Meet the Designers for the Winterson Prize 2016 - Part I

Each year we work with the student jewellery designers at Central Saint Martins in London, giving  them an opportunity to experience designing with pearls for their final year work.

We will be awarding the Winterson Prize 2016 to one of the students for ‘The Best Use of Pearls’ at the CSM  Jewellery Awards Evening on 23rd June.

The designs are also open for viewing by the public at CSM during June 22-26th.

Here we feature the first in a series of short interviews with designers from the CSM Jewellery 2016 show, including in this article – Ambrin Howell, Anna Finch and Chloe Valorso.

Read about the Winner here and the other designers in Part II and Part III of this series.

A COLLECTION OF CURIOUS LUXURIES - AMBRIN HOWELL

Ambrin Howell

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Jewellery student from Manchester, interested in exploring themes of value, luxury, and reflecting on the society we share.

What was the inspiration for this collection

My collection aims to shed light upon trends of greed and financial injustice within British society. Over the past year I have collected British newspaper reports that show problems that stem from what I consider to be attitudes of financial corruption and greed.

In order to illustrate these stories, I have chosen relevant, everyday objects and using conventionally luxurious materials, I have transformed them into ‘luxury’ versions of themselves. I have explored how the functionality of an object may be altered or even obstructed, when transformed into a luxury version of itself. For example, how can one wind down with a nice cold pint if it has been transformed into a gemstone? And can we really rely on ‘The Morning After Pearl’?

By transforming objects in this way, I am reassessing how and why we place value, as well as reminding us that the true value of these objects does not always depend on monetary worth. Ultimately, I have created a collection of objects that belong in a parallel Britain, where material wealth and economic value are prioritized above all else.

Ambrin Howell_2

What have you discovered about working with pearls

I have discovered that I can use pearls in order to imitate ‘luxury’ versions of many different everyday objects. Be it beer froth or a piece of chewing gum! Pearls can have a real sense of playfulness and can participate as part of a wider narrative, as well as part of a precious piece of jewellery.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?

I admire the late René Lalique, for his innovative approach to designing luxury objects. I am inspired by the way he married function with opulence particularly with his perfume bottles. I also admire Banksy a great deal. I think he has a really fresh approach to creating art, that effectively communicates and reflects our society. He catches everyones attention, even those who might not normally participate in the world of art.

What’s next for you after CSM?

Long nap and then get a job within the jewellery community, whilst pursuing my own personal design interests.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?

While the precious materials I have used may make my pieces exclusive in terms of ownership, I like to believe that both as pieces of jewellery and art objects, my ideas are accessible and relatable to everybody.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?

For me piece of jewellery becomes a classic when the ingenuity of the design and use of materials is unparalleled, and consequently becomes timeless and unique.

View more of Ambrin's work here.

QUESTIONING NOTIONS OF PRECIOUSNESS IN THE EVERYDAY: PAPER - ANNA FINCH

Anna Finch

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a jeweller with a key interest in the transformation of materials, especially discarded and disposable everyday materials.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

I wanted to explore how a material can be transformed from a discarded material into a material with precious connotations and value, particularly focusing on natural resources: Newspaper and receipts.

Anna Finch_2

What have you discovered about working with pearls?

I discovered that the pearl almost acts as a light source brightening up the piece and drawing the eye around it. Also I learnt that the soft hue of each individual pearl aided the delicacy and beauty of the material I was creating.

Which designer or artist do you most admire?

Karl Fritsch: The way he treats all materials as equal in terms of value combining precious and non precious materials together. Commercially Polly Wales and Lily Kamper similarly explore this.

What’s next for you after CSM?

I intend to further my exploration into the transformation of materials into commercial, wearable pieces - whilst hopefully gaining experience through a brand.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?

My collection could be considered non gender specific due to the placement on the white shirt. I personally see them being worn by professionals in the fashion world: the tailored trouser suit and stiletto girl.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?

The jewellery is timeless and not compliant to trends. It is a piece that carries its own value, portraying jewellery in a beautiful and successful way conceptually and technically.

View more of Anna's work here.

BOB - CHLOE VALORSO

Chloe Valorso

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I consider myself as a cryptozoologist jewellery designer.

It consists of an interdisciplinary approach: Like an anthropologist, I collect objects and research extensively, I record my sketches and experimentations through various sketchbooks. I have both a methodical and imaginative approach to my work. I look at diverse disciplines such as contemporary and ancient art and artefacts, but also psychology and mythology.

As a designer I seek to unravel the mysteries and create a new meaning.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

My collection takes inspiration from aspects of existing mythologies to create my own belief system. Using my alter ego “Bob” as a recurring motif throughout my work, I explore the importance of narrative and challenge the boundaries between real and unreal.

What have you discovered about working with pearls?

I am especially interested in baroque pearls and their fascinating shapes.

In my research, I was amazed by Renaissance jewellery using pearls. I like when the pearl is at the center and the design is constructed around it to enhance its narrative qualities.

Pearls have unique natural qualities, their reflections, colours and shapes make them uncanny and special, working with them is an ongoing discovery.

Chloe Valorso_2

Which designer or artist do you most admire?

I like creating parallels between ancient and contemporary art. I am interested in the art of adornment in all cultures from pacific jewellery to contemporary one. I like Peter Beard's collages, Solange Azagury Partridge's colours, Mark Leckey's narrative, David Bielander's view on jewellery...

Going to exhibitions and looking at artists is an important part of my design process.

I have a thirst to discover and make connections between them.

What’s next for you after CSM?

Before continuing my studies in a master degree, I would like to do internships to collaborate, learn, open my mind. I am interested in the world of contemporary jewellery. Next August I am participating in a jewellery workshop run by Marc Monzo and from next September, I will be a resident in a contemporary gallery called Résidences in Paris.

Who could you imagine wearing your jewellery?

I see my pieces as amulets that support and empower the wearer. With my pieces, I aim to trigger an emotional response with the public.

I am intrigued to see who will wear my jewellery.

What is it that makes a piece of jewellery a design classic?

The combination of its overall qualities: its concept, its materials, its making and last, but not least, its relationship with the wearer and viewer.

I believe jewellery is one of the most interesting subject of study because of its nature: a piece of jewellery exists as an autonomous object but is also meant to be worn. It interacts with the body in a very intimate and special way. The art of adornment can be taken as one of the most ancient traditions of all culture.

I am interested in all the possibilities it carries.

View more of Chloé's work here.