Artist’s statement

I have been working in the area of contemporary jewellery for over 40 years. In this statement I hope to identify the various aspects of the work that make it so distinctive and so worth doing. Firstly the choice of the best materials both precious and semi precious stones and metals. For example, coloured gold's, platinum and silver, white and coloured diamonds, tanzanite, iolite, tourmaline, spinel and sapphire. The second is the highest quality of making and finish, with as much of the work as possible being completed in my own workshop. Thirdly the distinctive use of the technique of hand engraving and carving. This produces a brilliant interplay of light reflections, which move with and enliven the piece when worn. Hand engraving is rarely practised today, as it is time consuming to do, requires complete concentration, as well as taking many years to perfect the skill. The last is what the work has to say, what it means and so why one has spent the majority of ones life doing it.

This falls into two interconnected parts. The first is the personal alchemical creative process, I have watched this process develop over the years and seen it manifest in the work. This is evident in the progression of alchemical colours, black, iridescence, white and red. The second is in the transpersonal, where the Sufi philosophy I have followed for as many years as I have been making jewellery, appears both in specific groups of pieces like the Mandala Brooches as well as more subtly in stories which often develop with the design of specific pieces. An example of this is a ring I was asked to make a few years ago to celebrate the purchase of a small vineyard in Tuscany. I happened to have a fine quality red cushion cut Garnet which ³happened by chance² to be the exact colour of the Chianti produced on the property. I carved the shank of the ring with vine leaves and grapes. However the back of the ring is cut with a great spiralling sun, which is seen only from the inside of the hand. The story simply reminds the wearer of the ancient natural process of vinivication, the sun, the vine, the grapes which all go with the intervention of my client to create one of the best known wines of Italy. I do a lot of commission work where clients look to me to give special meaning to an event or occasion, in this area I work with the client to source appropriate materials and suggest direction, all within a budget and time frame. The rest of my work are artist pieces where I am free to create for its own sake often for an exhibition opportunity. It is my experience that all these aspects interconnect often in surprising ways, to produce work that constantly refreshes and develops, yet remains true to my personal style. ALAN CRAXFORD