Research: Fabric based Jewellery

After my 1-1 tutorial with Catherine, we decided that my project should shift towards fabric based jewellery for my final outcome to present to the Museum panel. I realised that surface pattern print would not be the most ideal technique, as it was clear I wanted to take a mixed-media, textural approach to my design, and a repeated print pattern could not deliver that. Instead, weaving was a prominent technique to tackle the subject of Japanese Samurai armour, and I am constructing my moodboard to show this:

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My moodboard currently

I watched this video on how to weave rya loops, and after many attempts, I managed to do it! It is definitely a technique I want to use in my jewellery designs later.

Rya is the perfect technique for my exploration of tassels and ropes, and I love the way it completes a weave or a textiles piece as it dangles on the edges,. This “fringe” effect would look very attractive as a necklace, bracelet and even as earrings.

The lady here uses a thick amount of blue threads to weave with, but I plan to not only use threads, but paper, cardboard strips, nets or plastic bags, and to arrange it into a “V” shape, as demonstrated in the clip.

Catherine also suggested that I looked at the V&A museum shop website, and the jewellery collection is very attractive, much more than the ones I have seen in Pitt Rivers and the Natural History Museum. I’ve picked out 2 of my favourites, and ones where my designs could be inspired from:

Right: A fine, gold orange woven necklace, Left: Crochet and coin drop collar necklace

The tassel detail at the end of the orange necklace gives it a dainty, complete look, but I may design a bigger, bolder statement piece and the tassel would have a greater presence. Perhaps the design could even encompass more than one tassel, 3 or 4 small ones instead. The bright colour enhances the design much more too. The crochet necklace is vividly quirky, and I like the bright blue and red rims of the jewels, the “flared” effect of the thin, teardrop golden plates.

I used Pinterest as my visual stimuli, and I made a board of jewellery which I really believe will influence my final designs:

In this board I discovered Elizabeth Ashdown, a woven textile designer in London who specialises in weaving and using mixed media materials. She focuses on Passementerie (decorative trimming such as tassels, braids or fringing) collections for fashion, interiors and jewellery. She also studied a BA (hons) in Textile Design at Central Saint Martins (my top choice),  and her approach is exactly how I want to work, because she is also fascinated by structural forms,.textures, unusual materials and three dimensional weaving techniques.

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Ashdown’s use of colours in this piece is so clever- there is a perfect balance of orange and blue, and it is mesmerising, yet almost hypnotic, but this may also be due to the wavy  structure, as it seems continuous and powerful in how much length it covers.

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Ashdown’s work

I think the contemporary aspect shines through her choice in colours like the contrasting use of red and green, yellow and red. I also spot a neon green, and this is what portrays a freshness to her pieces.

Ashdown’s work encourages me to experiment with loop structures with woven yarn, and in my model-making, I will use curtain rings and circular wire forms to achieve this. In her light grey piece with vertical red and yellow woven yarn, the tassels provide a clean finish, and I would love to practise my mark making by studying the dangling strings, which I may do for my idea development sheet on drawings of my models.

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