Clova Rae-Smith’s graduate collection BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS was influenced by the jewellery process of enamelling and how she could mimick bodily fluids in jewellery and bring the hard work to the surface. The wearer is wearing the blood, sweat and tears that went into the creation of the collection.
Clova designs primarily through making and test samples, figuring out jewellery techniques while designing. She started the project by examining pre-modern combat weapons, their design and the idea that if an object is labelled fashion, design or jewellery then it elevates it and it is no longer a weapon. This idea of weapons disguised as fashion such as the Alexander McQueen Knuckleduster clutch is unlikely to get someone arrested, even though they could possibly cause more damage than a classic knuckleduster. She then examined jewellery worn commonly around London through Marco Sconocchia’s photography. Clova researched the types of jewellery she kept seeing and when going to Hatton Garden noticed that it was mostly manufactured types of jewellery, which is usually quite cheap at wholesalers.
The collection is constructed from affordable precious materials, which is why I consistently used silver and enamel instead of stones and gold. Clova wanted to use manufacturable jewellery and redesign pieces to display my skill of enamelling and ironically highlight the hard work that goes into jewellery making by using factory made ‘identity’ jewellery which are highly replicated and available everywhere.
BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS is supposed to be accessible, easily worn and manufacturable however the enamel is impossible to replicate each time and each enamelled piece is completely unique. They are comfortable to wear and androgynous. The teeth jewellery is custom made to the person, it only fits the model; I filled in his missing tooth with blood, he said it makes him feel more confident as it has been an insecurity of his since birth. I want my collection to make the wearer feel confident.