The shape of desire

Before heading into the main post about the shape of desire I quickly want to say…

‘Oh hello!’ *waves*

You may have noticed I have had a pause from writing the blog, well, four posts = four months off to be exact.  I realise now that the last piece I wrote might have been a ‘note to self’.  Put it down. Take a moment.  Don’t forget to breathe.   The reason for taking a break from the blog is wrapped up in the way I work and live, saving our off grid home (or trying to) and getting official permission from the local council. I will write a whole post about it so I won’t go into to much detail now, suffice to say it is trickier than expected… but that is for future.

So back to the here and now, (and by the way its lovely to be back writing a post. :)) 


The Shapes we make

I don’t know how many of you caught ‘All that glitters’, the jewellery making competition.  I thought it was fascinating to watch how the brief became a solid object.  Each interpretation so different and then to watch another person, a customer, choose what they would wear (often in contrast to the critics choice).  It made me really think about creative voice, how we can be so tuned into our own vision, how my makes often seem obvious to me but how another person would think about it so differently. 

Tear drop and poplar leaves on greySo, with that in mind this post is about how a piece comes about. From the idea to process to make and redesign to final product. Its all the ideas from my own interpretation of what goes into making a piece from here to there, From A to B (and sometimes C and E and Y and back to A again).

Here I am using the drop locket as an example because its a (almost) direct path from concept to re-imagining into being and of course I can remember each stepping stone well as a recently finished piece of work.

Speaking of….

I often start from the basis of words and make that into something visual.  Someone once said , “words are powerful, words are spells”, I completely agree.   That phrase has stuck with me, for years.  I loved the thought of playing with that statement somehow.

Sat at my table one day reading, the word ‘desire’ kept coming up, as well as thinking about the idea of desire (oof so much to google there about that alone and I don’t want to get into the philosophy of that here).  Instead I started to wonder what desire would be if were an actual thing or object.  

Silver ring and blackthorn
More symbol than story

After sketching out associations and some thoughts I had a moment of recognising what it was to me (and probably to some of you as well?). 

I had been putting my idea of that simple shape already in work. The shape of bramble buds, dew drops, the tear drops, the foxgloves.  It had always been there as a symbol. The first drop before the flood.

Symbols as stories

Recently, when working I noticed I had been focusing on symbols as much as story, such as the owl face ring. If you know my work usually you know the stories are set in the pieces with many different details.  Tourmaline ring with flowersOften a tiny stage where I make layers and layers and the story starts from here.

Recently though I had taken a tear drop stone and set it simply on a gold shank, unusual for me but also nice to deconstruct and focus on one point and let that shine. I knew I wanted to use the tear drop element only.

The rules I set myself for making was it had to be tactile, something nice to touch and hold. A piece you would absentmindedly find yourself turning over in your hands.  Set on a long chain to keep close to your heart.  It had to have a place to hold hidden things. The drop locket itself is a vessel for carrying a small story, a desire.The drop locket back view with note on greyThe drop lockets with note rolled up inside

With the drop pendant I wanted to focus on the form of the shape.  Rather than the intricate set piece my pieces often are, I wanted the idea turned inside out.  A simpler shape with the wearer creating complexity, the story, the spell, and an action, a theatrical element of using both fire and flood, which in my mind is the shape of desire.

The piece works in that you write your desire down, roll it up and place inside the silver tear drop to hold, if your desires change you can set them alight and burn them to ash, before flooding with water. (Its an incredibly satisfying sizzle sound by the way).  You can leave it slightly blackened by the flame or rub each mark made away with a scouring sponge as you wish ready to start anew (or leave empty) .

Alterantive tear drop shape
Alternative design

A redesign

The design unfolded at first quite differently.  I made a almost conical shape (shown here on left). I liked it a lot, it was lovely to hold. 

A circular hole cut into place for the a piece of paper and I wore it for a week to test it out.  It was very tactile but also didn’t feel as much my voice.  I realised I would have to be careful about that and that I needed to rethink and re-imagine the design to fit. 

Working out the new details I took sheet and began how I form all pieces ~ by forming a frame.  Although it looks rounded at the front it has flat back and sides.  Tear drop upright on greyThis worked better, the piece sits more easily against the skin and doesn’t roll around to reveal the locket opening.

Shape to finish

In forming a bramble bud/drop shape rather than conical, the frame has an indentation on each side, made more pronounced.  Its more illustrative, more like the shapes I cut and finished in a soft satin to make it feel softer still.  In the back I cut a bud shape, negative space and a space to fill up with a story. 

With these changes it felt very much more me, the final product which started with a daydream emerged.

Click Here to see the piece used and fired and cooled! 







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