Everything comes from the sea
Sarah Drew Jewellery
I first became fully aware of how seriously our ocean was polluted when I participated in beach cleaning. A beach that appeared to be beautiful from a distance turned out to be visibly dirty with garbage spotted everywhere. Plastic toothbrushes, plastic bottles, plastic bags, worn sneakers, takeaway packagings, and other disposable products all got washed ashore. It saddened me to see this amount of trash, but it also made me curious about where they actually came from. While picking up the trash, I could not help thinking about the plastic toothpaste that I have used, the candy wrappers that I have thrown away, and the countless plastic bottles that I have emptied. Did I actually more or less contribute to all the rubbish on the shore?
The unwanted products we throw into the trash bin may have disappeared from our sight, but they do not just vanish easily like that. Many of them would end up at a random spot somewhere on the earth and stay there for longer than we could potentially live. The jewellery maker Sarah Drew moved from York to a peninsula on the southwestern coast of England. Living by the seaside, she enjoys taking a stroll with her dog on the beach; she would also pick up the rubbish she finds on the beach and uses them for making accessories. Some might still see her products as trash, but Sarah can always see the unique stories behind every piece of the jewellery she makes. When polishing the materials, putting them together, or wearing them as an accessory, the faint smell of seawater can always remind one of the vast ocean.
S：我在剛過去的一月完成了在倫敦舉辦的Top Drawer Trade Show，現在正忙於製作生產成品給新的零售商，其中卵石耳環、回收瓶系列和沙灘塑膠頸鍊都是十分受歡迎的產品。另外，我與Crafts Council正計劃合辦工作坊給一些本地學校，利用沙灘上的廢棄塑膠和魚網製作飾物和雕塑。
S：我喜歡中世紀的設計和藝術家，例如Barbara Hepworth、Matisse、Margaret Mellis和Terry Frost。我經常和我的小狗在森林裡散步和走到海灘上放鬆，我會不其然地注視著石頭、沙泥、樹皮的天然紋理、色彩鮮艷的海洋，以及康沃爾的天空，並從中得到靈感。
S：在去年的聖誕節前，我和三位藝術家一起在Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens舉辦一個藝術展覽，真的是很精彩，我十分的喜歡。因此，我們正計劃今年舉辦另一場展覽，主要的目的是為氣候轉變和環境污染進行一場對話。另外，我加入了一個本地組織The Cornish Resistance，我們計劃舉辦一些免費的活動和工作坊，鼓勵保持沙灘的清潔和改善社區鄰里的關係，包括一些低收入的人們和小童去享受工藝、野外煮食、種植、音樂和純粹地外出走走。在我的創作系列中，我很享受把來自澳洲、可持續性的貓眼石拋光成戒指和頸鍊，並把收集到的物料結合成大的黃銅和銀色的形狀。這些都是一些可負擔的、人們會喜歡的和值得收藏的藝術品。
O： What have you been working on recently?
S：I went to the Top Drawer trade show in London in January so I’m busy making orders for lovely new stockists: my pebble earrings, recycled bottle collection and beach plastic necklaces were all really popular. I’m also planning workshops for a project I’m doing with the Crafts Council, going into a local school and making jewellery and sculptures from beach plastic and ghost-net.
O： Why did you start to create the jewellery with the materials from the sea?
S：I moved down to Cornwall from York when my kids were little and we went to the beach every day with our dog Rosie. We saw all the plastic on the beach and used to collect it. At that time I didn’t have much money for materials so I used the pieces I found to make big, colorful statement pieces. I also liked the colors, shapes and connections to a beautiful place.
O： Do you have any memorable or interesting experiences of making jewellery?
S：I love it when people give me pieces that mean something to make into jewellery for them to remember a place or person, I like to guess where pieces have come from, I found a Victorian leather sole of a shoe once that I made into a necklace.
O：Do you have a favorite piece from the collection?
S：I’m really enjoying riveting the sea-plastic with eco-silver at the moment to create little brooch, odd earring or ring collages: each one is unique and it’s good to combine the beach plastic colors and textures. I particularly wanted to keep this blue and green eco-silver riveted ring.
O：What do you want to express through your work?
S：I love color so I want people to feel positive when they wear my jewellery: there’s an element of humor and eccentricity about it that I think people who like it share with me. But perhaps the most important expression is a concern for how we’re looking after the planet. The pieces are a talking point to begin discussions about climate change and plastic pollution: I always talk about these issues when I’m wearing one of my statement pieces.
O： What does your inspiration come from?
S：I love mid-century design and artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Matisse, Margaret Mellis, and Terry Frost. I’m always outside on walks with my dogs in the woods, relaxing on the beaches so I can’t help but be inspired by the natural textures of rocks, sand, bark and vivid colors of the sea and skies in Cornwall.
O： What do you think about sustainable design and lifestyle?
S：I think it’s basically a no-brainer: why wouldn’t you prefer to buy fewer, good quality products that will last longer but won’t harm the planet, climate or worker’s lives? I think people nowadays are very switched on about environmental problems and do really care. People want to do the right thing and buy quality things that aren’t costing the Earth and it’s our responsibility as makers to provide them with those products and solutions. It’s the only way forward in my opinion.
O：Can you use 3 words to explain your style?
S：Big, colorful, weathered.
O： Do you have any plans or projects in the future?
S：With 3 other artists, I put on an art exhibition at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens before Christmas and it was brilliant! Completely loved it, so we’re planning other exhibitions this year, mainly with the aim to start conversations about climate change and pollution. Besides, I’m involved with a local community group The Cornish Resistance so we’re planning free events and workshops to encourage beach cleans and improve community relationships involving people and kids on low income with craft, outdoor cooking, tree-planting, music and getting outside.
In terms of my collections, I’m enjoying polishing sustainable opals from Australia for rings and necklaces, combining found materials with big, brass and silver shapes: making lots of affordable, artistic pieces that people will love and keep.