Who is it? Anna Jewsbury may have chosen a path less travelled to her role of artistic director of London-based jewellery brand Completedworks – namely, a degree in maths and philosophy – but the big ideas that inform her creations come from just there.
“I always get asked, how do you go from that to jewellery?” she says. “But I think for me, like with maths and philosophy, it’s about finding new ways to describe the world. That’s the approach you can take with the jewellery as well.”
It means that she comes to each collection with an almost academic rigour, finding inspiration in the unexpected – from the collapse of the Euro to the ruins of ancient civilisations, shifting through historical periods and drawing on art, sculpture and cultural movements in the process. These abstract ideas are then reduced into simple, refined forms – curving earrings in twisted gold and silver, rings inset with marble or rows of tiny diamonds, bangles that echo the shape of a Roman column.
Each piece, then, tells its own story. “It’s such a nice medium, because it’s small and intimate,” says Jewsbury. “People often get asked about their jewellery, where it came from and what are the associations with it. I like that.”
Why do I want it? For Jewsbury’s latest collection, Fold, she has collaborated with mixed-media artist, Ekaterina Bazhenova-Yamasaki, who works across moving image, spoken word, photography and music. Here, though, it was her ceramics, the artist’s latest fascination, that informed the collection – and Jewsbury’s very first collaboration. “It follows on from the previous collection, which is called Fluid,” Jewsbury says. “But with Fold we looked at folds and drapery in art, trying to achieve a tactile look – to have 18-carat gold look like something much more supple, like foam.”
This is echoed in Bazhenova-Yamasaki’s ceramics – “deflated” vases, as she calls them for their irregular shape, some made from marble clay, others glazed white and dotted with blue, a play on the traditions of Dutch porcelain. Defying their solid form, they look soft, as if they could be moulded in your hand. “I think it’s the time when everyone is kind of tired of media art and post-Internet art, and digital art,” says Bazhenova-Yamasaki of the current fascination with ceramics. “They want a simple object which they can hold and understand.”
The result of several months working alongside each other is an 11-piece jewellery collection – rippled earrings, in gold and white ceramic, bangles that look draped like fabric – and an accompanying 15-piece collection of ceramics by Bazhenova-Yamasaki.
Having known each other since 2016, it made for an organic process. Bazhenova-Yamasaki has long provided the flower arrangements that are found in the Completedworks’ offices, often foraged from local parks. “They are so dramatic,” Jewsbury says. “They’re so fresh when she does them for the showrooms, you can almost feel the seasons.”