Susan May (b. 1954)

RING

1998

Sterling silver and 18 carat gold. One length of wire with satin finish twists to form the hoop and coiled head, which is soldered with flattened gold beads.

The ring, with a matching necklace, was commissioned by the Company in 1998 to demonstrate May’s forging technique, “experimenting with the texture and shape of gold”. Responding to the design brief, May wrote: “I would make a ring which would be more complex [than the necklace] and quite dramatic, but again very wearable and comfortable. The silver would be forged, and the gold elements would be an integral part of the design.” She enjoys playing with precious metal, coiling it around the finger as here. A similar ring is in the Koch Collection, now in the Swiss National Museum in Zurich.

May trained at Middlesex University where she gained a BA in Jewellery Design before taking up a Graduate Apprenticeship with the Goldsmiths’ Company. In 1977 she received a Crafts Council Setting Up Grant, and opened a workshop in Clerkenwell. She showed her work at the Company’s Loot exhibitions in the 1970s before being awarded this commission. She says of her work: “My work strives to embody movement, and the fluidity of natural elements. My chosen medium is metal. I like to work with metal in much the same way as a jazz musician improvises a melody.”

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