Textile Neckpiece and Bracelet for a Golden Age

The Devon Guild of Craftsmen Summer Show this year has the title “Reaching for Gold.” Although the immediate obvious connection is with the upcoming Olympics, I thought I would explore other possible meanings as inspiration for my entry. I kept returning to the idea of a Golden Age and the very human desire to reach back to supposed Golden Ages of the past.

Textile Neckpiece for a Golden Age

Textile Neckpiece for a Golden Age

The Golden Age of Chinese art is generally considered to be the period covering the Tang and Song dynasties (618 to 1279 AD.) It was during this period that much of the “visual language” that today we think of as Chinese art was developed. Painting, calligraphy and ceramics (as well as poetry) all reached what connoisseurs consider to be their highest levels of achievement. The later great flowering of Chinese porcelain relied almost entirely on forms and decorative motifs that were developed in this earlier period. In fact, virtually every piece of Chinese fine or decorative art produced since the late 13th century draws on these earlier times.

Textile Bracelet for a Golden Age

Textile Bracelet for a Golden Age

One classic Chinese motif that particularly resonates with me is the cloud. Clouds bear various traditional meanings – they can symbolise heaven or good luck – but at the level of form they express wonderful movement and rhythm. These swirling designs have a long history and can be traced back to the linear designs that were used to decorate Shang dynasty bronzes over 3000 years ago. In this latest project, cloud motifs wind around and through the design.

Pheonix and Clouds - design from a Ming dynasty bronze panel

Phoenix and Clouds – design from a Ming dynasty bronze panel

This neckpiece and bracelet are very much designed to make a statement, utilising the ideas behind my recent work to create a grander and more celebratory piece.
They posed a new technical challenge, as I had to learn how to integrate and overlap numerous separate pieces. This is very different from the way I make my brooches, which in most cases involves creating a form by twisting and stitching just one piece of fabric.

Reaching for Gold runs until September at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracy, Devon.

Related post: Devon Guild Summer Show


11 thoughts on “Textile Neckpiece and Bracelet for a Golden Age

  1. Hi Wai-Yuk!

    Lovely necklace! I love the drama of it. I know we’ve exchanged a few comments, so I thought I’d share this. I’m trying to get the word out about a project I am trying to launch and wondered if you could share with your readers. I’m working with lace sculpture, but while I say lace, I also combine it with felt:


    If the “ask” seems like too much, then here is a post that purely goes over the process of how I make my lace work:


    If you could share either of these in any way, I’d be grateful. If nothing else, folks might see a new way of working with lace!

    Thanks so much (in any case),

    • Hi Rachelle
      I had already seen (and been highly intrigued by!) these posts. I find them fascinating. Tomorrow I plan to share them on Facebook and Twitter. If I can think of anything apt or interesting to say about the work I may also be able to put a little comment piece about this work on my blog (maybe next week.)
      Love it

      • Thank you so much! I appreciate it. Btw, I have created a few tidbits of fiber jewelry over the years. I have a stack of lace bookmark tests, and last week I saw one was the right length, and already had a buttonhole in the right place, so I sewed a button on, and voila!, I have a new bracelet. 🙂

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