Monthly Archives: August 2011

Creative Paper: Li-Chu Wu

Li-Chu Wu was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She trained in Jewellery Design at Fu Jen Catholic University and graduated in 2006, followed by completing an MA in Jewellery, Silversmithing and Related Products at Birmingham City University in 2009.

Her sculptural jewellery looks nature inspired portrayed by their bulbous organic shapes. I enjoy looking at the lines made by the multiple layers of coloured paper. Wu’s method of placing bold vibrant colours next to one another is effective in making the pieces striking and particularly attractive in appearance. Their value increases when combining the paper with precious materials such as silver, emphasising that these pieces are truly special.

Wu’s intention is to  convey the values of the materials itself. Some of these pieces are small enough to wear and others possibly intended to be displayed as a unique sculpture because I personally could take time observing these pieces individually. The amount of effort put into making each piece in unmeasurable, Wu must take pleasure in “the making” part of design (the repetitive cutting, placing and gluing) because why else would she use these exact processes in every work. I aspire to this and feel similar in when creating my works, the whole repetitive processes such as weaving, beading, soldering I find is very therapeutic and take great enjoyment in doing it.

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Colour with your Jewellery: Maria Cristina Bellucci

Maria Cristina Bellucci’s jewellery really stuck out for me. She used to work for many years in costume design and now has developed her own style in making jewellery made from coloured pencils.

Bellucci’ use of colour and contrasting geometric forms are effective in creating modern and unique jewellery. The way in which she slices and sands the pencils back exposing the interior lead draws distinct interest and curiosity to each piece. Jewellery these days are usually made from precious materials, gems and wire, so the fact these works compose mainly of pencils adds another dimension – sustainability, playfulness and surprise. I like the distorted shapes created by the pencils makes the pieces look slightly stretched.


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Mary Donald: Latex and Plastics

Mary Donald studied at San Diego State University, where she focussed on Metalsmithing & Jewellery Design. She uses various materials such as wood, rubber, plastics, latex, fibre, metal and unusual found objects to make her unconventional jewellery pieces.

Rubber & Mixed Plastics:

Donald skillfully uses latex and monofilament to create these unique organic pieces.

I love the translucent fleshy colours of these pieces and the alien-like forms – they remind me a little of calamari or embryos. The contrast between the dark singed edges and the pale latex is effective because it makes the pieces stand out more on the wearer.

The piece above is made of mixed plastics, oxidised silver and brass. I particularly like the way Donald has spaced out the shapes to give sense of serenity. A variation of techniques have been used to join the translucent shapes together including drilling, riveting etc.

These two pieces are beautiful and elegant.

Donald has created this piece using orange peel and thread. What makes this piece interesting for me is both the texture and the variation of fold made by the shrivelling peel. The dotty white surface contrasting with the smoother outer orange surface are appealing in creating a highly distinctive and interesting piece.

I am really inspired by Donald’s jewellery because she can somehow unite unusual objects together and make it ‘work’. Her method in disguising the materials and making them look unique and ‘of value’ is what I find truly impressive.

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Kathleen Jackson: Prosthetic Skin Jewellery

Kathleen Jackson is a contemporary jewellery designer who likes to bread the boundaries: interested in people’s relationships between jewellery and the human body.

These pieces are made from a prosthetic gelatin which are stuck to the skin using prosthetic glue; Jackson then blends the gelatin into skin through using gelatin blender and rubber mask grease paints. I think her jewellery is subtle and soft because of the way Jackson has skillfully blended the prosthetic gelatin; merging it with the human skin.

She successfully and delicately adorns the figure whilst emphasising the natural organic shape of the human form. Beautiful.

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Lorenzo Nanni: Prosthetic Jewellery

Lorenzo Nanni studied textiles at Duperré Art School in Paris. He is influenced by organic and living organisms, pulsating slightly eerie matter re-born and replicated in embroideries and silk. Nanni uses these materials in a very unusual way; using embroideries to imitate the texture of blood and producing fake skin out of silk. Reproducing the essence and beauty of nature is his goal.



His prosthetic pieces come encased in a glass dome so they can also be exhibited as an elaborate sculpture as well as worn to the human body. The pieces may take many forms, mostly all coming from natural resources, using animal life and vegetation, body tissue, veins and arteries, to produce stunning yet at times dark and cheerless pieces.




