1st PRIZE - CHLOE LEWIS JEWELLERY
A couple of months ago saw another surge of jewellery and silversmith graduates enter the industry, fresh with amazing talent and creativity, we wanted to do something to support those new in to the craft.
We introduced the Vanilla Ink Graduate Prize for the first time and we picked two lucky winners to receive a handful of prizes that will hopefully help kickstart their leap in to the trade.
The first prize went to Chloe Lewis a DJCAD graduate specialising in art jewellery, we have taken the time to interview Chloe for our readers to get to know more about her and her amazing work.
Vanilla Ink: Chloe, you won the Vanilla Ink Graduate Award 1st Prize, congratulations. We were seriously impressed by not only the physical appearance of your beautiful work but the depth to which you created it, to the impact, the meaning and the power behind each piece.
Can you tell our readers, what brought you to making jewellery?
Chloe: While growing up I was strongly influenced by my Uncle spending hours in his workshop, he made everything from tiny hand carved boats to jewellery.
I quickly became obsessed with making and started to collect found objects to make into jewellery (my first necklace made from snail shells still has a proud place in my mums jewellery box). When I left school it was important to me to one day have a career I was passionate about and I knew jewellery was something I loved.
Vanilla Ink: Were you encouraged to pursue this career and what support did you get?
Chloe: Up until my last year at university my family couldn't see a career in jewellery and I was always encouraged to follow something academic. But my love of making and my passion for jewellery helped me to stay motivated and I'm so happy and proud I did.
Vanilla Ink: You moved to Scotland to complete your jewellery degree at the incredible DJCAD, what impact has that had on you and your making?
Chloe: Absolutely, DJCAD is such an amazing place to study and moving all my way from Middlesbrough really helped to immerse myself into the course. Being surrounded by art students really creates a buzz and an atmosphere which is really exciting and keeps you motivated no matter what. After 3 years of living in Dundee I have completely fell in love with Scotland and I cant wait to move back in September.
Vanilla Ink: Seems we can’t keep you away, it will be brilliant to have you back in Scotland.
Your jewellery brings impact, not just in the way it looks but it’s awareness it is creating, can you tell us a bit more about that, what are you trying to create with your pieces?
Chloe: When I first started 4th year I knew I wanted to create statement pieces which were both sculptural and wearable but apart from that my theme made everything fall into place. From the beginning of my project I selected materials based on their ability to change, creating parallels of the Arctic and Climate Change. I wanted my collection to speak for itself through the materials and media I used, each piece having a true identity and appearance of the Arctic. Through creating a parallel between water casting pewter and temperature change I wanted to create evidence of change and impact of the Arctic Ocean. People have often said my pieces look as if they have 'been found on a different planet' or as if they have been 'dug up from the ocean floor'. Intentionally I wanted each piece to look as if it was growing and clustering each piece larger in size. Photography also plays a big part in my collection as it was important to me to express the inspiration of sea surface temperature and capturing the movement of the water. Creating conversation and awareness of Climate Change.
Vanilla Ink: You definitely capture a beauty through your photography that amplifies it’s inspiration and meaning. Who do you want to attract with your wearable art?
Chloe: It is important to me to create a surprise especially when i'm talking face to face with someone about my work. I firstly wanted to attract people who are also passionate about jewellery because of the appearance but then for them to understand its factual inspiration which created it, triggering further thoughts and possibilities of climate change art.
Vanilla Ink: How do you achieve that without the face to face interaction?
Chloe: This is something I am working on for my new collection as it is important for me to create as much information about my process and inspiration as possible to create awareness. This will most probably be through the packaging of purchased items. So far I use social media and my website as a way to communicate this.
Vanilla Ink: The process you went through to create your work is fascinating, can you share with our readers how you go about making your work? Do you rely solely on the water casting, how do you then work in to them further?
Chloe: Sea surface temperature in the Arctic Ocean is fluctuating because of Climate Change I wanted to present the impact this is having through water casting different metals into a range of temperatures. This is the starting point of each piece as the temperature change alters the scale and fragility of each outcome. My design process is very playful and I love trying new things and often happy accidents occur. Each piece is completely one off and unique.
Vanilla Ink: You didn’t just win the Vanilla Ink Graduate Prize, it seems you caught the attention of many others, how has that impacted you and your work?
Chloe: I am so grateful and amazed at all of the positive feedback and awards I have been given over the past months it took a while for everything to settle in. It has given me more confidence and most importantly excitement and motivation to get back into the workshop and make. I have so many new ideas and I cant wait to develop on my collection and to present new work.
Vanilla Ink: We are really excited for what’s to come but what is your favourite piece you have created thus far?
Chloe: My favourite piece is the first large statement ring I created out of the collection, this is because I was so uncertain about how my finished pieces were going to look but then I created this piece and everything started to fall into place. I started to feel confident and proud about where the project was going.
Vanilla Ink: Where do you see you taking your jewellery next, if you could dream your jewellery to be in any place where would it be and why
ChIoe: would love for one day to have my jewellery as part of a climate change art exhibition, this is where I want to see my pieces and this is something I will continue to work towards in the future. Along side this I am also working on a commercial collection to sell on notonthehighstreet.com this is also something I cant wait to see happen!
Thanks again for the award Kate!