Tag Archives: New Place

Hidden Wonders

SBT_Secret Garden Locket_d

Secret Garden Locket in gift box

A couple of months ago I delivered the final two Signature Pieces for the Knot Garden Collection. I’m extremely proud of both pieces – they took a long time to design and create – and I decided it was about time that I shared them here. In my humble opinion, they encapsulate the spirit behind this Collection.

The Knot Garden Collection is inspired by Shakespeare’s life, with the stunning patterns of the re-imagined knot garden at Shakespeare’s New Place being the focal point of each piece.

As part of my design development, I researched Elizabethan jewellery and accessories, including the Cheapside Hoard. My discoveries, alongside my review of Herbals from the Rare Books Collection in The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Archives, led to the design of these two lockets that embody the Elizabethan desire for fragrance and colour and their fascination with pomanders and boxes.

The Secret Garden Locket has a fretworked* version of the seal from a signet ring (thought to have belonged to William Shakespeare) on the front and opens to reveal a knot garden pattern inside, which has been plated in green gold.

The locket bears the inscription: “Thy curious-knotted garden” Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act 1 Scene 1.

The Perfume Locket, a modern take on the Pomander**, features a knot pattern on the front and opens to reveal a specially commissioned solid perfume created by Katie Beswick. The perfume created for the piece has a rose scent:

“The key notes are rose otto and damask rose, with warm seductive amber, honey and animalistic propolis infused with poplar bud. It takes me to a place of heady love in a summer garden,” says Katie.

The locket bears the inscription: “A rose by any other word would smell as sweet”, Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 1.

All pieces in the Collection are made in sterling silver and hallmarked. All except the stud earrings also feature the WS signet ring pattern alongside the hallmark.

* fretwork is a form of openwork. To see how it’s done and find out more about it, please click here.

** Pomanders and Vinaigrettes were used in the 16th and 17th Centuries to hold perfume or perfumed sponges, to ‘disseminate attractive scents around the wearer’ or to ward off disease.

The Secret Garden Locket is available to buy online here and the Perfume Locket is available here. Both pieces are also available, along with the rest of the Knot Garden Collection in the shop at Shakespeare’s New Place in Stratford Upon Avon, England.

At my bench

The locket fronts are creating by saw-piercing the fretwork pattern and then soldering it to a solid piece of silver.

Advertisements

Milestones

“But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail.” 

Lady Macbeth, Act 1, Scene 7

The beginning of 2016 has been incredibly busy. I began the year with a trip up to Stratford Upon Avon and came back with a long list of things to do. Not that I’m complaining, busy is good. Busy is always best as far as I am concerned. However, it does feel rather good to have reached a major milestone this week, so I thought I would take the opportunity of a slight lull in the proceedings (call it procrastination if you must) to put some thoughts into writing.

In July, New Place, Shakespeare’s home in Stratford Upon Avon, will re-open to celebrate his life and work and the 400th Anniversary of his death. Plans for the site include a number of Artist Installations inspired by his plays, a recreation of his gardens and the outline of what is thought to have been his house, and a brand new Visitors’ Centre. You can read more about it here.

In May 2015, I was invited to design a jewellery collection for New Place and in January, after months of researching, designing and testing, a Collection of 27 pieces was agreed and I began working on the first set of samples for publicity and display.

Yesterday, I delivered 24 pieces of finished jewellery to the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office for hallmarking. The sense of achievement I felt at having finally reached my first milestone, was huge. But the process to reach this point was fraught with stress, self-doubt and quite a few injuries! Despite several cuts from my saw blade, stabbings from my files and burns from my torch, I succeeded in producing a set of pieces that make me very, very proud.

Being commissioned to create a Collection for an organisation like the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is scary, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s also a challenge and it’s been a brilliant way to push myself beyond my comfort zone. At times, my perfectionism nearly got the better of me and I was often plagued by self-doubt, wondering why I was putting myself through this agonising process – surely an office job would be better – but I did it and I’m glad I had the courage to persevere and see it through.

So as I contemplate the next milestone – finalising the designs for three Signature pieces, two of which promise to push me even further away from what I know – I look forward to embracing the difficult tasks ahead and to reaching the next stage in this exciting journey.