I really like Nanni’s works because they are unique and creative. His use of embroideries and silk are particularly imaginative; establishing interesting textures. I enjoy the contrast of beautiful versus sinister themes, you feel a sense of uneasiness which lures the viewer in and makes the pieces memorable. I am not sure if I would want to wear these pieces out, however, as an elaborate sculpture in the room would be ideal.

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Wire Weaving

I have been having a good go at weaving wire this summer and have even ordered a wee batch of coloured wire for myself! Brilliant start.

What I have just finished is a purple necklace which I had weaved round and round a paint brush. Yes you can weave around anything these days.

The close-up detailing of the loops I think are pretty fancy. The necklace consists of a continuous looping technique which can be worked without needles. I have added small red bead embellishments to create more visual interest and intricacy.

Here’s another sample I have worked on which I am hoping to turn into some earrings.

Wire can be worked in so many different ways as I have discovered from looking at so many different designers. For instance Teri Howes uses a very similar technique to what I have just used. Processes Howes use include wire crochet, wire knitting with two needles, and wire knitting on a spool.

Howes’s inspiration comes from textiles, pattern, geometry, architectural and sculptural forms. Her designs are so intricate and delicate in appearance which I particularly like. Very feminine.

The jewellery looks reminiscent to that of the Victorian period: full of lace-like pattern. It is as if Howes draws with the wire.

I like the way in which Howes does not use machine when creating these delicate pieces. A quiet rebellion against the mass-produced products we buy these days.

Judith Brown is quite similar to Teri Howes in the way in which she also weaves and hand stitches in wire. She is a British Designer Maker and her jewellery possesses a delicate feminine note. Brown learnt how to sew and knit from an early age with her mum and thus, textiles has played a big part in her work.

This piece comes from Brown’s Vintage Lace Collection.

This dramatic bracelet is a combination of knitting and twisting techniques and is made of fine copper wire embellished with tiny glass beads.

Another designer who excells in using wire is Welsh wire sculptor John Bivel-Fauvel.

Large Jellyfish

Bivet-Fauvel is inspired by cultures from history (old and new) and nature, both from land and sea. Instead of just copying , he attempts to capture the quality and essence of nature. All his works are made from found and inessential materials: “the wire I use comes from inside slot machines, electric motors, transformers and any other sources I can find”, thus, all his pieces consist of recycled materials which I really like.


His technique is knitting, initially using a knitting machine. However, for more difficult forms he rapidly began to construct his own frames, made all from reclaimed materials of course, to create his sea creatures. The range of work by Binet-Fauvel can be as small as tiny prawns to the great octopus which possess 1-metre long tenticles.

Small Jellyfish

Bivet-Fauvel uses his knowledge of sea creatures to make woven bags inspired from mussels and clams. In addition he creates headgear, body pieces and creatures.

Mussel Handbag
Spiral Form

Form observing works from other designers, I have understood more about how to create 3D forms, thus, hope to create some more experimental samples. Perhaps begin knitting and crocheting to achieve different patterns and holes in the piece.

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Stylish Eco-Designers: Campana, Yoshioka, Liddle and Miller

Throughout my summer holidays I have been pondering about what I could focus my jewellery upon for my 3rd year of Jewellery. Who do I want to be? How can I create an identity for myself?

I have been looking at some local designers from Orkney (Sheila Fleet, Ortak, etc) to get a better understanding of who their identities are. I can particularly remember talking to Sheila Fleet and her mentioning to look at local materials and which one’s prices are falling. This subject of price remained with me. I want my jewellery to be affordable and as eco-friendly as possible. So to spark my imagination I looked up some Eco-designs just to see how far you really can go with being green.

Fernando and Humberto Campana are brilliant Eco-Designers who love making use of off-cuts like carpet, plastic and rubber which would normally go into landfill. Look how they transform rubbish into crazy new art!

It’s like a celebration of normal everyday materials which would never be appreciated otherwise! Abandoned scraps are re-born. In addition, there would be little energy put into making these chairs which supports the idea of eco-friendliness.

Tokujin Yoshioka, from Japan, is another designer who creates chairs entirely out of paper. Amazing! The structural strength derives purely from the cortena folds of the paper itself.

These chairs can even be flat-packed as they open up just like traditional Chinese lanterns. Yoshioka has created the seat by simply sitting on the cortena-folded paper and sculpting the form around him – the paper gets squashed and crumples until it settles into a quite strong seat for the sitter. The materials are very lightweight making it easier for the movement of furniture and is completely recyclable.

