In these uncertain times, the act of artistic creation has served not only as a welcome distraction, but also as a way of connecting with others by sharing a creative vision. Many members of the BAJ community have used this time to reflect, explore new creative avenues and reconnect with their artistic passions. Discover their work below.
SENIOR JEWELLERY CAD TUTOR
“This May, I was scheduled to fly to visit my father’s house in the wine-growing part of Southern California. Beside his house, he has a small fruit orchard. Before the lockdown began, I promised him I would design a logo for his orchard so he could stick it on the boxes of fruit he picked.
I’ve often dreamed of that cancelled trip during the lockdown. Coincidentally, my daughter has just become old enough to appreciate poetry. In particular, she loves Shel Silverstein’s book “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. The other night when I was reading her bedtime stories, I found this poem, The Garden by Shel Silverstein, that reminded me of my father’s orchard.
That is the inspiration for the piece—in the dreamlike naturalist style of Lalique, we have a mythical sprite dreaming of the perfect orchard with a reflecting pool underneath.”
JEWELLERY DESIGN & MANUFACTURING TUTOR
“This is a project I started before Covid but have completed since. It is a ring made out of sterling silver set with a 32ct free-form cabochon, Tanga rhodolite garnet. The shape of the final piece was determined by the shape that the stone ended up having after I removed all the visible imperfections and polished its surface. It is full of needle-like rutile inclusions that resemble fireworks when observed under magnification. Building the ring came next. The stone was set in a piece of wax and the wax was carved around the stone.The wax was then used to create a silver casting of the ring. In the end, metal and stone were united and moulded into a wearable object.”
“My Luminosity creative project is gardening – which I am sharing with my mum who lives 200 miles away and is still shielding.
The first pic is my pond in Limehouse, surrounded by snapdragons. The pond has transformed this small garden – I dug it in possibly the worst stony soil ever, three years ago. All sorts of wildlife including magpies, dragonflies, bees and even squirrels visit. And I have loved snapdragons since I was a little girl…it is amazing watching how bees basically climb inside the flower and get swallowed up… Let’s face it, that is incredibly sensual! In lockdown I found a pack of snapdragons left over from last year and grew these all from seed.
When I told my mum she was very excited. She asked me for some seedlings for her garden and as soon as we were allowed to travel – 4th July – I went to Merseyside to see her, bringing 19 seedlings in little pots in the boot of the car.
The second pic is mum beside her pond which is at the bottom of her enormous and very steep terraced garden in Birkenhead. If you look at the famous photograph of the ‘Ark Royal’, taken by Chambre Hardman – she lives on the top of the hill where that was photographed.
Over the last few months she has been hacking away at undergrowth and basically living all day in her garden. She’s moved sand and grit in bags from the top of the garden, wielded a machete on stubborn bramble and elder, moved Cheshire sandstone blocks that surround the pond, and cleared weeds. I know it has kept her sane and well, and also created a beautiful space for her.
She’s a brilliant natural gardener, always wanting to create habitat for wild creatures, and recycling wherever possible.
I’m isolating right now so next time I go up I can actually stay in her house and give her a hug. I want to document her garden and her thinking behind what she has chosen and how she has built it over years. And I will check out the snapdragons too.”
TECHNICAL DIPLOMA COORDINATOR
“My latest collection ‘Sakura’ aims to capture the spirit of the National Japanese Sakura flower and celebrate renewal, optimism and the transience of life. The pieces are made from recycled metal elements which are formed, hand painted and adorned with complex micro doodles.”
HEAD OF ACADEMY
TUTOR, ASSESSOR AND LEAD IQA
“Captivating the elegant, free-flowing form of the lily petals has been the primary inspiration behind the design of the cascading droplet earrings: the graduating scale of the white gold petals leads the eye to the faceted silver pearls. Each gold petal is made using anticlastic forming technique and polished to a mirrored finish. Each petal is riveted together to create movement and play of colour.”
JEWELLERY DESIGN & MANUFACTURING TUTOR
“What I really enjoy exploring is the attempt to create realities that invite the viewer to engage in many interactions with the aim to create a different experience each time. Knowledge and curiosity stem from interactions and this is what we are nourished from, both as artists and as human beings. I am looking for all possible experiences and I like the idea of being able to give a similar feeling to those who will come into contact with the objects of my imagination. I am keen to create changing sets, open to many interpretations, open to multiple interplays. I like to call my latest ones “interactive objects“. I love the idea that they can be manipulated and questioned, and that everyone can give them a sense in their own world. “Interactive objects” keep their fluid identity even when they are not worn. They are devoid of “tax direction,” and most of them can stand alone on multiple surfaces. All of my pieces are made by hand using traditional and experimental jewellery techniques.”
“Tread delicately” in copper. Techniques: etching, ammonia patina and oxidization.
“In this world, we are all wonderful and beautiful individuals, with so much to give,
We have talents, we are worthy and valued, with so much to receive.
We are all special, with the ability to blossom and grow,
We have the capability and understanding, to let our true selves show.
So every day that you see darkness and feel no hope,
Just know there is a light, in another door, waiting for you to heal.
For what one person may see as a flaw, another will see as motivation,
So let your faith, your confidence and self-love, soar so high.
We are children of the Earth, given amazing gifts,
All you have to do is take a moment to believe.
Believe in yourself, believe in what you can do,
Let the sun shine from within, and watch everything glow around you.
You are born to excel, you are born to glitter,
Find that peace, that hope and contentment, and let those wings flutter…”
“My name is Vanessa Alleyne and I am the Quality Officer here at BAJ. I am also a friend, a daughter, sister, wife, an author and a mother,
Who has a passion for writing poetry, and a lot of unconditional love for my friends and family.
Through the lockdown, I have been blessed and appreciative,
Because my time in solitude has given me an advantage.
I have been able to expand my creative writing, through to spoken word,
By creating my very own podcast channel. (anchor.fm/vanessa-alleyne4)
This was a challenge for me to start, because of how much of an introvert I am.
Then I thought, if I cannot push myself, who will?
I am quiet and I am shy, but I have a heart full of vision, dreams and love,
That enables my voice to shine at the most necessary moments.
I was worried that I would not be able to come up with a topic, or my voice would not be engaging enough,
However, when I thought about my truth and my uniqueness,
I knew this is what would make me stand out.”