“Mind the Gap” is an art-jewellery brooch designed on the theme of divisions in our city, the piece itself is a contradiction, combining tradition crafts with modern design, precious metal with paper and bespoke jewellery with urban art.
The simple idea behind the design was developed on the basis that I myself am from a disadvantaged area of Dublin - Finglas, represented by the 11 on the Dublin street sign, yet I am an artist and goldsmith. These are not usual career routes for someone from my background and I sometimes feel very much at odds with my profession, what I create can be seen as frivolous or extravagant. Art and jewellery are seen as luxuries when you are raised to find a secure job and know the value of every cent. When I decided to study art I was met with distain and disapproval by various peers and educators, I was asked why I didn’t want a real job? I often heard the old joke “You’re going to be an artist? What are you going to draw...the dole?”
On the other side of the coin when I began as a Goldsmith I often created pieces that I myself could not have afforded and occasionally felt I lived in a different world to the clients that commissioned my work, this feeling was compounded several times during my early career when I was made painfully aware of how my accent and where I came from prejudiced some people’s perception of me.
Across Dublin attitudes may be different regarding what art is and the value it holds however there is no divide in the need to create. While a young person from an affluent part of the city may be helped through art collage, have their pieces hung in galleries, receive recognition, have access to potential buyers, clients and people to advise them, a young artist from a disadvantaged area may not have the same personal support, financial safety net, connections or knowledge base, they may have no choice but to take an unrelated job to get by and creating art is just a dream for them. Some try to find an outlet where ever they can, their hair, clothes, tattoos, the walls around them. Even if they do try to pursue their goal they may have experienced first-hand the road blocks their accent and address can pose when trying to find opportunities, even basic artistic needs such as funds for materials to practise and work with can be an enormous hurdle.
Others coming from a life in which they have the option to follow their passion, to choose it as a career, may not understand this. They might consider lack of ambition, talent, intelligence or culture the reason why they have not ended up in the same place. They see efforts to create as rebellion, destruction, vandalism, unsophisticated or vulgar.
The individual “wasting” their talent by taking a 9 to 5 may have no other choice, the youth painting on walls may feel this is the only way they have to express themselves, to create, to be seen, to leave their mark, it is their art.
The street sign on the top right of the brooch reads “Mind the Gap” this is in reference to the gap in opportunities, opinions, advantages, outlooks and life experiences between the people in various areas of the same city and how every one of us should be mindful and understanding of each others realities and needs. The Irish translation on the sign reads “Seachain an bearna” which literally translates to “Avoid the gap”.
Title: Mind the Gap
Materials used: Silver, Giclée, Resin
Year of creation: 2016
Exhibited: Dublin Institute of Design, New voices Ireland.
Name of the photographer: Tammy Bradley
This piece combines traditional gold and silver smithing with modern design and fine art. It is both an art jewellery necklace and a precious metal wall hanging. The features of the Queen Bee are hand etched, the wings contain the phrase “When we go we are taking you all with us” which are manually and individually cut from sheet silver. The centre of the body is set with natural Amber and there is also an Amber honey drop which is free moving on the tail.
In 2006, the International Union for Conservation of Nature published a Red List of Ireland’s Bees. It showed that one third of our 97 wild bees are threatened with extinction. Three very rare bumblebees – the great yellow bumblebee, the Shrill carder bee and the Red shanked carder bee – are all threatened with extinction in Ireland. Crops such as apples, oilseed rape, strawberries, raspberries, currants, tomatoes, peas and courgettes are all pollinator-dependent. In fact, 100 crops provide 90% of the worlds food and 71 of these are pollinated by bees.
“When we Go” is inspired by the importance of bees in our lives which usually goes unnoticed. It addresses the connection between their survival and our own. The fact that this piece is made in precious metal reflects the value that should be placed on the bee population.
Title: “Queen Bee”
Artist: Tammy Bradley
Medium: Sterling silver, Amber and Gold
Dimensions: Unframed- 12.5 cm x 11 cm x 1cm
Framed- 25.5 cm x 25.5 cm x 5 cm
This pendant takes inspiration from a Daoist priests robe, part of the Bender collection on show in the national museum the dragon is an embroidered creature that adorns the robe. The disc is silver that has been reticulated, speckled with gold dust then textured with punches reminiscent of ornate cloth. The bail is decorated with a leaf pattern and riveted with 18ct gold beads. The peridot is representative of the rich colours used still vibrant even after hundreds of years.
Work Description The dragon and back fret work are cut from one piece of silver sheet and hand engraved, the large central disc is reticulated silver with fused 18ct gold dust, textured and edged with a purpose made punch, the bail section is riveted on with 18ct gold beads, decorated with a another purpose made leaf design punch it is then claw set with a trillion cut peridot. The pendant is hung from a silver snake chain with bar and catch cut from silver sheet that has been embossed with feather.
Work Title: Dragon pendant Work Material: silver, 18ct gold, peridot Dimensions: HxWxD (cm) 5.96 .7