Sense of Place – Final Pieces

I’d taken inspiration from a ‘Feeling’ of place rather than a physical place itself. I wanted to use that feeling of freedom and escapism and translate that into a piece of jewellery. On my adventures, I discovered that this feeling was at its strongest when by the ocean. My favourite moments of my Fuerteventura holiday were when I was sitting up on the edge of the rocky cliff face overlooking the sea. There was something very peaceful about this followed by this overwhelming feeling of getting lost that I felt inspired to pursue this with my designs. I looked at the contrast between the harsh lava rock formations that towered over a peaceful ocean and began designing from here. I traced shapes from photographs I’d taken of the cliffs, lava rock and patterns I’d found in the waves, ground and other surroundings, finding shapes to begin designing with.


Although the brief asked for just one final piece, I have created two (and just finishing a third!). Here they are:


These are made with silver and resin.

The first piece is a pair of earrings. I created a fold form of squares with an odd, geometric shape. I covered this shape with a thin layer of resin which I’d given a grey pigment. I used the frosting wheel to give the fold form element some light texture and a matt finish. I used square wire for the stem and for the stud element I used a piece of cast lave rock which I sawed into two parts. I’m overall very pleased with these. I’ve added depth, texture and a pop of colour. They are comfortable to wear but also sit nicely and are just the right length. I still need to work on my square piercing and filing technique, along with folding them so it’s a nice, clean fold with no bending in any other areas. I feel for this piece I did that well.




Made using silver, resin and steel.

My second piece was quite challenging. I created a geometric frame which I then added an extra piece of wire to for added structure as I wanted to create a towering effect (like the cliff face in Fuerteventura overlooking the ocean). I pierced out my square form and after cleaning up with emery paper and needle files I gave it a satin finish and some light texture using a frosting wheel. I then used the score and fold method to give the piece some dynamic. I mixed resin with a grey pigment and coated the two geometric shapes hiding amongst the squares to add a pop of colour. I riveted this square formed piece to the frame. I used some fine square wire to create a claw setting, holding a piece of cast lava rock into place, which I oxidised with liver of sulphur. I used steel wire for the brooch pin.


A third piece is currently being completed.




Sense of Place -Final Design Possibilities

Here are my A3 boards of potential final design outcomes.For the first brooch ideas I was looking at layering fold formed square patterns on top of one another to create some depth. I pierced out a lot of copper samples but after a lot of thought, I decided it was just too much silver in one piece for a poor student! I contemplated cutting out a layer in copper and oxidising it or reticulating small pieces of silver on top. I decided against these ideas and continued my development.

brooch1 slides

After further development on the brooch designs, I looked at combining the geometric frames with the square forms. This would save a lot on the amount of sheet silver I’d be using and also brings the two directions I was taking back together. After sampling a few shapes and layering, I found it was all too flat and after more development I created a frame with some extra structure to layer the square forms over. I looked at adding some coloured resin to give the pieces some colour.

brooches2 SOP

I began designing with earrings, looking at square wire frames and how they’d be created. I attempted to design a frame in Rhino and then 3D printed it. I used the model to create a rubber mould which works pretty well but feel maybe the frames are perhaps a bit bigger than I’d like. I then continued development on the earrings concept, looking at casting elements to incorporate and then moved on to the square fold forms once more. After some paper samples to decide on my favourite layout, I attempted a copper sample and was very pleased with the outcome. In the end I decided to incorporate some cast lava rock to the final earring design.


Final pieces will be in the next post!


Sense of Place – Research & Development Boards

An upload of A3 boards I created in Photoshop displaying my research and development process which of course has lead to my final designs (a new blog will be uploaded for this).


The first board is just to show my trail of thought. I was looking at places I had good memories both from childhood and recent years, people, books/movies/music, a personal journey, the feeling I get from a certain place/environment and transferring this into something tangible. And so on.


This board is just to show that I was taking colour seriously. Having chosen to go with a ‘feeling’ as a sense of place and that place being a state of freedom and escapism, it was important to not only pick colours that reflect my own personality, but colours that relate to triggering those feelings. Within my sketchbook I’ve looked into many colours and what feelings they are supposed to provoke in us and also looked at how they connect to our Chakras, bringing it back to that spiritually free feeling. These are the colours I narrowed my decisions down to and why. Not only are they best suited to me personally, they represent exactly the feelings I was hoping to resonate with.

