Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Sarah Packington jewellery

MoDiP currently has an exhibition of jewellery in the library cases there is work dating from the 1600s looking at natural plastics all the way up to the present day:

One of the makers whose work is included is the talented Sarah Packington who we have asked to share a bit about herself and her work:

More about my jewellery : background, inspiration and techniques

I have made things ever since I can remember... tiny furniture from cardboard, miniature handbags from sweet wrappers, dolls clothes etc., before moving on to costumes for school productions and clothes for myself. I considered studying to be a theatre designer or architect, but wanted to be involved in 'hands on' making.

I attended a Foundation Art course at Camberwell school of Art in 1987/8, and a
BA(hons) at Brighton Polytechnic in Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Plastics between
1988-1991 which involved making anything out of those four materials.

AIBDC : 007439

In the second year of my degree, my interest was sparked by a 'mass production' project: I made a series of brooches from oxidised and corrugated tin cans. From then on I was hooked on jewellery, and discovered the endless possibilities of dying acrylic... masking (preventing dye from reaching certain areas by using masking tape, Copydex glue or elastic bands), sand blasting and multiple layering of colours to create jewel like effects.

Rose Hill Workshop has been my base since 1994. There are currently eleven members, and it is a very friendly supportive working environment.

I am drawn to interesting textures, colours and patterns in ceramics, textiles, paintings, architecture and in nature. Anything with a slightly 1950's 'Festival of Britain' feel gets my attention. I like the simple, light and joyful shapes in subtle colours.

With all my designs strive to use acrylic in an innovative and personal way, finding new ways to give a potentially cold, mass produced material a precious hand worked feel. I aim to make my jewellery very wearable, and as affordable as possible.

I love working in clear acrylic which I texture and dye. Some of my designs also use opal white or charcoal grey coloured acrylic for contrast. I use mainly silver findings, (catches, ear hooks, etc.) and some nylon covered stainless steel cable as necklets.

A lot of my time is spent at the polishing wheel, and also use a band saw, pillar drill and electric belt sander. I use a small disc attachment on a hand held mini drill to score lines in the acrylic. My favourite tool is probably the hotplate I use to dye my pieces, as that is where the 'magic' of the colouring process happens. Soldering (joining silver pieces using a hand held torch) and assembling is all done at my jewellers bench.

Some shapes I cut myself; others I draw on the computer and get laser cut by a specialist company.

My aim is to continue developing my practice, making unique jewellery that people love and want to wear. I have enjoyed getting to know my customers as I have been doing more craft fairs and direct sales in the last couple of years.

My jewellery is sold mainly in the UK in craft galleries, independent jewellery shops and gift shops. Also through my own website, on and at craft fairs. 

AIBDC : 007438

Tate Modern have been stocking my jewellery in their gift shop since 2010, and I was delighted when they ordered a special collection to be sold at the ‘Matisse Cut Outs’ exhibition in 2014.

For more information on acrylic jewellery this book is very useful:
'Precious Jewellery from Plastics: Methods and Techniques (Design and Make)’ by Chris Bond

Sarah Packington (Guest blogger)

This text was originally featured at

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