I am very exited this year to be taking part in Oxfordshire Artweeks (for the first time) in two locations. First, in a lovely garden studio in Oxford (Iffley) with two other Artweeks artists: Bridget Farrands (painter) and Sally Dorrity (ceramist), and also at my home, in Stanford in the Vale.
From Archaeology to Jewellery Designer
I am a French expatriate living in a tiny Oxfordshire stone cottage where I design and create jewellery from, using traditional silversmithing techniques.
I like to sit at my workbench, surrounded by my tools, with music in the background, that is where my inspiration comes to life, in this little bubble. My creative process and design inspiration comes from all the different paths I took in my life.
When I was a child I wanted to be an archaeologist, discovering amazing forgotten treasures (like Indiana Jones!), and at the same time I was also dreaming of becoming an artist. I wanted to be able to express myself using other means than voice and words. I did not like to talk but I did feel like I had a lot I wanted to express.
I spent my youth studying art history and archaeology in Paris and then in England. My specialisation in Greek Bronze Age brought me to Athens (Greece) where I lived for a couple of years to study artefacts from the famous site of Mycenae, cited in Homer’s poems.
It is whilst doing a PhD on travelling artisans during the Mycenaean Bronze Age that I realised what I really enjoyed was to learn about ancient crafts, and at the same time to study worn, rough, pitted, crackled textured surfaces of objects.
When I discovered silversmithing I was mesmerised by the 'magic' of metal transformation, with almost endless possibilities. I studied silversmithing and jewellery making at the Jewellery School in Birmingham. Each learning step I took was a uncovering journey. I like the toughness of the material: you need to use some strength to work with it, and I also like that it is messy (like a child playing outside!), your hands are dirty, you end up with tools everywhere around your bench and silver or gold dust on your fingers. I decided then that jewellery making was what I wanted to do, was the "voice" I was looking for.
Each creation of *Cloelea Jewellery* has a story behind it, from the winged creations inspired by French Art Nouveau to the textured effects I love to use, that are a reminiscence of the worn aspect of archaeological artefacts dug up from the ground. I also like to let my imagination be guided by memories of inspiring places I have visited or quotes from books and poems I have read.
Jewellery is a way to express feelings, emotions, words, thoughts to others, and also to create little heirlooms to cherish for years to come.
Thank you for visiting !