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RAE 2008

Rearch Assessment Exercise 2008

Alan Craxford

My research interests include:
Producing and developing ongoing collection of one off jewellery pieces in precious materials; developing symbolic larger vessel forms in Silver to incorporate traditional decorative techniques into contemporary form; exploring the impact of a turning movement on the meaning of these pieces; devising effective design solutions to harmonise these aspects into meaningful beautiful objects.

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Research Outcomes

Outcome 1 - Earth Air Fire Water
This research project saw the development of previously explored themes (in relation to cross-cultural imagery, notably the Mandala form) through extension of scale and translation into object production. Through the extension of technique and physical interaction, from worn piece to animated object, the artefacts seek to reference the symbolic use of the Tibetan Prayer Wheel as a possibility for contemplation.
Through the application of traditional techniques to vessel forms, the project introduced colour from both gilding and vitreous enamels in addition to the light-reflecting surfaces of hand engraving. Spinning or slowly turning these pieces on their individual stone plinths creaters a sense of animation and this interaction provides both concept and meaning to the work.


Outcome 2 - Collect
A group of Mandala brooches in 18ct gold set with diamonds formed the collection for this exhibition.
Further testing the symbolic use of circular, large scale jewellery brooches from earlier research, through the translation of metals and the inclusion of diamonds, the research enabled further aesthetic translations of spiritual cross-cultural concepts. In addition, a continuing theme, seeking to optimise the aesthetic & technical marriage between traditional craft skills and new technology within jewellery, was further extended through the inclusion of laser welding within complex formation techniques. This enabled challenges within the hand engraving vocabulary to be used to focus upon a variety of approaches in order to exploit differing light reflective qualities.


Outcome 3 - Art as a Jewel
This project included the development of two precious Mandala brooches utilising new technologies and the inaugural showing of jewellery within a silversmithing context. Following earlier jewellery research into spiritual iconography, the project saw the explicit development of negative/positive imagery and coloration through the use of 18ct white gold (with yellow diamonds) and yellow gold (with white diamonds).
The artefacts also saw the development of an individual design language within hand engraving processes, usually applied to traditional decoration / inscription only, to enable animation of form & surface. Having the opportunity to work solely with precious materials enabled the designs to extend scale, wearability and technical ambition within artefacts. The two brooches were constructed solely with laser welding technology.


Outcome 4 - Alan Craxford - Jeweller
This exhibition, at the Roger Billcliffe Gallery, enabled the first solo showing of Craxford's individual art-based artefacts as well as the development of new jewellery pieces. Following invitiation, the project provided a structured forum within which to position and articulate research themes prevalent within recent and ongoing jewellery design and production. Through this, the formalisation of spiritual and cross-cultural imagery, iconography and aesthetics informed the development of new work.
A broad range of work was shown, of which several aspects have now become signature pieces of work; mandala brooches, heavily engraved rings set with unusual coloured gem stones, drop earrings in gold set with coloured stones, engraved to create light reflecting pattern forms when in movement.


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