Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rachel Boston: Interview + Graduation Collection

Intricate and striking, Rachel Boston’s jewellery is fascinating.

Taking inspiration from the realms of the unappreciated she seeks way to redeem their standing in the eye of the beholder. Her jewellery glorifies the debauched and disregarded because she sees the beauty in the ordinary and extraordinary alike.Though preferring to work in metal; her collections have seen her experimenting with buffalo horn, children's teeth, scarab beetle wing cases, and acid as materials.

Her newest collection of jewellery stems from a fascination with insect collecting: her intrigue is based on the incongruous nature of the insect collector who profess to love insects but in the process kill them and display them as trophies.

She has created a series of wearable insect hunting trophies where the beetles have been made even more valuable by being cast into precious metal, elevating them into another and even more collectable state. Rachel has incorporated real beetle wing cases into the jewellery to produce a medley of man-made and natural pieces where they blend seamlessly in to one.


Since graduating what have you been up to?

I have been working as a production assistant for Shaun Leane for several months now which has been an incredible learning opportunity. At the end of September I will be moving to New York for a 3 months do a short course at GIA (Gemmological Institute of America) and working on my second collection.

How do you start your design process?

I start my design process by coming up with an initial point of inspiration and researching it until I can think of a concept that will sustain itself for an entire collection. It is always amazing to me how far away you come from your original concept through research and time. For instance my initial concept for my beetle collection was deep sea creatures and insects, which evolved into insects and Aztecs, which somehow turned into a collection based on beetle collectors. My design process involved me spending a lot of time at the Natural History Museum and using their library to research beetles, not just for visual stimulation but I wanted to know everything about them from an entomological point of view also.

You have had a lot of interest in your beetle pieces, why do you think this is?

I think people, no matter their own level of fear, are always fascinated with insects on a visceral level, it goes beyond visual appeal. It is not difficult to appreciate the obvious beauty of a butterfly, but it is more difficult to apply the term ‘beauty’ to a stag beetle. It is not just their obviously stimulating aesthetics that cause interest but their cultural history and the symbolic meanings attributed with them. From ancient Egyptians to Art Nouveau, insects have been inspiring jewellery across the millennia.

I also think my jewellery makes beetles seem more approachable to study for the everyday person who in our increasingly urbanized society does come in contact with such exotic insects on daily basis. As they are cast in metal the wearer can come in close contact to beetle and really study their form without their own potential fear of insects coming in to play.

How did you come to work in such materials?

Initially I did not want to use real beetles in the collection, as I knew that by using real insect parts in the jewellery I would limit my customer base a great deal. But as the design process grew I decided that it was important to my concept of Insect hunting trophies and that I would be doing beetles a disservice by trying to replicate their incredible colours and form in metal when the outcome could never be as impressive as the real thing.
Through using real beetles the latter part of making my collection took a very surreal turn, involving me boiling beetle wing cases, sawing off legs and carrying around beetle heads in my handbag.

Who or what is the biggest influence on your work?

I think what influences my work most is my attraction to things that some perceive as a bit dark. I’ve always been fascinated by things that are taboo and unusual. I love spending an afternoon in the Hunterian Museum or at The Last Tuesday Society inspecting their collections of body parts in jars, collections of Victorian surgical tools and taxidermy.

I try not to look at other jewellers for inspiration as it is so easy to copy even without meaning to so I like to go directly to the source for inspiration which is why I love nothing more then spending a Saturday afternoon wondering around museums.

What are your future ambitions?

When I’m back from New York I will begin making my second collection and hopefully begin stocking in my dream stores by the beginning of 2013.

What’s your favourite colour?


What’s your favourite drink?

Gin and tonic when I can afford it. Beer when I can’t.

If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?

I’d love to design some jewellery for films. Especially science fiction films where you can go really over the top and innovative with the designs.

What is the most important piece of jewellery you own?

I have two; one is a necklace my father gave me for my 18th birthday which says ELVIS which he had made based on a necklace I bought in the Elvis store when I was 8 which broke. It was the most thoughtful present I’ve ever had and I wear it religiously.

The other is a small gold medallion with the face of Jose Gregorio Hernandez (a Venezuelan saint) which my mother had made when I was a born to keep me in good health. It says on the back “Gracias Dr Jose Gregorio” and then my date of birth. These are my two most treasured possessions in the world let alone jewellery.

Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection Rachel Boston: Graduation Collection

Rachel Boston

1 comment:

  1. I love this work..The beetle pieces are actually really beautiful