The Re:Work project was a further investigation into the identity of objects.

Jeweller Anthony Roussel kindly donated two of his beautiful bangles for the project, which I proceeded to rework into new items of jewellery (seen above).

The following is an extract from an essay about the project:

"Making an object instigates two conversations – one between the material and the maker, and one between the maker and the viewer. These conversations are both needed to bring the object into being – to use Heidegger’s term “Dasein”, being both in and of the world. Conversations are the foundation for evolution of both thought and design, a progression from Arendt’s animal laborans to Homo Faber.

“The making of an artifact is a social act, for the object (whether an art work or instead an object of everyday use) is intended as something that will both enter into and itself elicit human responsiveness…” 
(Scarry, E: The Body In Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World pg 175)

The conversational space between object and user is filled with ideas and expectations, a space where each brings their own concepts and memories to met in the middle in a place unique to each person.
Exploring this space from the point of view of the maker is difficult; I am tied up in my own conversations with the object I am making. It talks to me in terms of material and I feed back with ideas about aesthetic in a gentle to-and-fro that ends with an object neither of us planned or predicted. The user, on the other hand, is seeing this object with fresh eyes, without witness to its raw material state or the different design ideas it travelled through before reaching its conclusion. In order to place myself in a position of both maker and user I began to use, as raw material to create with, finished items from others jewelers I know.

This opened up an interesting space with unexpected repercussions. The most pronounced being other people’s reactions to the project. The participating jewelers themselves were quite enthused, and keen to see their pieces reworked. Yet the end users – potential owners of the jewellery – were horrified. “You’re doing what?!” was a common reaction to my plan to cut up one of Anthony Roussel’s award-winning wooden bangles.

This reaction concurred with my own reservations about the project. It feels painful to cut through the finished bangle. This would turn my tool – the bandsaw – into a violent weapon.

“The weapon and the tool seem at moments indistinguishable, for they may each reside in a single physical object (even the clenched fist of a human hand may be either a weapon or a tool)… if one holds the two side by side in front of the mind – a hand (as weapon) and a hand (as tool), a knife (weapon) and a knife (tool), a hammer and a hammer, an ax and an ax – it is then clear that what differentiates them is not the object itself but the surface on which they fall.”
(Scarry, E, as above, pg 173)

This reaction demonstrates how we anthropomorphise objects, developing an empathetic relationship with certain objects that we find beautiful.
Beautiful objects retain their anthropomorphic quality because “something, or someone, gave rise to their creation and remains silently present in the newborn object”(Scarry, E "On Beauty and Being Just", pg 10)

So what has happened to the identity present within these bangles? It is not lost, merely altered... anyway you can judge for yourselves...

Bangle 1
The first bangle was supplied half-finished, with all the layers cut but not yet glued together. This meant that I could finish it in any way I wished.

Bangle 1

I decided to use the individual pieces separately, and played around with different ways they could fit together...

I wanted to bring in a little metal too, and brass seemed to complement the red veneer really well.

Very simple earrings


Starting work on the first proper piece. I used a few layers in order to capture the tapered effect, but moved them so that this would appear on the inside of the pendant.

Rivetting the pendant

Next pieces...

A pendant? A Christmas decoration? I'm not sure about this one, but sometimes you have to try things out just to know that they don't really work!

The idea for a long necklace transformed into a series of brooches.

Rivetting the brooches

Some of the finished pieces from Bangle 1:

Bangle 2

The second bangle was much harder to begin work on. As it was a completed object, I really did feel a sense of destruction as I cut into it. I put this off for a long time! But here are the pictures... 

 Sanding really brings out the beautiful colours of the ply

 Adding paint for inside/outside contrast

And a lot of filing and sanding...

 Some cute pieces, but I don't know what they will be yet

 Quite architectural-looking, so I brought some little figures into the picture

Five little pieces! They seem to have a lot of character.


 Finished items: two pendants (interchangeable) and a ring.

For those of you who have managed to read this far, jewellers, are you feeling inspired? Think you can make something better? Well, I have re-worked just 50% of each bangle, and would now like to pass on the remaining halves to another maker.

If you think you might be interested send me an email to workshopbee [at] gmail [dot] com.

Merry Christmas!