“I usually start creating from a natural material that I find strong and fragile at the same time. I like to accentuate both aspects in my jewellery. The material does have things to say and I try to listen to what it murmurs.” Florence Jaquet
At first glance, this striking collar could easily be mistaken for a piece of traditional tribal art from Africa or the South Sea Islands. On closer inspection it becomes apparent why this work is called Tea Shirt – the elaborate collar is made entirely of tea bag labels. Attractive and intriguing, ‘Tea Shirt’ is a colourful example of the unusual Organic Jewellery created by Florence Jaquet, a jewellery designer from Neuchâtel in Switzerland.
Inspired by social networking on the internet – and its associations with making friends, building relationships and the use of tags – Florence Jaquet created Tea Shirt to reflect her ‘real life’ social network. Each colourful tag represents time spent with friends over a cup of tea. In turn, Jaquet’s circle of friends collected labels, thus generating new connections in the same way as an online social network would. Tea Shirt was selected to represent the 70th Biennial of Contemporary Art in La Chaux-de-Fonds, and it was exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts).
There is alchemy in the way in which Florence Jaquet transforms everyday materials into highly desirable objects.
This is certainly true of her Paper Jewellery collection. Blank white paper is carefully hand-worked and woven to create jewellery with a delicate feather-like quality.
There is a serenity in Florence Jaquet’s Paper Jewellery, but it also has a ceremonial feel. This is reflected in Jaquet’s use of the term ‘Paper Jewels’, and the collection includes the aptly-titled bracelet, Majesté.
Time is taken to prepare and hand-craft each piece of Paper Jewellery, even though the finished item is essentially ephemeral. This presents a contradiction, especially in an age where rapidly-produced objects are fast becoming the norm.
But that is what makes Florence Jaquet’s work so magical.
Although Jaquet’s work is mostly made with natural materials, her use of the term ‘Organic Jewellery’ refers more to the idea of jewellery being worn and becoming like an extra organ on the body.
She believes jewellery is more than just an ornament, and can influence the way in which a body looks, moves and functions.
Florence Jaquet also uses her work to communicate messages and build connections with other people. Although much of Jaquet’s work draws you in to take a closer look, some of her jewellery is designed to keep you at a distance. In this case, toothpicks and nails are mischievously transformed to eloquently convey this message!
Another work that tells a tale is Je me livre .. et vous? This necklace was inspired by 83 hours, a work by artist and bookbinder Sarah Brown which reflects the life of a 18th century bookbinder imprisoned for putting pressure on his master to reduce the working week from 84 hours to 83 hours.
Jaquet employed a bookbinding technique to translate the beauty of this project into a wearable piece of jewellery. Made of durable watercolor paper, the torn edges sit softly against the skin.
In time, the paper will collect stains and marks, reflecting the ‘wear and tear’ of daily life. The story of one’s life can literally be written on it.
Jaquet has also used this bookbinding technique in other paper-based jewellery projects to great effect.
Jaquet’s latest collection features dried beans and seeds encased in stockings – not a combination of materials you would expect to find in jewellery-making, but it works. The seeds just seem to nestle naturally into their nylon pods. Again this illustrates how Jaquet’s intuitive use of materials and her chosen working methods enable the work to evolve organically.
It is also very important to me to respect and preserve the materials as much as possible, by not breaking or drilling them. I elaborated my own assembling techniques borrowed from other crafts, such as textile crafts, that keep the form and structure of each element. Florence Jaquet.
Another unusual material used by Florence Jaquet is sugared almonds, which look like porcelain or polished stone when presented in the context of jewellery. It is another interesting example of how Jaquet successfully ‘upcycles’ everyday materials in her work.
We find Florence Jaquet’s jewellery and objet d’art both engaging and intriguing, and we highly recommend a visit to her website.
About Florence Jaquet
Florence Jaquet is a Swiss jewellery designer who lives and works in Neuchâtel. She runs the L’Ateul studio and gallery alongside fellow designer Léonie Jeanrenaud. The gallery sells work produced in-house, as well as exhibiting and promoting work by artists from the local area. Florence Jaquet regularly participates in solo and group shows at L’Ateul, and has exhibited her work at various galleries in Switzerland and overseas.
To view Florence Jaquet’s work in greater detail, visit the Organic Jewellery website >
Photo credits: Florence Jaquet
- On 23rd August 2013