‘Primavera’ (Spring) brooch
18 carat gold and vitreous enamel.
Ryan, who lives in Todi, Italy, draws her greatest inspiration from the natural world. She starts with meticulous drawings, watercolours and digital macrophotography, then abstracts natural elements into miniature sculptures made from handmade Italian paper. These are translated into precious metal and enamel. Ryan explains: “Much of my work is made up of moveable elements which shake and vibrate on pins as the body moves… I am not sure that articulation and enamelling have been great partners in the past… I did not study enamel in a traditional or structured manner and have experimented and found a way of using enamel on my own terms and this has become my signature way of using vitreous enamel.” The ‘Primavera’ brooch has a special freedom and colour to it, playing on the yellow-greens of early Spring: “The piece, which is very free, consists of a forged, gently curving oval convex dish form which holds the slightly moveable enamelled parts in place. I assembled the coloured elements with the same amount of spontaneity and joy with which a florist might create a mixed spring bouquet.”
The creation of patterns and the build-up of individual elements is similarly significant to the work of early-career maker Caitlin Hegney, who has produced a series of brooches for the Goldsmiths’ Centre’s Shine 2020.