This article is prompted by, ‘Mmmmm… wearable art/unwearable jewellery’ an exhibition that took place at the Hong Kong Visual Century last year. The exhibition questioned whether a piece of wearable art is a piece of jewellery or whether a piece of unwearable jewellery is a piece of art. It created dialogue and conversations between contemporary art and contemporary jewellery, questioning the placement of art and jewellery in the contemporary art world.
Using this exhibition as a starting point, this article is going to discuss one of the similarities between art and bespoke jewellery; concept. Jewellery like art can be an object with an in-depth concept or carry a message or meaning.
One of the pieces in the exhibition was this brooch ‘The Fragility of City Living’ ’ by contemporary jewellery artist Cicy Ching, it is made from sterling silver and porcelain. This piece is an exploration of city living, focusing on the fragility of the relationships and the pace in the city.
The large 10 x 2 x 10cm brooch investigates the forever changing emotions within the city. It is oversized and architectural in its appearance, with strong structural lines the like the skeleton of a building, with carefully shaped and crafted panels secured to the main beams.
Ching suggests that people living in a city often have very indifferent and detached relationship with each other, and with the city. She uses porcelain and silver to mimic the concrete and steel which are used to build the city.
This brooch is sculptural in its appearance, and as the exhibition intended, you question whether if it was not described as a brooch whether you would even begin to think of it as an item of jewellery, or whether you would enjoy it purely as a three dimensional object.
Throughout history, art has been used as a form of communication; the artist aims to communicate something, whether it is of an emotion, mood or a feeling, an idea, value or story. Artists have chosen to depict events in history, biblical scenes, and personal experiences in an attempt to tell a story and visually communicate a message.
The initial step of the design process when it comes to designing a bespoke ring at Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design is getting to know the customer and the person who the item is being created for. When it comes to designing an engagement ring, the designer gets to know the couple, how they met, what they enjoy doing or even what they like about each other. The designer then takes this information, and with their design skills and eye for detail, they are able to create a ring that tells the personal story of that couple.
This article has discussed one way in which the exhibition questions the relationship between art and Jewellery, by using Cicy Ching’s ‘The Fragility of Life’ as an example, and further discusses the similarity in the use of storytelling, arguing that just like an item of art, jewellery has the potential to tell a story.
To see how our designers have taken inspiration from different areas to create bespoke engagement rings click here