Graduate showcases Victorian jewellery collection

From April 12th until today, there has been an exhibition of drawing, jewellery, and print held in a little gallery located in St Martin’s square in Lincoln, seeing over 60 visitors in its first night. Emily Margaret Hill is just one of the creative minds behind the gallery this past week. Fascinated by the Victorian era, she uses this as inspiration for her jewellery.

In a cosy, yet creatively decorated, space above the gallery, Emily works away at her jewellery in a unique way: “No one else uses the exact technique that I use, that I know of,” she said. See her work in the gallery below:

By demonstrating initiative in a competitive market, Emily (23) is already distinct from her fellow graduates: “No one else from my course at university has taken the leap like I have, they’ve all taken on full time jobs, which I think is a bit crazy. I need to get my work further afield so I’m applying to big show across the country. And I’ve stopped selling my jewellery for now so I can build up my collection.”

Emily initially developed ideas for her jewellery from going to museums and private collections. However, now she is more inspired by Victorian domestic life. She described one of her main inspirations as ‘mourning jewellery’. “That sounds a bit morbid”, she said, “but in the Victorian times it was used to celebrate life and death.”

In September 2009, Emily graduated from the University of Lincoln, after studying a joint course of contemporary decorative craft and fine art. She now works above the gallery three to four days a week, and can spend up to two full days working on one piece of jewellery.

“I did my dissertation on how Victorians reacted to death through jewellery. I wanted to have that same effect, jewellery standing for emotion and feelings. I had one guy who came to me wanting his wedding vows and the place when he and his wife met etched onto a necklace.”

Emily admires the way the Victorians interpretted their lives through jewellery, and studied it for her dissertation. “Jewellery was such a big part of their lives,” she said. The Victorians were more sentimental with their jewellery, but Emily sees that this sentimentality has declined these days, and that is what she is trying to revive through her work.

She etches maps and marriage vows onto silver, she uses Victorian coins, and she makes her work individual: “my jewellery is easily changeable, you can personalise it, for example, by re- tying a ribbon, or turning a coin around.” With several shows this year, Emily hopes to enter them after building up a collection.

— All photos by Anneka James

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