Unisex jewellery collection using an developed concrete-resin material resembling modern architecture.
Silver Signet Ring
Silver unisex signet rings inspired by modern architecture.
In 2013 I won a competition during my degree at Central Saint Martins with my designs for Freedom at TOPSHOP. The project started by a bit of a “fuck it- I’m not at all girly or commercial* so I’m just going to have fun!”. I was really into architecture and the evolving London skyline especially in The City: going from more rounded and low old buildings to this mix of abstract shapes protruding in glass and overlapping like collage. So- with my geeky love for collage- I strut around Bank, eyes to the sky (bumping into huffing businesspeople), with my camera snapping away. I printed the images and traced over the intersecting lines over and over, collaging and layering these lines until they formed abstract shapes in which I cut out, then collaged around the neck of my mannequin and flatmate**.
I played and played until little shapes started to emerge. It flowed so nicely. Eventually I got to a stage where I had to think of the commercial element. Much inspired by the Shard and Renzo Piano’s designs, clear acrylics and laser cutting provided a great broken glass like effect that was easy to produce and slot together like abstract chain links.
On the day of The Big Pitch to a large panel of celebrity judges, I nonchalantly popped my work down and set off the the pub with my fellow classmates, ready for the project to be over. Being a huge lightweight, my one drink at lunch left me lucidly reading the message from my tutor “You have been shortlisted as a finalist to present your work to the judges. Be there in 15 minutes.”
The first point of call was to ring my parents I guessed and peacock “Mum- I’m a finalist!”. [Squeals]. “And I’m also a bit drunk.” [Silence]. Anyway, the tipsiness seemed to work in my favour and the pitch seemed to go well. The next was standing in a line with the other finalists waiting for the winner, camera rolling for the moment when…. I think I left my scarf in the pub, I’ll have to go on my way home. This is taking a long time I should have brought a book today, I hate reading though, I can’t wait to sleep and pack up….”Evie Armstrong-Clarke!”. Oh dear, what’s that they want me to do?. I look up and say “Shit!” -nicely for the documented moment.
To cut a long story short from this point, I developed a whole collection with the Freedom Team and what a fun adventure that was. I even got on local BBC news because it’s a fact that no one from a village manages to do something fancy and public- unless it’s involving cattle or crime.
Thus concludes my first little catapult into the world of commercial jewellery. The End :)
*Bit of early-age-closed-mindedness mixed with art-school-teenage-stroppiness. I have since adored doing elaborate, commercial, feminine jewellery design commissions just as much as menswear and unisex pieces.
**A thanks to Kitty Garratt: An amazing fashion designer and dear friend who you should definitely look up if she is not already famous by the time anyone reads this!
Additional thanks to models: Louisa Ballou and Arvida Bystrom
This little baba popped out the shop before I could photograph it on a hand! And it looked so gorgeous on: the metal was designed to look as though it had been fluidly peeled back to reveal the stunning forevermark diamond I was set to design for, leaving the rest of the metal to rest elegantly across the other finger. But you can’t see that now. It’s gone. (Take stock photos kids!)
As I excitedly brought my friends and parents into Theo Fennell’s South Kensington store to “see the ring”, we stood a little dumbfounded looking at an empty concrete box I’d designed along with a blurb about said missing ring. “It sold to a lady in Mexico who wanted it immediately.” Theo explained. Ah. Fantastic on the one hand but slightly anticlimactic on the other. Nonetheless, what an amazing project to do and an opportunity to work with a great designer and his fantastically skilled workshop team- those guys are metal miracle makers I tell ya.
Did anyone go to the pearls exhibition in the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013?
Well, this was my response that was being sold along side the exhibition at the Friday Night Lates. My intention was to recreate a sense of where the pearl came from; which is actually a pretty grotesque-looking, fleshy pouch inside an oyster and in itself is a reaction to an infection or foreign body. In essence: A Fishy Gallstone.
My piece consisted of trying to simulate this effect over the pearls. In brief, it is an asymmetric long barrel catch that falls across half of the neck with oddly-spaced pearls along cotton coming from the tub-like-structured clasp that is coated in silicone to create a flexible, see-through, fleshy casing.
What I failed to realise during the whole design process was that there is another meaning for a “pearl necklace” that also could be interpreted by using a translucent, white silicone substance. So when the V&A curators quickly pointed this out to me, I pretended it was also part of my brief. Sorry, if you’re reading this- it wasn’t. (Perhaps a hint to why sales were dwindling a little…)
Admittedly the second image was not for the V&A but it IS a pearl-themed earring so I’ve lumped it in here! This one is a unisex geometric ‘pearl’ that creates a modern take on a tudor style. Orders for this [NON-SILICONE] piece can be requested through my email on the contact page of this website.
The Daily Grind
Collaboration with Central Saint Martins MA Fashion graduate Kitty Garratt using her drawings to create etched and enamelled jewellery.
I’m so fond of her paintings and doodles: they’re everywhere around her, even on the bathroom walls! From experience living together: Give her a phone call and a pen, and you’ll find that your favourite book is covered in stylised illustrated cats.
Yes, thats real concrete and No, they’re not at all practical. Complete with gold-lace ends!
These bad boys are part of The Daily Grind collection, but I love them so much they need their own box.
They’re available for shoots but not for buying. (Unless you fancy paying me a lump of money and are prepared for the level of comfort you’d expect for new Doctor Martins with a modified concrete sole. Who said men don’t suffer for fashion too?)
Photos in collaboration with menswear from Zoe Yates: Tailor and Menswear Designer Graduate form London College of Fashion.