The blossoming of the floral in contemporary jewellery
Thursday 27 April – Saturday 3 June 2017
Special exhibition and talks programme
Since the first human tucked a flower in their hair, blooms have been a part of human adornment. Each epoch saw new interpretations of the floral in jewellery. The Romans had their ivy circlets, the Tudors long necklaces of clusters of tiny blossoms, the Victorians their detailed panoply of symbolic blooms, Art Nouveau its sinuous floral forms and twentieth-century costume pieces sprays of foliage and flowers. Despite this, the contemporary studio jewellery movement for many years rejected the prettification of jewellery and, as a result, the flower form in contemporary jewellery withered.
All of this is set to change with Bloomin’ Jewels, a new selling exhibition at Contemporary Applied Arts in Bankside, which sows the seeds for a regrowth of the floral motif. This special exhibition spotlights cutting-edge, imaginative and technically accomplished modern work whilst celebrating the long and esteemed tradition of depicting flowers and foliage in jewellery. Over 20 respected contemporary jewellers have been invited to offer work using the botanical as a starting point for the creation of jewellery. The results will surprise and dazzle anyone interested in contemporary jewellery, decorative arts, fashion, design and gardening.
For Bloomin’ Jewels, the makers have employed varied materials and methods and, as a result, none of the works on show are ‘traditional’ in the usual sense. Although some makers have employed historical methods, working precious metals and gems, others have developed new processes using the latest technologies and non-precious materials such as resin and 3D-printed nylon. Their designs encompass the use of floral motifs and symbols, the incorporation of real flowers, whilst others simply take the floral as a starting point for a different aesthetic. The show will provide an unparalleled floral bouquet of stunning pieces.
As guest curator Corinne Julius notes “We have selected jewellers across the gamut of contemporary making. The results are not what most people will think of as ‘pretty flower pieces’. They are unexpected and in some cases quite challenging, but then contemporary jewellery is wearable art. As far as we are aware, there has not been an exhibition on botanical motifs in contemporary jewellery in the UK. Makers have had the opportunity of handling historical works,” says Corinne Julius “and I am really thrilled to see their see new versions of the Victorian en tremblant; jewellery that moves in response to the wearer’s body. They were a way for Victorian womanhood to express their feelings without words as they trembled and shimmered in line with the wearer’s emotions. It was and remains a very interactive form of jewellery.” The show will also include a small loan display of historical floral pieces.
Jewellers exhibiting include: Zoe Arnold, Flora Bhattachary, Kelvin J Birk, Jonathan Boyd, Donna Brennan, Sonia Cheadle, Gill Galloway-Whitehead, Anna Gordon, Dorothy Hogg, Andrew Lamb, Kathie Murphy, Lina Peterson, Wendy Ramshaw, Kayo Saito, Romilly Saumarez Smith, Hans Stofer, Rie Taniguchi, Christopher Thompson Royds, Maud Traon, Silvia Weidenbach, Rebecca Wilkes and Xenia Walschikow.
Geoffrey Munn – The Floral in Jewellery
Jewellery expert and Managing Director of Wartski, jewellers by appointment to HM The Queen and expert on the Antiques Roadshow
Tickets: £12 each including a welcome drink
Date: Tuesday 9 May, 6.30 for 7.00pm
Special events for London Craft Week
In conversation with Corinne Julius
Brunch with a Mimosa followed by a talk and conversation with contemporary jewellery expert, Corinne Julius. An intimate session with limited places.
Tickets: £12 each
Date: Saturday 6 May, 10.45am for 11.00am-12.00noon
Christine Lalumia – Flower symbolism and its use in jewellery and other decorative arts
Executive Director of CAA; garden and design historian; formerly Deputy Director of The Geffrye Museum, where she created the period gardens in 1998.
Tickets are free but must be booked and include a welcome drink.
Date: Saturday 6 May, 3.30-5.00pm
To book phone 020 7620 0086 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm
Contemporary Applied Arts
89 Southwark Street
London SE1 0HX