Sustainable Spiral Ring

Rowan Berry, Silversmithing and Jewellery

I am a final year silversmithing and jewellery student at GSA and I am currently working towards the creation of my degree show collection. I am creating objects that explore, reinterpret and subvert the visual language seen through history to symbolise some of our greatest ontological needs and hopes of love, hope, prayer, worry, desire and connection to others. Some examples of this symbolism include the rhythmical and repeated use of circles, constellations, spirals, crosses and hands.

In my studio work I have been exploring the symbolism of the spiral. It can represent the circle of life, the sun, water or even a fingerprint, as well as having connotations of life and regeneration. This symbol has an absolute connection to people – as well as emotion. The objects I have been creating in the studio have a talismanic, and perhaps ambiguously spiritual characteristic.

I wanted to create a golden spiral talisman – an object that could be worn as a ring, threaded on a chain or kept in a pocket. It was important to me, personally as well as within the themes of my project, to connect with and respect the earth as much as possible in the making of this object. The solution was to use Fairtrade 18ct gold. I was supported by sustainability funding to allow me to create this piece, and I feel it will be a valuable part of my show as it will encourage conversation around ethical materials and practices. It is not a perfectly ethical resolution, but there is a consumer demand for gold, and as a maker I want to be able to produce pieces in it.

Small steps lead to change, and it would be my hope that by offering an alternative I can help to stop the demand for non-responsibly sourced gold. By educating consumers I hope to help in disrupting accepted thinking and help to grow demand for ethical and responsibly sourced materials leading to a greater selection of metals and materials that are available.

The piece is simple – having been designed in CAD and then 3d printed in wax before being cast into metal. It was enjoyable and a great learning experience to be able to work with this material and learn about its working qualities.

Rowan Berry