Now at Designworks

 Plexus Neckpiece by Maria Dorai-Raj

Plexus Neckpiece by Maria Dorai-Raj

 
 

November 01 2015

I had the opportunity to speak at Designworks Studio in Cork this week. The occasion? The launch of two new designers in-store; Maria Dorai-Raj and Helle Helsner.

Maria Dorai-Raj, who studied contemporary jewellery design in Florence, has a traditional goldsmithing background and also, interestingly, studied ceramics at LSAD. Working in silver and gold, her work is embued with diverse influences such as the anatomical sketches of Leonardo Da Vinci, astronomy and De Stijl, an early 20th century design movement.

 
  Silver Ring by Helle Helsner 

 Silver Ring by Helle Helsner 

 
 
 

Helle Helsner, on the other hand, has a fine art background. For a number of years she studied ancient casting methods and she now uses this process to cast flower heads, beautifully capturing a moment in nature. The effect is reminiscent of her drawings, which also offer fleeting glimpses of everyday life.

While these designers work in different ways, both share the same craft values; a dedication to making and craftsmanship, an understanding of material and a respect for tradition. They both also remind us of the significance of this intimate form of self-expression. As adornment, jewellery makes a fundamental statement about who we are (or perhaps how we want to be perceived) while as a social signifier, it is purchased and worn at the most important moments in our lives. It reminds me of a quote I read recently by Monica Moses, Editor-in-Chief of American Craft. ‘It’s symbolic to a degree that few other objects are. What other art form has the transubstantiated mystique of jewellery? What else can express the turning points of our lives so powerfully? Jewellery reminds us that, rational though we might think we are, we are creatures of story, ritual, and connection.’

 

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Frances McDonald