Meet the maker
Christine designs and makes graphic contemporary jewellery. Her inspiration comes from her surroundings in the Somerset countryside. Birds, gushing rivers, flooded levels, hills and valleys, stone walls and amazing skies all inform my work. The collection comprises one-off brooches as narrative and seminal pieces, usually from a simple palette of wood, silver and gold. These pieces both inform and act as a counterpoint to collections which she develops from them.
Christine's primary techniques are soldering and forging, and her speciality is working in fine 18ct gold and setrling silver wire. With pieces that include wood, cold fastenings are also important. The jewellery is exuberant, light and graphic. Christine intends it to convey a sense of energy, be that simple and elegant, complex and layered or bursting and flowing.
"Being at university as a mature student was often a lonely experience for me. And the thought of that first long summer holiday – three months with no structure – was quite daunting. That’s when we decided it was time to get some pets and opted for a pair of hens. They’re great fun: eternally curious, funny, greedy. I tried sketching them, and produced squiffy lines, half finished shapes, and extra heads where they’d refused to stand still. The results were too embarrassing to show."
Christine is currently showing a collection of her jewellery in our
A Walk in the Park exhibition, until the 27th June 2015.
"The thing that no-one had told me about being a jeweller – an artist that is – is that it’s a very public affair. In my previous career I’d been used to my public and private lives being quite distinct. It took me all my time at uni to come to terms with the fact that being a contemporary jeweller with any authenticity at all means you have to put yourself into your work, and if you want your work to be seen that means putting yourself out there for all to see.
My pet hens, and the wild birds that had flooded into our garden once our ancient cats had died, began to emerge in my work. Firstly the softened triangular shapes and a sense of movement. Later I uncovered my early bird sketches and found that the lines in them held a sense of energy that did actually work. A trip to see some decoy duck carvers at work was pivotal in helping me realise that what I wanted to portray wasn’t what I saw, it was a sense of the moment and how I felt when I saw (or heard) something.
The resulting series of bird brooches that I designed and made from a limited palette of wood and wire, won first prize from the Goldsmiths’ Company. They went on to become the basis of my successful ‘sketches’ jewellery collection that I have exhibited at such top events as Goldsmiths’ Fair, Origin, Desire, Bovey Tracey, and Lustre."