London Design Festival 2017: the brief for the 10 international designers in the JeDeCo jewellery collective, was to design and make a piece of jewellery inspired by our own city. For me that meant London.
The things that we all love about London are as unique to us as our personalities. When you find what you love about the capital it can reveal the city’s and your own true colours. For me, it’s the river and its banks, especially the south side, where I live and work. I’m never very far from the Thames where the urban landscape meets the natural one.
As you wander along its banks you can see and feel the city and all its contrasts: The Southbank Skatepark, with the sound of skate wheels hitting concrete and the colourful graffiti splashed across its walls, tucked underneath the brutalist architecture of the Southbank Centre, in between iconic landmarks like the Eye and the Tate; the white lettering of the Greek Muses looking down from the flaky black painted brick walls of the Bargehouse into the courtyard behind the OXO Tower, with its cheeky logo windows; the foreshore with its beaches, stones and walls covered in river seaweed and signs you can’t see unless you get down there at low tide. This is what inspired my piece for the exhibit: Urban Graffiti No 2.
I live and work on a boat just a few miles downriver from Bankside and the South Bank, so the Thames is an integral part of my life. And even though I love the river, it can be demanding and greedy. Urban Graffiti No 2 has a companion piece that lies somewhere in the murky depths of the waters of the Thames, having been claimed by the merciless river gods the day after it was finished.
After working on it for over a week, Urban Graffiti No. 1 was being photographed on top of my boat on a beautiful, still, sunny day with not a cloud in the sky or a breath of air moving over the water. We stepped inside my boat for a short time to look at the photos and when we came back the light tent with the piece inside was gone: blown into the river by a stray gust of wind and swallowed up by the depths…so with the deadline looming I had to make Urban Graffiti No. 2. Maybe in the future someone will find that first piece and wonder what kind of people lived on the river’s banks at the time it was made. I only wish I’d had time to put my logo on it so they’d know it was me...
All of the works created by the ten resident designers for Kaleidscope: Urban will be on display in the JeDeCo gallery at the OXO Tower in the Bankside Design District during the London Design Festival (16 – 24 September, with late night opening on Thursday 20th Sept).