a couple of months. Metal can also be Rhodium plated so that it has a perfectly even, dark grey or black patina.
For the show, I have decided to put the jewellery on live models so that they can be seen worn rather than in a display case. Jewellery is best seen worn rather than in a vitrine, and this format will allow the viewer to see how easy it is to wear the brooches and how the jewellery can be arranged in different ways.
I have commissioned my friend, Edeline Lee, to design and make a small collection of dresses on which I can launch my new line of jewellery. Edeline is from Canada, of Korean background. She has a degree from Central St. Martins and has worked for Alexander McQueen and Zac Posen and is now looking to launch herself as an independent designer. To match the high quality of craftsmanship of the jewellery, the dresses are also made by hand to a very high standard. She has used a large variety of silk fabrics with cloud like textures to make a beautiful group of dresses. Where possible she has used sustainable fabrics. Consistent with the theme, some will be black, some white, some grey, and there will be hints of colour here and there.
The launch will take place at a gallery in central London. Following the launch I will be able to receive clients in the same location for a further couple of days.