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Vera Collection - Inspiration and Process - January 2017

Posted by Melanie Hamlet
Vera Collection - Inspiration and Process - January 2017

My most recent collection was inspired by a ring that belonged to my Grandma Vera. She wasn't an ostentatious jewellery wearer, having a few pieces that she wore regularly and some very interesting things tucked away that I loved to look at, like an Egyptian necklace made of shells that seemed so exotic to me in the Midlands in the 80s! There was also a cross that had a little spy hole and somehow there were magically photos inside - amazing!

Vera and Charles Robinson honeymoon

She was a maker too, not jewellery but I suspect that's where I got my busy fingers from. She was always making something; sewing, knitting, crochet, baking - a habit inherited by both my mum and myself!

So when I was asked to repair one of her rings, I was inspired to use the beautiful motif in it to create something new and I wanted to try new processes that I had never used before. With each new collection I aim to learn something, try a new material, learn a process, or master a skill.

Computers and technology are something I've always shied away from in my pieces, and although I didn't want to step away from handmade, I was interested to learn about CAD.  I sketched and scribbled some initial ideas which were then translated into a CAD design. This was then printed as a wax model which  I could then manipulate and work on by hand before being cast in a small batch into silver by a company in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.

                Art Deco ring broken  Ideas from Art Deco ring  scribbles and sketches  cad designs for jewellery                         3D printed models for jewellery  initial castings in silver  cleaning up and polishing silver castings  Vera stud earrings in silver

 

I then work on the pieces to saw, file, solder, polish and, in some, set sparkling gemstones, to create the final, finished collection. I feel happy that I have the right balance between technology and handmade, the computer being a very handy tool to create particular elements which can then be added to using traditional techniques.

It's been a pleasure to work in this way using something sentimental as inspiration and to create something new from something old. I hope that my pieces can go on to be special mementos for others in years to come. The collection is available online here.

                                         Vera drop earrings  Vera and Charles wedding day  Vera pendant

 

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