If I had to describe what precious metals mean or express to me, I would say purity; clarity; beauty; strength; wealth; joy; love; wisdom; grace; quality, which are all the things I aim to show and inspire with my piece. The message I would like to convey through my design is that “Love Protects”. We are all different and I believe that this is something that we should protect and celebrate, rather than fight against and reject.
Through my research I was inspired by armour and shields, poetry, ancient philosophies and cultures, I also discovered that in Chinese culture, which is one of the oldest civilisations on earth and therefore one of the most complex, gold and especially silver play important roles, not only because they shows wealth and status, but also because since old times silver is considered an earthly element, the best of luck, and the colour of emperors. Silver and gold are used in many important celebrations associated with the Chinese tradition. Silver is used in the making of their dragons – a traditional symbol of The Spring Festival, the dragon is thought to overcome obstacles until success is his. He is energetic, decisive, optimistic, intelligent, ambitious, and symbolises divine protection. Dragons (which have inspired some of the shapes and forms of my design) are often seen in pursuit of jade, which has been the most highly esteemed stone in China throughout recorded history, and was valued for its beauty and powers of healing and protection. Jade signifies wisdom gathered in tranquillity, dispelling the negative and encouraging one to see oneself as they really are, which signifies my message in this piece and the reason I have chosen to incorporate elements of it.
I have designed my piece for the part of the body that I feel plays the biggest role in the act of protection- the hand.
The separate, stackable components are concaved, and depending on which way up they are positioned, have the potential to interlock or pivot in place. Various things gave me the inspiration for this concaved shape during my research, such as helmets and shields, used as protection in war, the way we “cup” our hands to protect something delicate that we are holding, the claws of the dragon which is relevant to my theme, maybe even an umbrella that shelters us from the rain.
Like a puzzle the components can be rearranged and stacked in different combinations, allowing the wearer to have involvement in the final structure.
Five of the symmetrical components will be made up of eight silver rods or tubes, which will be soldered in a “star-shape” formation around a central point, where a hole will allow them to be threaded onto a single rod, holding them in alignment. The top of this central rod and the top component will have a tap and die mechanism, to keep the stacked components in place. The other two components will be disc-like. The middle component will also be the structure that fits onto the hand around the palm and middle finger, positioning the stack of forms on the back of the hand. Each of the components will have its own character, with elements of gold incorporated.