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The following slides are my research and development boards. I looked into the travels I’ve taken – New Zealand, Fuerteventura and Iceland. These places have all triggered that incredible feeling and it’s often because I am out in nature and by the sea.

Slide 2 - SOP copy

Slide 3 - SOP

I found a way to translate that feeling into physical  inspiration from these memories by tracing shapes out of the lava rock, the ocean waves, cliff faces, pathways and walls. This is demonstrated in the next few slides, incorporating  sketchbook images into the A3 boards.

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Slide 6 - SOP

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I went on to sample some of my favourite designs. I looked at some earring designs and thought about adding colour with the use of resin. I looked at possible manufacturing techniques such as creating frames with square wire, or by 3D printing a frame and casting it, or creating a rubber mould for repeat casting. I also looked at other elements I could use within the piece to bring it further to that physical place. I ended up creating a rubber mould using a piece of lava rock I brought back from Iceland. This mould happened to work fantastically and so I continued to push designs further here to try and incorporate this element into at least one of the final pieces.

Slide 7 - SOP

I also looked into brooch designs. I focused mainly on the geometric shapes originally and eventually started to incorporate fold form squares into the frames. Again, looking at square wire and piercing out silver sheet and looking into adding resin again for that pop of colour. These were all looking a little too flat however so developed further to add more structure and depth to the potential finished piece.

SOP - Slide 9

These are the research and development boards. A new blog will have the A3 boards of possible design outcomes.


Sense of Place – Finalising

In the last post I talked about the geometric frame ideas I had and the earring concepts I’d been working on. However, I was loving the square fold forms I’d been working with in the previous brief and have tried to incorporate them now into this brief. As much as I love the designs I’ve had earlier, I feel I need something more.

I’ve started to combine both the geometric frames I’ve been playing around with as well as the square forms from previous block. I’ve come up with some brooch designs, using the geometric shapes as a wire frame and filling the frame and adding depth with the layered, fold-formed squares. I was originally going for squares on squares (as seen in left image below). I loved this effect but it was using up far too much silver. I thought about using copper and oxidising it, or reticulate small pieces of silver over it but I wasn’t too impressed with these ideas. I loved the frame idea but when sampling, I thought it was all a bit too flat.


After more designs and contemplation I decided to add a frame to the structure, creating more depth. Looking at the Fuerteventura rock faces overlooking the sea and their textures and forms has really helped here as the forms I’m creating by folding the squares are giving a nice, visual effect and towering over the frame.


Further development below, (attempting to draw) some 3D frames to give the square forms more height and depth like the cliff face in the pictures above.


I’ve been sampling using the shapes I’ve found by tracing over pictures from Fuerteventura and Iceland, creating frames. I’m liking this idea very much and looking at possible materials.


I’m thinking 1.5mm square wire for the frame and 0.7mm silver sheet for the squares. I’m looking at connecting the two parts using either solder or rivets. Although the clean up with be very difficult if I solder so I am pretty sure rivets will be the route to go down. I’m also considering adding a little resin to add a pop of colour or perhaps a little stone setting. I’d love to add my cast piece of lava rock which I found in Iceland, so will continue finalising ideas. Almost there now!



Sense of Place – Further Progression

In order to create some interesting shapes and get the ball rolling, I gathered pictures from my trips (Fuerteventura / Iceland) and began tracing the shapes I’d found within the surfaces of rock, walls and other places. My initial ideas were pretty simple and mostly earring concepts. I also focused mainly on the odd geometric shapes I’d discovered as I prefer these to the squares I’ve been using. Below are a few sketchbook pages of where I took inspiration, how I worked with different shapes and different techniques I was looking into, such as 3D printing, rubber mould making, casting and mixing silver and resin.



As much as I love my earring concepts and will continue playing with these in my personal projects, I decided to challenge myself more. I went back to squares and began layering and forming them, similarly to what I’d done with The Street brief. I wasn’t completely feeling this either however, as I much prefer working with the off-kilter, geometric shapes, so I’m attempting to combine the two after doing some development work and sampling.





