Material Alchemy

The admixture of materials gives way to a new existence. Colors have conversations. Pigments cling to fabrics inventing their own tint. The methods of antiquity filter into modern knowledge and instinct. Artistic impulses of abstraction confound the contemporary approach to materials. The act of displacement becomes a replacement. New silhouettes constructed by light petition materials to mimic their form.

Dress by Hazel Brown, Shoes by A Détacher

The notion of materials possessing inherent powers is as old as time itself. Egyptians lined their eyes in kohl as a form of protection and a heavy toned version of beauty. Indigenous tribes constructed objects based on the materials they were surrounded by, resulting in inimitable works. At a Fashion Exhibit held within a History Museum, a suit made by Eskimos composed of seal skin is hand stitched together with animal bone needles. Traipsing through the countryside of Romania, a sheep herder feeds his flock from a striking wide leather belt imbued with intricate details he constructed himself with an ancient tool and dye method. The human hand encounters material and alchemy is set in motion.

Top by Hazel Brown, Skirt BY MALENE BIRGER

Sophie Pfeffer-Shapira is the mind and hand behind Parisian jewelry line, 5 Octobre. Researching the materials in her work requires translation from French to English. Subtle shifts like diamont to diamond, less intuitive but equally beautiful changes such as argent to silver and or to gold. Descriptions of her intricate pieces read like a plaque description of a painting or an artifact in a history museum. The weight of Sophie’s mind is evident when a piece is held in hand. A delicately wound pony bracelet with red silk thread or precious enamel and black diamond charms diligently placed on a necklace. For a moment, transport to the set of a Federico Fellini film she named a collection after and spin with the sublime wisdom in her homage to its composition.

 Jewelry by 5 Octobre

While wearing jewelry is as ancient of a practice as they come, it continues to morph and alter in contemporary times. We now have the luxury of employing age-old techniques while also applying modern sensibilities to leave diamonds raw and use high quality gold plating. Allowing precious designs to make their way onto any wrist and not just that of Cleopatra. The ornaments we choose to adorn ourselves with are deeply personal and are often made more special when added to our Grandfather’s watch. We intuitively construct our own layering of inspiration, personal meaning and a love of material alchemy - Voilà we become our own walking story.- Brit Parks




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