The artist and the artisan.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve been thinking a lot about community. If there’s anything positive to be taken from the current crisis, it’s that community feels more alive now than we can remember. From small acts of kindness like doing the shopping for an elderly relative, to national collective recognition of our frontline workers, we’ve been forced to slow down and take stock of the wonderful people that surround us.
At Alice Made This, we’re lucky to work with a fantastic community of creatives, from our studio team and our contemporaries, to our factories and the artisans we work with to make our pieces. We’re inspired by their innovation and their expertise every day.
Two creatives that we’ve been working particularly closely with are Scottish illustrator and artist Jessica Rose Bird and London-based patina artisan Derek Bayley. We collaborated with both of them to create our latest Butterfly Collection, a series of exclusive engraved cufflinks, pins and brooches with 100% of the profits being donated to the Cavells Nurse’s Trust and the Fashion & Textile Children’s Trust.
Working on the Butterfly Collection has really highlighted the importance of teamwork, being surrounded by a wonderful community and how everything we do as a business is a coming together of efforts. We’re proud to support the creative and artisanal community through our work, particularly at times like this, and to be championing skills that need to be passed on and honed through others to survive.
We find experts truly fascinating. There is something amazing about someone choosing to dedicate their career to one specific thing that they are passionate about. It’s inspiring to see someone go so deep into a subject. Now feels like a time for experts, a time for focus, dedication and doing what you love. Jessica and Derek are just that and we caught up with them both for a quick chat about the new Butterfly collection.
Jessica Rose Bird
Jessica began her career in retail and menswear, treating her illustration as a hobby. She was brave enough to make the decision to focus on it full time when a few friends highlighted her skills. Thankfully, she has never looked back.
Currently based in London, she studied at Grays School of Art and subsequently working across design, press and sales for multiple British design houses. We love her brightly coloured illustrations and strong focus on line, something that ties in nicely with the rich colours of our patina process and our minimalist, architectural design aesthetic.
Both the flower and butterfly illustrations that Jessica has done for our collections lend themselves beautifully to engraving, juxtaposing natural forms with industrial materials.
On the Butterfly collection, Jessica said, “Both the charities are doing incredible work to support those struggling personally and financially, particularly during these more difficult times. Cavell Nurses’ Trust can provide help and support to nurses. midwives and healthcare assistants who are feeling the strain of coronavirus and help them to stay in work and relieve financial pressures. The FTCT similarly is providing grants to the children of those who work in the fashion and textile industry, many of whom will have lost work during this time. It must be a huge relief from the pressure that these times of hardship have inflicted, to know that your children will have the essentials they need so you can focus your energy elsewhere.”
“It’s always a pleasure to work with Alice Made This, we all work so well together even in these isolated times. Somehow, I painted the butterfly the exact same colour as Derek's patina without seeing each other’s work. Alice has a strong vision of what she wants, the meaning and story behind each piece makes it easy to connect with the work and it’s always a joy to do something for a great cause.”
You can read more about Jessica and her work here: https://jessicarosebird.com/
Or follow her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/jessrosebird/
After studying Fine Art in Cape Town, Derek Bayley moved to London where he continued to explore his love of patination, the chemical treatment of metal surfaces to create a variety of colours and effects. The patinas we work with for our pieces are done through a heat process and give a gorgeous, rich finish to our jewellery.
With a workshop in Deptford, Derek is just down the road from our studio. Ever since we first got in contact with him, he’s always been so excited to get involved and experiment, contributing his expertise and ideas to our original designs. It’s lovely to have a relationship with an artisan who pushes our boundaries, suggesting things we may not have thought of, while we also being able to give him the freedom to experiment with his techniques and try new things at the same time. If Derek is trying new patinas and building on his years of experience with us, then we know we are going to end up with the best finishes possible, something we are always incredibly excited to see.The patinas Derek creates are perfect for elevating our raw materials, making every piece completely unique. The colour palettes are so deep and vibrant, making them ideal for the Butterfly collection and its celebration of hope and life.
Derek said of the Butterfly collection, “This project is one of the many reasons why I love working with Alice Made This. I constantly have so many ideas for new things I want to try and they are always more than happy for me to go for it.
Finding that kind of working relationship is incredibly rewarding and as with all the previous projects, I really enjoyed collaborating on these butterfly pieces. It’s never easy patinating such small surfaces and it’s great when you achieve something that you are happy to show others.
So many people are doing such brave work at the moment and so many others have lost their livelihoods and are worried about an uncertain future. Most of us can relate and we all want to do something, anything, to help brighten that future. I’m grateful for Alice to let me do that in my own small way by letting me collaborate with them.
These two charities support the amazing frontline medical personal and the children of people in the fashion and textile industry who lost their income. I’m hoping that these pieces of wearable art will not be a reminder of these difficult times but rather a memento of how we and you tried to make a small but measurable difference.”
You can read more about Derek and his work here: https://www.derekbayley.com/
Or follow him on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/derekbayley/
We hope you enjoy these new pieces as much as we enjoyed collaborating on them. You can browse the full collection here and, as ever, follow us on Instagram @alicemadethis to learn more about the pieces and watch updates from Alice.