‘At The Back of the Drawer’


By Claire Skelton


This pair of objects was created from the treasures found at the back of the drawer in my studio. Among other items, I discovered a gold chain bracelet that once belonged to my grandmother. To retain a portrait of the past, I took an impression of it in delft clay and cast it in pewter. The precious metal of each link in the chain was deconstructed and reformed into a contemporary ring, using traditional skills. The ring shank was formed by melting, milling and forging the bracelet from an ingot. I used the technique of granulation to melt increasingly more chain links to build a graduated bridge of golden spheres, which reaches the last existing link. This work reflects the process I focus on in my practice; taking an unworn piece of jewellery, found at the back of a drawer and creating a second life for it. I am continually intrigued by how we handle our sentimental jewellery of the past. When making bespoke pieces for clients in this way, I found that the stories behind the original pieces were always unique. Though I heard the same phrase repeated, ‘it was sitting at the back of the drawer’. I heard this even more often during lockdown, as so many people engaged in the cathartic process of delving in to our collections of belongings and deciding to either; relinquish, retain or renew these things.


Materials: recycled 9ct yellow gold. (ring), recycled pewter (plaque). Measurements: Gold ring: Approx. 2cm in diameter. Pewter plaque: Approx. 9cm in diameter




Artist Bio

Claire trained in silversmithing and jewellery in Belfast and Finland. She now makes jewellery from her hometown outside Belfast. Her designs are drawn from her artwork that explores the value of the sentimental jewellery of the past, transforming it into contemporary pieces for the future. ‘I create bespoke jewellery, giving sentimental, heirloom gold new life by reworking the metal and forging a new, contemporary piece to be worn and enjoyed once again.’