Without further ado, let me reveal the 2 pieces that have made the cut!
First, the piece that is on show during NYC Jewelry Week. It is a brooch that I have called ‘Stronger Than You Think‘. It is also included in the virtual exhibition together with the second piece, a ring that I have named ‘No Longer A Sheep‘!
There are so many reasons why I am feeling incredibly grateful. For those who know me well, I am quite passionate, very spontaneous and genuine. So it took me some time to let the news sink in and really fully appreciate the meaning of it all.
The title of the show, ‘Hope is Resiliency’, instantly appealed.
I love telling stories through my designs. In my ready-to-wear collections the way I do that is usually by focusing on one particular detail of the story and giving it centre stage. The result is that the story is still there, deeply embedded but in a subtle, indirect way. Some people can see it, which is great, others just enjoy the design and that is fine too. Here, I have embraced the challenge of exploring the concept of narrative jewellery at length and of getting really creative, trying new concepts and pushing my own boundaries.
There was no brief to accompany the title and give some guidance, which was actually quite liberating for me. It meant that I could just enjoy researching, playing and experimenting with different ideas and interpretations. It was pure blue sky thinking!
The outcome is 2 striking one-off pieces of art jewellery that are both of the moment and deeply personal. They very much reflect my own experience but they are also universal in their meanings. They both look at what it means to be human, our ability to cope with life’s events and adjust. Everyone can relate to that.
Both pieces are based on a series of contradictions and oppositions.
The ‘Stronger Than You Think‘ brooch features a vintage screw, or more accurately the cast in cold porcelain of a vintage screw. Screws represent strength, stability, and power. Such a symbol fitted perfectly the occasion. At the same time, the shape of the screw itself with its twisted pin is also an illustration for life’s twists and turns. Nothing is perfectly linear or set forever. Furthermore, if we want to be totally exact, it is only half of a screw. Like the tip of the iceberg. No one can presume to know someone else’s whole story.
The ‘No Longer A Sheep‘ ring represents the head of a lion that I have casted from one of my vintage finds. That lion with its fierce, proud look and indomitable mane offered another angle of the same concept as the brooch, ie the idea that deep inside we have the resource, strength and will to bounce back.
Now moving on to the materials that I have chosen. I have used silver and cold porcelain. For both pieces I have deliberately contrasted precious and non precious, sturdy and fragile, light and dark, shiny and matte to emphasize the message.
By using cold porcelain, I wanted to introduce that element of fragility, of vulnerability and uncertainty. Cold porcelain is very malleable and pliable yet surprisingly resistant to shocks. I specifically chose a paste that has a very fine grain. That way you can get a very thin and delicate yet ever so slightly gritty texture, and an excellent level of detailing. Again perfect for my purpose. I had found the ideal medium to create a credible analogy with human life.
The choice of colours also plays an important role in the overall visual impact. I hand painted both pieces with multiple layers of different colours for extra depth. The brooch has a delicate pearlescent finish while the ring has had silver leaves applied on raised details.
The element of strength is introduced by the silver. I have used it not only as a decorative element but more importantly to give function and purpose to each of those 2 pieces. Without silver to create the fastening of the brooch or the band to the ring, none of them could exist.
And because I like to add extra details, each piece has a hidden surprise. One that only the wearer will know. I have hand cut the back of the brooch with a silhouette of the screw, and made the ring band adjustable. That way it feels the piece is even more personal and special to the wearer.
Taking Essemgé to the USA for the NYC Jewelry Week with SNAG
has been an incredible privilege and a unique opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. Embracing chances like this ultimately feed into my offering you with fresh and inspiring jewellery!
If you have enjoyed that, and would like more, including exclusive access to pre-launches and special offers, join the #EssemgeXMe Club today. Click on the link here.