Richard Liddle transforms your everyday high-density polyethylene (HDPE) milk bottle into an RD4S chair. A chair with an expression of new born waste. Liddle makes these chairs by melting and extruding the flake form recyclate (milk bottles) and wraps the ribbons of plastic around moulds of chairs. The outcome is a lightweight and strong chair that is unique and is a fraction of the energy that would be used in everyday chairs.

Corrugated cardboard is the recyclable material which Giles Miller is famous for using. He cuts strips of cardboard using a CNC machine (a computer numerical control machine) and the beautiful floral shapes are made by using a fret saw (used by Jewellers to achieve tight curves etc). He creates two shades and inserts them into one another’s gaps with the corrugations aligned in opposite directions to achieve contrasting textures. Through Miller’s use of cheap and ordinary materials he has excelled and given cardboard new life!

Who knew how much creativity can spark from boring in-expensive materials. They have been given new life and have been saved from being tipped into landfill. I hope to bring this idea of recycling into some of my work. Perhaps asking Tescos what their biggest waste product is and then using it to my advantage.

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Tie a Knot in Your Friendship

The other day, bored, I stumbled across a website about friendship bracelets. Inspired, I began investigating patterns of all sorts. Such an array! The craft began in Central America  and then became popular in the US during the 1970s. These bracelets consist of a lot of weaving and knotting which is a form of macramé. In keeping with tradition, the person who has been given the bracelet must wear it until the warps fray and drop naturally to praise the effort and love for the friend who made it, thus the bracelet is a symbol of friendship.

Bracelets I’ve made!

I’m hoping to integrate this type of knotting and weaving into some of my work as you can use such beautiful colours and pattern. I could maybe use recycled materials such as plastic bags, cut-up t-shirts, increase the scale etc. Just some suggestions.

Oh and if you are wanting to learn some basic knotting here is something to get you on your way 🙂

All friendship bracelets are made using two basic knots: forward knots and backward knots:

Forward Knot

1. Strands side by side.

2. Pass the left strand over the right to create a 4 shape with the threads like below.

3. Then take the left strand under the right and pull upwards to the left to tighten the loop. Do this same process one time more to finish your forward knot.

Backward Knot

1. Strands side by side.

2. Take the right strand over the left strand just as below.

3. Then take the right strand under the left and pull upwards to the right to tighten the loop. Again every knot consists of two of these loops to prevent the bracelet from curling. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!

Bracelet Patterns:


This simple bracelet should start you off nicely.

You need 4 different coloured threads (1.5m/60 inches long) to create this chevron pattern.

I have used: Sap Green (S1 and S8), Cyan (C2 and C7), Olive Green (O3 and O6), and Jungle Green (J4 and J5).

1a. (Row 1)

Forward Knots

Fold the 1.5m/60 inch long threads in half and tie a knot. Pass a safety pin through the loop or any other device that will keep the end secure whilst you work. Separate the threads into order, mirroring the colours on each side like above.


Begin at the left-hand side and forward knot thread S1 around C2 like above.


Forward knot thread S1 around O3 like above. Pull tight so the knot sits against the first knot. [REMEMBER EVERY KNOT CONSISTS OF TWO LOOPS!]


Forward knot S1 around J4 and tighten. Well done your half way finishing this row! You will see that S1 has moved to the middle:


Now move to the right-hand side and make a backward knot with S8 around C7 like above.


Backward knot S8 around O6 like above.


Backward knot S8 around J5 and tighten against the others to form the second half of the row. After tightening it should look something like this:


Finally to finish the row make a backward knot with S8 around S1.

2a. (Row 2)

Backward Knots

Start the second row at the left-hand side, making forward knots with C2 around O3, C2 around J4, and finally C2 around S8. Make sure you pull each knot tight up against the first row.


Shift to the right-hand side and begin backward knotting C7 around O6, C7 around J5, and finally C7 around S1. Tightening each knot up against the first row.


Make a backward knot with C7 around C2 as below and pull tight. Well done you have now finished your second row!

Adjust the knots to create even V-shapes in your bracelet , so it looks something like below.

Follow this exact same principles to complete your bracelet. Starting on the left-hand side thread into the middle, then move to the right-hand thread into the middle again and knot in centre. When finishing each row you should have each side mirroring colours.

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