Etsy Metal Challenge - Downton Abbey (or New Horizons part 7)

I recently applied and was accepted into the Etsy Metal Team (you can find out more about them here http://www.etsymetal.com/).  As a new member, I have to say, joining this team was a bit daunting.  It is a professional group where the majority of members make their living as Goldsmiths, designing and fabricating their pieces for sale on Etsy and elsewhere.  Their collective knowledge on all things jewellery related is astounding.  Navigating the on-line forum was a little difficult at first whilst the facebook group page was a great introduction to the team.

I thought that participation in one of Etsy Metal's Monthly Challenges would be a good way to feel more part of the group and less of a newcomer.

This month's challenge was to make a piece of jewellery inspired by the television series, Downton Abbey, a period drama set on a fictional Yorkshire country estate.  Having been recently transplanted to Yorkshire myself, this monthly challenge seemed to be made for me.


The inspiration for my design came from looking in detail at the costumes of the cast and the contrast between the image above and the simplicity of the wedding dress image below.


Downton Abbey is set in the post Edwardian era (post 1910).  For me, I think of this time as just before the explosion and radicalism of European Modernism.  Set against this backdrop, it makes you realise just how challenging this movement was.  This was the time when Adolf Loos (an Austrian architect) stood up and lectured on 'Ornament and Crime'.  It was a time of stripping back and examining what was good, pure and essential.  For me, the costumes in the first and second image perfectly pick up on this change.

I thought about the piece all month but many other responsibilities and work commitments meant I was fast approaching the end of the month and the deadline for the submission, with nothing to show for all my 'thinking time'.  Luckily, a little window of opportunity opened up on Friday so I set to work!

The Downton Abbey Necklace, Work in Progress, Friday 27 September 2013
I wanted to use 'Big Jaffa' my new hydraulic press so I made a new die from 12mm MDF.  I moved away from my organic pebble shapes and settled on a neat ellipse. The silver to be formed was textured first using some handmade lace that a good friend sent me.  I have kept it safe for a few years now, thinking that one day, the perfect project might come along which would allow me to use it.

I found a perfect little quote from Lady Grantham; 'I am a Lady Mary.  I can be as contrary as I like.' and used this on the back plate of the lace ellipse.

The last image, on the bottom far right, is what I found on my bench the next morning.  My oldest son had found 'a really amazing feather' and had put it on my peg for me.  The gesture was just so lovely, I kept it there all day and somehow managed to work round it!