Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Beaded cross

The catwalks are bristling with crucifixes, and it's hard to find a t-shirt without a sparkly metallic cross printed or marked out in studs on it. This fashion, where does it come from? If you google the question, there is a hot debate about fashionistas adopting an overtly christian symbol. Even the Vatican got involved when Mr Beckham was seen sporting a rosary in a high end photo shoot.
Some argue that it's a social commentary against secularism, some that it all began with a band called Justice...
As you know, I like to have a design series on the go,  Symbols and Trinkets, is proving hugely enjoyable, delving into the art history books and jewellery collections in museums for inspiration.
In the  jewellery room at the Victoria and Albert Museum, there are breathtaking examples of crosses, which is where I found the inspiration for this one.
a beaded Cross
I spent my school years surrounded by ornate and beautiful religious architecture and symbolism; also by joyfully strong minded, humorous women who chose to devote their lives to faith.They taught me that, to be really good at something was not the point, to continue trying to be better at something was the honest devotion.
I'm inspired by the way an object can tell a story about an era or a culture and in so doing, be instantly recognisable as from that time or place. How everything we wear has a story or meaning, both personal and cultural. for me this is a fascinating language to explore.
The cross I've designed to fit with my other symbol pieces is indeed following a fashion trend, if you choose to view it that way.
But it also has considered layers of meaning; Moving elements inspired by worry beads and prayer wheels, a central thorny crown, but also inspired by meditation mandalas. It features caged pearls like the jewelled buttons on a reliquary I saw during my visit to Germany earlier in the year, but also because they are the oldest symbol of purity in folklore and mythology. As always in this series, there is a secret place to hide a snippet of paper for a prayer, wish or affirmation, This idea is inspired by personal talisman pieces, perhaps containing a scrap of sainted bone, cloth or an item blessed at a place of pilgrimage. The tiny Tibetan silver prayer boxes given to children and worn through their lives, containing a prayer unique and auspicious to the individual. or medicine pouches filled with herbs and crystals, brought together to protect the wearer.