Tuesday, July 03, 2012

A Joyous Discovery.

Imagine you are rummaging through a little cupboard built in the wall of the very old building you rent as your shop, and squinting into the dark you come across a sealed box. You've got no idea what's in there, but when you blow off the dust and peel off the dry, flaking packing tape, you find...packets and packets of jewellery. Ordered by a client, and never sent.

Not only that, it's jewellery you made in 1985...magnificently of the period, slightly tarnished but with its glitter undiminished and it's been holding its breath for 25 years awaiting that crack of daylight so it can finally begin its journey out to find earlobes, necks and wrists to adorn.

Well, we happened to be at Ten2 Art Studio, Gallery and Cafe, our local art store, gallery and cafe, when this very event occurred. Our friend Rose Allinson, a jeweller by trade, opened her art shop in the late 1980s and I was among the first to rush in and buy the supplies I'd hitherto had to travel into the nearest city for. Still at school at the time, I watched and admired this busy woman single-handedly framing, creating things, teaching on the BCU jewellery degree and running her shop which was then on the first floor of one of Hinckley's oldest stretch of buildings; chilly, but with an impressive floor-to ceiling window and all sorts of intriguing corners. Rose was in fact my very first 'rep' of sorts, stocking my terribly abstract embroidered card creations in her shop (for about £2 each, expensive then - she did the same for Richard Hogg) occasionally handing over a few surprise quid when I'd pop in for scalpel blades or ink:
20-something years later, she's still overseeing the shop (without my cards in it!), but has over the years added workshops, a suite of rentable studios, a cafe, gallery and a Nepal-based charity, as well as continuing to make her jewellery. Along the way she's been joined by partner Linda, who brought some additional business savvy and ideas, and the pair have remained resolutely at the top of Castle Street when other shops in the town have come and gone in the blink of several recessional eyes. And so we shared their excitement and delight at the discovery of this amazing treasure trove as it sparked together the two ends of their story.

Here it is in all its glory. Made of hand-cut red, orange and blue perspex, inset with cubic zirconia, it is so perfectly early-to-mid 80s. The little cards the jewellery sit on are hand-cut, with pencil marks on the back for the earring posts. The hand-drawn linear design for the collar clip card is exquisite, and the choice of font perfect. You'd wear this, of course, on a loud coloured blouse with shoulder pads, and possibly some lace and/or pearl buttons, your hair teased to largesse, sprayed hard and with possibly one earring only (she has those too - single feather earrings, should they be to your taste).

The rubber bracelet closes snugly about any size of wrist, its connections looking like a cross between a Liquorice Allsort and bits of a motherboard from an Apple Lisa. The story goes that the whole lot was ordered by a Danish firm, made, and the order then cancelled.

Well, the Danes' loss is our gain. This is my stash. Sorry. But should you desire some of your own (I know Fig Taylor does, and it has raised envious eyebrows wherever it's been seen) it will be available for sale in our shop soon. It requires a little buffing and re-packing before it's fit to be sold, but hang on in there - it will appear in due course.

The jewellery has joined some other pieces from my collection. I've kept as much jewellery as I possibly can - that which didn't surrender to the rigours of a teenager's dusty bedroom, a humid bathroom, neglect, ozone-destroying hairpspray and time itself. Much is lost to the recycling bins, but these pieces survived and are still regularly worn today. If only I'd done the same for my clothes!

Top Shop, 1987 - as big as they look!

Trip to USA, 1989 - not as heavy as they look!

Gift from parents - vintage store - dates from 1985; lovely eh?

Trip to Toronto with ex-boyfriend's parents, 1988, and made of painted leather:

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