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29/11/2014

EXPO ‘FINDING – Central St Martins BA Jewellery design’ – The Foundling Museum, London (UK) – 14 Nov. 2014 – 30 Janv. 2015

FINDING
CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS BA JEWELLERY DESIGN
a project at THE FOUNDLING MUSEUM
  FINDING CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS BA JEWELLERY DESIGN Finding is a project by eight students and three members of staff of the BA Jewellery Design course at Central Saint Martins with the aim of explore the archives and the museum’s collections of the Foundling Hospital. With this starting point each artist developed a piece that represents the opposite feelings that the collection awoke
 
with : Caroline Broadhead, Lin Cheung, Fiona Chong, Gabriella Garnham, Rosie Greener, Haya Luttfullah, Maria Militsi, Wizal Xinyn Wang, Harriet Williams, Pnyuan Yang, Scarlett Zhang
 
The history of the Foundling Hospital is rich and engaging. It is of especial interest to those eager to explore the power of objects to denote an emotional connection. The main aim of this project was to use the collection to initiate creative responses and through this exhibition to contribute to a growing awareness of the Museum’s significance. Eight students and three members of staff of the BA Jewellery Design course at Central Saint Martins have explored the archives and the museum’s collections to develop ideas for a piece of jewellery. Another aim of this extra curricula project was to have a chance for students and staff to work together as equals. In addition, the project included two ‘Tokens of Identity’ workshops, conceived by the jewellery students and delivered to schoolchildren from Maria Fidelis School and Haverstock School, which allowed them the opportunity to impart their findings and enthusiasms to younger learners.
There are many narratives about the Foundling Hospital’s history that are compelling, strong themes of abandonment, regimented living, the lack of intimacy and affection, loss of identity and systems of renaming. The central part of the museum’s collection are the tokens that were left as a lasting, but largely undisclosed, connection of a parent to a child and these are eloquent mementos of their separation. These range from buttons, coins, keys, snippets of ribbon and textiles and even bits of jewellery, all of which could have served to unite a parent and a child long after babyhood. With such a wealth of stories it is impossible not to compare present day attitudes and circumstances to these histories and our discussions have included changes in attitude towards children then and now and how different countries take care of their abandoned children.
Jewellers have a strong awareness of the ability of small, closely held objects to convey the value of a relationship, a locket containing a portrait or lock of hair, a piece that has been gifted or handed down are classic examples. Each participant has produced a piece that expresses both the positive and the negative feelings the collection elicits – of abandonment and belonging, uniformity and individuality, the loss of identity and the chance for a new life. 
 
 Fiona Chong Neckpiece: Revalued, 2014 Brass, copper, aluminium, nylon  .Fiona Chong Neckpiece: Revalued, 2014 Brass, copper, aluminium, nylon
Inspired by the foundling tokens, I focused on the way marks can express loss and act as distinctive identifiers. I embossed scrap pieces of metal, collected from our school’s jewellery workshop, with quotes from the Foundling Voices interviews with former pupils and made each into an individual piece of jewellery.
 Gabriella Garnham Piece: Who Are We?, 2014 Engraved, Silver plated brass . Gabriella Garnham Piece: Who Are We?, 2014 Engraved, Silver plated brass In the eighteenth century foundlings were unable to discover their real identity. As technology has developed, I imagined how this might change in the future; a child might receive their DNA markers at birth, represented by a unique sequence of Emojicons, which would then be traceable.

 Lin Cheung Piece: Pinpoint, 2014 Giclée print Lin Cheung Piece: Pinpoint, 2014 Giclée print Secure but easily undone, the pins that held the textile tokens in the billet books, inspired me to have one tattooed on my body – a permanent attachment that cannot be undone

 Puyuan Yang Piece: X, 2014 Found rubber ball Puyuan Yang Piece: X, 2014 Found rubber ball I thought the cross that substituted a signature on one of the registry documents summed up the lack of clear identity of a foundling and marked the estrangement from their past. I found objects in the street and reworked them into crosses, this one from a rubber ball.

 Scarlett Zhang Necklace: Nothing to Hold on to, 2014 Gold Plated Brass, leather.Scarlett Zhang Necklace: Nothing to Hold on to, 2014 Gold Plated Brass, leather Each foundling left the Foundling Hospital with a small suitcase with few possessions. These were the start of a new life, which may have been difficult without the emotional strength to manage this. To reference this, the suitcase and its handle are separate on my necklace.

 

THE FOUNDLING MUSEUM
40 Brunswick Square
WC1N 1AZ -  London
UNITED KINGDOM
Mail: a.yardley@csm.arts.ac.uk

Admission £7.50 (Tuesday-Saturday: 10:00-17:00, Sunday: 11:00-17:00, Mondays: Closed)

Catalogue edited by Lin Cheung and introduction by Caroline Broadhead.

  catalogue edited by Lin Cheung and introduction by Caroline Broadhead.

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