Sense of Place – Iceland Inspiration

My latest adventure took me to the land of fire and ice, stunning Iceland. This was a surprise gift from my mum and sisters to celebrate a ‘special’ (and terrifying!) birthday. My hotel was situated right in the heart of Reykjavik, with my hotel just across the street from the iconic Music Hall, The Harpa! Needless to say, my 3 days spent here were highly inspiring and I found countless photo opportunities to incorporate into my new brief.

It was easy to get inspired with so much natural beauty surrounding me. My first day was spent exploring the cities sweet cafes and obscure restaurants, followed by a Northern Lights boat tour. The second day I explored the snowy, city gardens and quirky little shops and art studios, followed by the most luxurious experience at the famous Blue Lagoon. We entered the Lagoon around 7:30pm so by this time it was dark and you could see the steam from the warm water rise into the cold air and the stars lit up the sky, looking like a connect the dots puzzle, with Orion’s belt glowing strong and the odd shooting star flying by. The last time I’d seen the sky lit up like this was around 10 years ago in a rural town called Te Akau, in New Zealand. The final day was the most inspiring when my mother and I took the express tour around the Golden Circle. I would have loved to stay longer to truly absorb the beauty but we had a flight to catch that evening and made it back just in time! We stopped to walk between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, then moved onto seeing the Geysers in Strokkur, followed by the stunning Selfoss, Glacial Waterfalls with an abundance of snowy landscapes in-between.

Below are some pictures I collected on my trip which has provided inspiration for designs and samples to soon follow – Shapes within an art studio mirror (the artist apparently works on the Game of Thrones set!), the blue lagoon paving, rocky cliff faces and the Harpa music hall windows. Along with the beauty of nature – Geysers and waterfalls. I also love the mix of colours in the picture of the geyser; a pleasant mix of yellow, grey and blue.

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Whilst exploring Iceland, I found a lot of lava rock which I also found a lot of in Fuerteventura. I decided to bring some home (on both occasions) in an attempt to make my own little souvenirs. However, today I decided to create a rubber mould from a tiny piece I collected from the Reykjavik shore. The lava rock is very porous and honestly I thought the attempt would be a write off but I am very pleasantly surprised by the results and am now designing to potentially incorporate this into my work!


The pieces look a little weird in this picture and I will have to take a higher quality image to show the details better but I love how organic the wax injections look! Further design work to follow shortly. Thank you Iceland for an inspirational escape! I will see you again one day.


A little video extra of the glacial waterfalls. (Had we gone just a few days earlier on the Golden Circle tour everything would have been green!)



Sense of Place – Sketchbook Development

I’m really liking the direction I’m taking with the sketchbook, although still LOADS of ideas I’m trying to get down on paper! Here’s a few shots of sketchbook development. I’ve been doing a little 3D printing relating to my sketchbook work. Seeing the pieces come to life really helps with seeing the potential outcome and what does and doesn’t work. Still lots of work to do! I’m currently looking at potential earring or pendant frames as well as some 3D faceted shapes. Excited to keep pushing these ideas further to see what I come up with. I’ve been using CAD software Rhino to create these pieces, I then saved them as STL files and connected the PC to my 3D printer. (The 3D printer isn’t anything crazy, can’t afford that! However, it does what I need it to; gauge the size of a piece and see what does and doesn’t work and what I can change). The print isn’t clean like with a wax filament (the printer uses PLA), however, with some of the designs, I am able to emery and file them down to a smooth surface. I will attempt to create some rubber moulds and test if this works and the small pieces I can attempt to cast, so long as the pieces can be cleaned up enough. If I find a design I am particularly happy with but doesn’t clean up well enough for either process then I can send the file to shape ways to print.


I’ve made some mock up frames by hand. First I used 2mm round copper wire, I put this through the draw plate to make the wire square (I love this machine!). I then used a ruler to mark where I wanted to score the meal to create the desired shape. I used a triangular needle file to manoeuvre the metal into shape and soldered into place. I made a few random designs to test out the process.


