Wednesday, 11 February 2009


At last I managed to get back out into the world again yesterday.  There is still plenty of snow on the ground here at home but the roads were clear enough to get into Whitby so I made another visit to the museum.  I spent quite a bit of time wandering around between the display cases looking at the different varieties of jewellery displayed in the collection.  Obviously being Whitby the museum has a stunning collection of jewellery and other objects made in local jet.  When I start to look more closely though I realise that there is a huge variety of other types of jewellery and that quite a lot of it is colourful.   This has reinforced my understanding that I am working in a well established tradition.  Occassionally over the years I have asked myself whether there is a real demand for coloured jewellery - or whether people are really just looking for something in silver or gold.  Looking closely at the collection as I am now doing I can see that there has always been a demand for colour and that it is rooted within the jewellery tradition.  There are examples of Anglo-Saxon and Roman glass beads in the collection and even slight traces of red enamel on one of the Anglo-Saxon pieces.   This is a theme I will no doubt return to during my residency.

At the moment members of the Whitby Museum team are preparing for a forthcoming exhibition on the Anglo-Saxons.  This is really exciting - there is obviously a wealth of interesting material available and I am looking forward to seeing the exhibition when it opens in a few weeks time.  In the meantime I have been exploring the way in which the tiny penannular brooches are made and really enjoying hammering and forming these tiny pieces in copper.  The largest of the ones I have made is approximately 25mm across.  

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