Art Works: Alys Power's Contemporary Jewellery

16 March 17 words: Alys Power

A local artist lets us in on her creative secrets...

This piece of jewellery was made for my MA at Nottingham Trent University as part of my One and Many collection. The project was an opportunity to not only explore contemporary technology such as digital design and laser cutting in craft and jewellery, but also to look back to my own family and history as a source of inspiration.

This brooch focuses on the mother-daughter relationship and its repetition through the generations; daughter becoming mother, and the overlapping nature of family. The silhouette of the two figures is taken from a fifties family photograph of my mother and her mother, and is laser etched into matt white acrylic and inked to reveal the etched lines. The six little copper rivets are individually hand set, crowning the mother figure and anchoring her to the middle of the design to reflect her place as the centre of the family.

It embodies an aesthetic of imperfect simplicity, a contrast of the cold repetition achieved through the digital technology and the unique and individual detail of the hand-finished copper rivets. Small enough to be held in the palm of your hand – the matt acrylic is comfortingly warm and tactile when held – it invokes the preciousness of the domestic, revering and honouring everyday life.

The collection is based on my own family, my narrative, history and nostalgia, and it has inspired a strong reaction from other people too. It encourages them to reflect on their own family and what that means to them. It elicits memories of their past, both good and bad, and I often find myself listening to their long-forgotten stories and anecdotes that my work’s evoked.

I have been making jewellery for over ten years, beginning with a degree in Sustainable Design and Craft at Derby University in 2004. Jewellery is a privilege and a pleasure to make – it allows me to work in sculptural, three-dimensional forms and to engage my creativity. I’d relish the chance to work on more bespoke and commissioned work. I really enjoy the challenge of creating for specific clients and the opportunity to really get to know my customer, working with them to create unique and individual pieces.

I’m currently working on a new retail collection using some of the techniques, materials and design processes that I developed while studying. I work part time from my studio in Carrington, making pieces for retail and exhibition, as well as bespoke work. I also teach jewellery-making classes both at my studio and for The Nottingham Jewellery School at Focus Gallery on Derby Road.

Alys’ MA contemporary jewellery project is currently being exhibited at The National Centre for Craft and Design in Lincolnshire until Wednesday 22 March.

Alys Power website

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