I then went on to test this design with silver square wire, gave the frame a satin finish using the frosting wheel, then continued to fill them with resin which I mixed with a grey pigment. I really liked the larger frame design and was curious to see how this would look as a piece of jewellery and if it would sit well e.t.c. Safe to say I am really happy with the silver sample, the way the earrings sit is how I’d hoped. Need a clean up though and would take more care in making the frame and adding the resin. This was all done by hand and quite tricky getting the pair to exactly match (as I didn’t measure properly with the ruler), so again, would spend more time and care on this process. This is a very early design so looking to progress further but a lovely pair to keep for myself!


Some sketchbook development work below to show my process and how I’ve gotten to this stage.

Taking inspirational images and tracing shapes from them. Giving them more angles and then manipulating them by layering or cutting in half to generate potential pieces of jewellery. So far I’ve just touched on a few pendant and earring designs, but still a lot more to try out along with potential rings/brooches.


Sense of Place – Making Decisions


As stated in previous blogs I don’t really have a specific location that generates inspiration for me. I’ve grown up in Edinburgh which doesn’t feel like ‘home‘ and as much as I love London, I have not spent much time here to call it home or to use this as a source of inspiration. I don’t have a physical place I can say is home and so I looked to feelings that generate that place I want to build on. I’ve mentioned that I find being by the ocean blissful. Being in that state of ‘freedom‘ is my sense of place. I’ve also touched on meditation and how this calms and pulls your mind into a relaxed, free feeling state. It also connects to our chakras and our spiritual being, in my opinion, another reason why we feel so free, because for a short time we are connected to our true selves, our subconscious, spiritual selves, not in the busy, physical hustle and bustle of the ‘now’ state that we are made to believe is our true state, the way humanity was supposed to live. I completely disagree.

Looking at this on a deeper level, we are not really physical ourselves, we are energy. Everything is made up of energy. This isn’t some made up belief, this is science. We are energy and vibrate at different frequencies which continually fluctuate dependant on our mood. This free feeling is a state of high energy. This is when I feel most alive.


I have used shapes I’ve traced and manipulated from pictures I’ve taken of lava rock, cliff faces, ocean waves and patterns within the walls and paving. I have researched colour, looking at the feelings they apparently trigger within us but also looking at the colour that surrounds me in these bright, oceanic scenes. I’m drawn to grey, lilac and turquoise (all shades I’ve found in my pictures of the ocean) and yellow which makes a nice, bold contrast to these colours and represents the bright, sunny weather. There was also a lot of blue and green but I’m not a big fan of either on their own but love the mixed colours such as Aqua, Turquoise, Teal etc.

After looking into the chakras and meanings of colour, Yellow stood out as it’s a colour which promotes happiness and energy and is also focused on the Solar Plexus chakra, relating to personal strength; The freedom of thought, intellect and confidence. I feel this is so relevant to my ‘Sense of Place’. Purple is also a colour which really stands out and is relevant to my interpretation of the brief. As this colour relates to creativity and spirituality. There are so many shades however and purples are connected to both the Crown and Third Eye chakra. They relate to knowingness and intuition. Again, strongly linking to my direction with the brief. The union of body and soul, self-realisation.

Materials & Techniques Contemplation

Ok, I probably sound like a right hippie! I’ve taken the briefs given in the past quite light heartedly, with not much depth of concept behind them and now I really want to dig into something that really means something to me and this is the perfect opportunity.

I am looking at 3D printing and casting techniques for this piece (more to come on this), whether it be a frame, shape or an element to add to the piece. I’ve had loads of ideas but looking to keep design more simple this time. I often go overboard and in some cases, ruin my end piece because I’m trying to put a lot of different techniques into one piece. This is because I’m always pushing myself to learn more. I may be learning, but my finish needs to be clean at this stage. I’m in my final college year now and have decided to just hone in on a couple of my favourite techniques and try to make them look as good as I can. Stone Setting and Resin happen to be my favourite ways of adding colour. For this brief I am contemplating stone setting, however, I have been really drawn to resin here. I know this is not everyones favourite alternative material but over the last 2 years I have learned to use it in different ways and will continue to use this as I grow as a jeweller. Sorry, resin stays.
So, potential 3D printing, casting, stone setting and resin. I’m keeping an open mind and just going with my gut on this one.


