Saturday, June 5, 2010

friday mémoire (or, here is one I made earlier)

Still on the subject of earrings.  Whilst yesterday's pair were an exercise in restrained minimalism, 'less is more' as the influential architect Mies van der Rohe would say. Today I would assert that 'less is a bore' (after all it is a woman's prerogative to change her mind).
 Back in 2007, my jewellery teacher, Barbara Christie, set an interesting project.  We had to choose a person featured in the National Portrait Gallery, London and create a pair of earrings inspired by them.  I chose Amy Johnson (1903 - 1941).

She was a pioneering aviator and was the first woman to fly solo from the UK to Australia in 1930.  This photograph of her shows her strength, beauty and a steely determination.  Her gaze if fixed on the horizon and beyond.  The sky is reflected in one of her goggles.  Up, up and away!

I was faced with the question - what kind of earrings would Amy Johnson wear?  I was pretty sure they would be unconventional, like her.  I also wanted them to 'fly', not to dangle downwards, bound by gravity.  After many experiments I settled on this design.  A singular earring (because two would just be too much) for a singular lady.

I brought some 1930's architectural influences into this piece.  In particular, I had in mind the Penguin Pool in London Zoo by Berthold Lubetkin. It was completed in 1934 and had this similar pioneering spirit, a streamlined design of a seemingly weightless flying concrete ribbon.  It is suspended, spring like, looking like it may actually launch itself airborne at any moment.

Photograph: Chris Gascoigne

I wear this earring on high days and holidays and I like to think that Amy would have approved and had one in her jewellery box had I been around to create one for her.

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