The aim of my Final Major Project was to design and create an ‘occasion’ jewellery collection from recycled materials, using Alice in Wonderland and the beauty and delicacy of nature as inspiration. The collection is called ‘Nature’s Wonderland’.
I have always been drawn to nature in my drawings, paintings and designs. I am fascinated with nature’s mood-enhancing qualities, its impact both physical and emotional, and its contrasts. Over the course of the year, I have looked at the influence of nature and natural forms on jewellery design and explored how nature has inspired my current creativity. My favourite film director is Tim Burton and I am particularly drawn to the dreamlike distortion, exaggerated colours and architectural landscapes of his highly distinctive films, in particular the magical worlds of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2010) and Alice Through The Looking Glass (2016). Within the 3-D pathway, I have seen the increasingly demanding needs of the design and manufacturing world to be sustainable, eco-friendly and recyclable. My aim was to incorporate these three distinct influences within my project to create a unique, recycled collection of jewellery.
For inspiration, I visited a number of high-profile gardens and a diversity of exhibitions which explored the beauty and fragility of the natural world, the history of jewellery, miniature art and immersive sense, sound and light experiences.
I researched the history of jewellery, materials, techniques and processes, nature’s influence on jewellery design, and explored relevant online exhibitions, international jewellery designers and collections.
Having sketched some simple, initial designs, I began experimenting with materials, processes, techniques and collaging to create visual mock-ups and maquettes. Materials were sourced from friends, family and charity shops. I deconstructed unwanted and broken pieces of jewellery and collected other household items, coloured pencils, old toys, garden wire, scrap metal, pot pourri and dried flowers, fabrics and textiles. I combined these with laser-cut scrap pieces of acrylic and moulded clay which I painted and sprayed in gold and silver. I was amazed at how many recycled materials I could find that could be transformed to work really well in my designs. Apart from laser-cutting, most of my designs involved handcrafting with pliers, cutters, saws and glue guns.
At all stages of the process, I tried to keep the themes of nature and ‘Wonderland’ as my focus; it was a fine balance to design pieces that were highly creative, beautiful and unique as well as being user-friendly and I relied on feedback and critical evaluation to help refine and progress my pieces.
My initial aim was to produce two final pieces however, as my confidence and ambitions grew my final collection expanded to include a range of tiaras, brooches, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and hair clips, many 100% recycled and all themed on the main characters and settings in the ‘Alice’ films.
I am really pleased with the outcome. I feel I have successfully achieved my project aims and brought my themes to life in my ‘Nature’s Wonderland’ collection.
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