Sense of Place – Research Progression

I chose my sense of place to be based on a ‘feeling’ rather than a physical place. However, I have been doing research into colours, places and even meditation, all the things that bring that ‘free’ feeling to life for me. I noticed a recurring pattern in when I feel this sense of freedom and happiness after looking through some photographs. In 2006 I spent a couple of months travelling the north island of New Zealand. Often out in nature and by the sea. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I pulled out some pictures that reminded me of those feelings; Canoeing by waterfalls, whale and dolphin boat trips, thermal pools and geyser parks.  I also noticed this from pictures when I visited Santa Susanna, Spain in 2014 that having the ocean right at the front door was the highlight. Then my most recent trip to Fuerteventura being most prominent with it being so recent. The pattern is I am away from bustling cities and large groups of people. There’s no television or internet, it’s all natural surroundings. I suppose most people get this overwhelming tranquil feeling when they are no longer around the influence of the media and the pollution and noise these cities bring. This also ties in the meditation part as meditation gives you a moment to get yourself into the right head space, bringing good feelings forward and setting you up for the rest of your day. Honestly, I don’t meditate very often as I do get too distracted but it’s great for calming my mind or if I’m particularly having a bad day.

I also found these feelings were strongest by the sea. If the ocean is nearby I am at my happiest. (This probably explains my desire to live on a boat!). Below are some of my pictures from what I’ve just explained.

New Zealand

Santa Susanna, Spain




I’ve put my focus into my trip to Fuerteventura as this is the most recent trip and so the memories and feelings are strongest. Pictures are also better quality making my research that little bit easier. I’ve been using pictures from the holiday to generate shapes and structures and have started some design ideas. So more to come on this. Whilst I was away, I found some lovely shapes and textures within the pathways and walls and also the cliff face and lave rock. This is all helping towards the design process and I’ve managed to create some great shapes from the pictures below!

I’ve been able to continue my geometric shapes thanks to my findings and I’ve had lots of inspiration. Colour is something I’ll come back to soon.


Sense of Place – I Am

The new brief is titled ‘A sense of place’. This can be interpreted in my own way, narrative or abstract and hopefully tying to my previous pieces from ‘The Street’ brief as the aim in our final year is to create a body of work that flows, creating our own ‘identity’ as a jeweller. Whether I will accomplish the tying of two different briefs together or not I am not sure, I am just going to focus on the new project keeping my colours and shapes in mind. Hopefully, this will work out.

The initial thought with this brief is to take inspiration from a familiar place, for me, that would be Edinburgh as this is the city I have grown up in and made my memories and had many experiences. However, this concept doesn’t fuel any inspiration. I thought about this some more. I was born in Islington, London but raised in Edinburgh from around 3 months old, therefore, I have no memories whatsoever of London. This for me is rather upsetting as I happen to love London. I don’t visit this city often as I don’t know any of my family from there but I do get that sense of feeling we call ‘home’ when I do visit the city. This again, was a path I feel I could not go down as it’s not personal for me, there are just not many memories made here that I can work with for this brief.


I have taken a deeper look into this title and tried looking outside the box. I started a mind map of my thoughts; places, people, memories, music, my location within the world, the worlds location within the solar system, the universe itself and it can go on and on. I have memories with my Grandmother that pull me to a place, her home, the smells, the conversations, really wonderful memories. Music played a huge part in my life before I began jewellery as I had spent many years as a musician, gigging, writing, collaborating and this was an exciting time for me. So I can combine many streams which link and connect into one.  I then realised that I myself am a sense of place. This really ties it all together for me. No-one knows me better than I know myself. My feelings change depending on my environment, the weather, the people I am surrounded by, a location, when I am alone. I’ve really gotten to know myself well the last few years and I happen to love spending time alone. I can think, I can work, I can exercise. I love my solitude and the peace I feel in my own space, it’s a similar feeling to meditation, where it’s calm, relaxed and you can free your mind. I think this is the direction I have been most drawn to. My inner self. I’m going to do research based around this feeling of ‘freedom’ looking at the memories, places, environment and even my spiritual beliefs that bring that feeling of freedom out as this is where I am truly happy. This is the ‘Sense of Place’ I want to focus on.