Samuel Bennett (He/Him)
My work includes pieces primarily realised in silver and freshwater pearl; these materials are used to explore themes of fragility and its connections with historical ideals of beauty. Chased and press-formed metals suggest pearl, with connotations of sentimentality and purity, alluding to melancholic fascination. My work references historical understandings of themes commonly related to death or illness, which, in the nineteenth century, became associated with a form of delicate beauty. In particular, the effects of tuberculosis, which evoked visions of frailty as purity, and a beauty vulnerable to harsh industrial society. Here, pearls suggest virtue, alongside revelation of historic mythologies.
A necklace, bracelet and earrings all featuring freshwater pearls strung using traditional pearl knotting techniques. This set references classic pearl jewellery; using its forms to comment on the purity and virtue historically associated with 19th-century gentry members succumbing to TB. Tangled knots of pearl found along the necklace and bracelet push the realities of this romanticisation, as do the cold, angular box clasps.
This jewellery set builds around the statement chain, with its cast silver forms grasping onto freshwater pearls. The molecular, organic form alludes to viruses and illness – themes the complimenting earrings and brooch explore with their clustered pearl patterns, referencing microscopic imagery of tuberculosis cells.
This set takes inspiration from 19th-century literature and images of the deathbed. Despite a lack of freshwater pearls, the presence of pearl is hinted at through chased silver sheet; evoking ideas of a soft, gentle danger. Next to the two other parures in this collection, the Linen set solidifies the inevitable consequences of historically romanticised fragility.