Friday, 15 July 2011

Gourd, rubber, paper, magnet and clay...what am I?

I am materials (pardon the grammar - blogger licence!) that can be turned into beautiful jewellery without a precious metal or a gemstone in sight.

I put some time aside last weekend to sit down with a glass of something nice and look through the entries in the Ganoskin online exhibition 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - jewellery design featuring non-precious metals and alternative materials. I have some pieces featured in this so obviously (as a first time exhibitor) I wanted to see how they looked.

But within minutes I was so absorbed with the other designs I'd completely forgotten my own - not only are there some stunningly beautiful items, but they have been made with a fascinating array of materials. I was so impressed with so much of the work that I wanted to share some of it with you so, with the permission of the designers these are some of my favourites:

Nudibranch Biobangle by Melanie West
Bamboo Biobangle by Melanie West
These 'Biobangles' by Melanie West are made from polymer clay which she has formed, carved and laminated. I love the sense of movement I get from these pieces - I can just imagine them propelling themselves through...well I'm not sure what...but it would be organic and beautiful. The saturated but slightly muted colours are wonderful and the textures make me just want to reach out and touch.

Gourd Fish Brooch by Nancy Overmyer
Blue Gourd Brooch by Nancy Overmyer
I don't think it would ever have occurred to me that gourd shards would be a viable material for jewellery making, but these brooches from Nancy Overymyer show just how effective it can be. They have a lovely earthy, rustic quality to them and work beautifully with the simple embellishments of wire, beads, buttons and silver leaf. the colouring comes from leather dye which does a great job emphasising the gourds texture.
Revolution necklace by Sarah Kelly
Bow brooch by Sarah Kelly
Sarah Kelly's exhibits are engineered using hand folded, laser cut embossed papers, hand pressed rivets, silver pin and protectors and satin ribbon and the results are stunning. With geometric lines and strong colours, they remind me of intricate, mechanical puzzles and these too are incredibly tactile pieces with a great sense of energy.
Blue by You brooch/accessory by Susanah Windrum
Sooz brooch by Susanah Windrum
These pieces by Susanah Windrum have all had a previous life being made as they have from found objects. Metal Bottle Caps, found metal objects, copper and colored rivets and rare earth magnets have all been recycled to create jewellery that I think is quirky, beautifully expressive and full of character - not to mention easy on natural resources.
Untitled necklace by Ian Henderson
Tchaikovsky ring by Ian Henderson
And last but by no means least of my picks are these dramatic exhibits from Ian Henderson. Ian's designs use  synthetic electrical insulation tubing, aluminum grounding wire and patinated brass chain - more at home in a tool box than a jewellery box. But how beautiful they are...delicate but strong, tactile, feminine but edgy and dare I say very sexy! If I still has a decolletage like that...

Anyway... these are just some of my personal favourites from the exhibition and I'm sure you'll have you're own. If you haven't managed to visit yet I would highly recommend it - both for the exhibits and inspiration - you might even spot my pieces... You'll find links to 'Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder' and the websites of the individual artists below.

Happy viewing.


  1. Breathtaking. I wish I had that kind of imagination and ingenuity. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow,wow,wow,wow,&,wow I never can get over the amazingly talented people we have in this world! My favorite from your picks is the last necelace and earrings by Ian Henderson.

  3. absolutely beautiful and innovative designs. We are actively encouraged to use alternative materials at college for our jewellery designs. My final piece for my last project was made out of acrylic and rubber, it was fun to work with different materials. It is so wonderful to see what other artists come up with.

  4. Thank you for sharing this amazing exhibit with us. What beautiful designs. I would love to see the pictures of your pieces. I haven't visited Ganoskin for a while, so thanks for reminding me about this great site.


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