Do things feel a little bit bland and samey lately? Have you noticed that while advertisers and the media tell us to embrace our individuality, they're simultaneously, corralling us into groups: labelling us, stamping us, and branding us with an expiry date?
As we move through the “stages” of life, we’re being pushed into doing things, feeling things, conducting ourselves in ways that maybe aren't us at all. These ideas infect our conversations. Shape our thinking. Influence the way we live...
At a recent social media seminar I was told that as a designer-maker I should have a target customer. I should know everything about her (because it has to be a woman, right?). I should give her a name and know how old she is. I should determine where she lives, shops, works, what she reads, drives, eats.. As someone who's not keen on labels it felt kind of wrong to try and box people in this way. Maybe it’s something that we all do all the time. Maybe we’re hardwired to stereotype and judge each other but does it make us feel good? Does it add something to our lives or make us feel less than we are?
The Colourful Little Nan's Photo Shoot
So a couple of weeks ago I met up with a small group of friends male, female, black, white, mixed-race, younger, older... There were boxes I’m sure we could all have been slotted into and yet as we sat in the colourful Little Nan’s bar in Catford, drinking cocktails out of teacups, laughing & chatting, and trying on some Molinera jewellery none of those mattered.. Meanwhile the talented Tessa Paine of Blatantly London casually shot
photos of us all, without any of us really noticing. The only thing we were aware of was the fact we were having a good time. So it was great every now and then to look up and catch my lovely friends playing with one of my Secret Container Pendants or making their point with a Point Across Ring on their finger, or looking incredibly cool in some Urban Graffiti.
For me designing and making a piece of jewellery is another way of telling a story. It’s an intimate process. You put a piece of yourself into something that later on a total stranger will wear close to their skin.
I would love to know what happens to a piece of work when it leaves me. I want to hear the stories of the people that wear it. I want to find out how something I have made plays even a small part in someone else’s life. - because
I love stories. We're all living in one. The huge,sprawling, ongoing tale of the human race connects us but within it we live our own story in unique, quirky, colourful ways.
I don’t want to imagine that we fit neatly into boxes and can be broken down into categories depending on our age, where we live, or the person we did or didn’t marry. I mean, check out this pic of the big cat and her partner….what's the story there? The love that dare not speak its name?! Miaowvellous!
Boxes Are For Jewellery, Not People
We’ve all got things in common. It’s one of the things that I love about people but the other is the fact that that we’re a law unto ourselves. The colourful lives that we have led and continue to lead are what interests and inspires me. There’s no way to know who the next person to tell you a great story is going to be, or what fabulous adventure you’ll star in yourself as the events of your life unfold. It’s easy to forget the amount of exotic colour there is to find out there and how much there is inside of you.
On this photo shoot, Tess really captured something about colourful living: not just the colour in her photos, or the colour in my jewellery but the colours of the people we know and of ourselves: our true colours. Who we are is always there, even when outside-forces seek to squeeze us into restrictive little boxes. Don’t be pushed and wedged awkwardly into one. Don’t be labelled. Resist being a statistic. Push back! Remind yourself that your next colourful moment is just around the corner and notice all the colour around you.
Share this post with all of the colourful people you know and leave a comment because I'd love to hear about…well, everything really
Photos by Blatantly London
The Talented Tessa stays out of the camera's eye but gets a sneaky picture of herself wearing her own Point Across Ring in this great mirror shot.
To see the full photo shoot on Blatantly London click here
For jewellery used in this shoot click links below