Dazzle Exhibition in Edinburgh 2014

With the Fringe gradually coming to an end it was the perfect time to engross myself into the world of “Dazzle” – the place to be if you are a new jewellery designer/maker like me.

Dazzle showcases the best of contemporary jewellery by new graduates, as well as internationally renowned designers. The reason for my visit was to observe current jewellery trends and check out unusual techniques as I too, am beginning a business in jewellery.

HEATHER McDERMOTT

heather mcdermottTo start off, I was welcomed by the colourful abstract work of Heather McDermott, a young contemporary jeweller based on the Isle of Skye. Her jewellery is inspired by discarded objects and windswept grasses on Scottish seashores. Heather predominantly works in stainless steel and coats her jewellery with a special vibrant paint, which she then scratches off, to create the illusion of being weathered, just as you would see on a tidal landscape. I find her use of colour really effective in catching attention of the viewer, something to note if you want to lure customers to your work.

Website: http://www.heathermcdermott.com/

BETH LEGG

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Next, I came upon Beth Legg‘s work and it was such a pleasure to look at. For me, granulation is a lovely technique which instantly makes a piece look more intricate. It is the creation of tiny silver balls which are then soldered onto your design, or in this case, soldered together! Legg’s pieces are inspired by the fragile nature of Scottish coastal landscapes. All her pieces are beautifully made individual sculptures, emphasising her sensitive and detailed approach to working.

Website: http://www.bethlegg.com/

KATIE ROBERTS

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Another jeweller’s work that caught my eye was Katie Roberts. I instantly recognised her work from stumbling upon it on Pinterest! The work is stunning in person, with the light reflecting off the three-dimensional forms. Roberts has developed an innovative technique, allowing her to create unusual embossed-like lines on the inside of her creations – creating an amazing rippling effect on the metal. Similar to when you see light reflecting off the water’s surface.

Website: http://katie-roberts.co.uk/

JENNY LLEWELLYN

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I have always been a fan of Jenny Llewellyn‘s work because of her love for sea life. Llewellyn is a contemporary jeweller and creates playful silicone jewellery inspired by luminous colours, shapes and movements found underwater. The pieces really do look like little creatures that could live on rocks and corals! I love how she has successfully combined this gelatinous soft material with precious metals, not usually found in jewellery. I see she always tries to find ways of fixing the silicone forms without the use of glue, this shows her skill and eye for detail in jewellery and makes the pieces high-end. Llewellyn has recently been nominated as one of the “Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2014”, showcasing “innovation, business development and design skills over the past 12 months”, definitely something to be proud of.

http://www.professionaljeweller.com/article-14967-professional-jeweller-announces-hot-100-2014/

Website: http://www.jennyllewellyn.com/

EMMA CALVERT

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Emma Calvert creates statement textile jewellery, combining traditional weaving techniques with contemporary colours and precious metals. Interesting enough, she graduated in BA Textile Design from Central St Martins. Just shows you how diverse jewellery can be. Calvert likes experimenting with woven textiles, transforming a two-dimensional material into a three-dimensional form, which she then translates into jewellery. I have to say, I did purchase a wee present for myself here.

Website: http://emmacalvertjewellery.tumblr.com/

 HEATHER WOOF

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Lastly, I have to mention Heather Woof‘s work. The pieces really evoke a sense of movement. Woof is based in Edinburgh and is inspired by wild Scottish weather – and I think we all know what she means here. She works in hand-cut titanium, steel and precious metals, resulting in elegant wearable sculptures. The colours are beautiful, there is not only blues in the work but greens and purples melded together to enhance a sense of fluidity. I think the colours replicate that of Scotland’s stormy skies and rough seas. It is amazing how she has shaped this hard rigid material into something that looks so elegant and flowing.

Website: http://www.heatherwoof.com/

Overall, I found Dazzle to be an inspiring event to visit, especially for a new jeweller like me. From what I have observed, I feel that the contemporary trend is growing here in Scotland due to the colours and push for mixed media materials and design. It is great to see that craft in Scotland is flourishing, seems that it is the place to be for a craftsperson. I believe it is important to visit and take part in such events – to observe any changing trends and stay within the loop of Scotland’s Craft community which is growing stronger everyday.

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Underwater is a Spectacle of Life: Video by Mary Harris

If you have a love for beautiful colours and shapes – have a watch of this brilliant video, showcasing underwater life feeding and opening up their fronds. Just breathtaking and inspirational for everyone.

The Million Pound Necklace: Inside Boodles – review by Zoe Davidson.

 

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Just watched ‘The Million Pound Necklace: Inside Boodles’, a documentary showcasing the company’s process in craftsmanship and eye for detail for their most expensive, yet, high-fashion emerald necklace… And WOW the diamonds, emeralds and sapphires are unbelievable.

c940713bc0c31e455ef328501ddd6f54Seems that customer service is of top priority for their company, such as serving champagne and one on one attention whilst in their Boodles boutiques. From customer’s experience, they feel like they’re not being pressured to buy and like they are part of a “club”, a friendly charming service. The jewellery is indeed pricey, thus it is important to focus their marketing towards extra-special customers, such as celebrities like Classical Singer, Katherine Jenkins (seen left) and millionaires, to keep them in business. Marketing strategies include advertising only in a few luxury jewellery magazines, “word of mouth”, and hosting special events such as the latest, Boodle Boxing Ball, in Monaco seen in the documentary.

Katherine Jenkins looking stunning                                                                                                                           wearing Boodles Vintage Lace pieces.

Whilst all looking real good in this industry, there is a lot of risk and investment involved. The amount of effort in finding the right customers and attention to every last detail is paramount. After 2 months of making, the final emerald necklace was revealed, called “Green Fire”. The whole suite costs £2,500,000, whilst the statement necklace costs 1 million pounds, which they are still, yet, to seek a buyer.

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“Green Fire” emerald necklace worth 1 million pounds — Will you be the next buyer?

Have a watch of this video ‘The Making of a Masterpiece’ which allows the viewers inside Boodles creative process of making the intricate Vintage Lace necklace.

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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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Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) Christmas Market

I attended a Christmas Market on the 1st of December at the DCA, along with the rest of my final year jewellery class. Was a great learning curve! Organisation was definitely key for this. Thought about pricing, packaging, display and how to organise the money.

Here are some photos of us at work:

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My pieces set up

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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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Body Modifications & Prosthetics Survey

Please help me by filling out my short survey which I will use as part of my Business Plan. Thank you :-)

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WK2DB3M

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Skin Prosthetics – The Future Fashion?

I am writing a proposal investigating whether skin prosthetics will become the new fashion.

Norman Cherry’s Skin Engineering

In the near future, I wish to engineer skin tissue so I can actually create real skin prosthetics. Professor Norman Cherry has already been able to do this and medics are beginning to see its potential. It may replace Teflon and silicone  implants and is safer (due to the speculation of silicone implants being poisonous!).

We have seen Lady Gaga with her facial prosthetics and Katy Perry in her E.T music video. So If anybody is reading this post could you please comment and tell me your views?

Would you wear skin prosthetics? If so, where would you like to wear them?

- Would this be likely aimed towards Body Modification fans? Or catwalk?

- Any suggestions to how I could get this out on the market? Conventions?

- How could I make prosthetics attractive towards more people? As the form of rings and forms of jewellery?

Any comments would be beneficial and much appreciated to use as part of my proposal.

Facial Prosthetics I created
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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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