Rachel Butlin seeks to challenge the concepts of contemporary interactive and wearable jewellery, producing a range of high end mixed material, functional and wearable objects.
Carefully considering material combination and placement, work often explores non traditional materials, evoking curiosity, creating a connection between the piece and wearer. Intrigued by Japanese culture and tradition , the art of placement and cultural colour palettes remain central in designs. Inspiration is drawn from Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arrangement. It focuses on harmony, colour use, rhythm, and elegantly simple design. She is also fascinated by Japanese traditional architecture, unique architectural characteristics bringing together natural materials and colours with dark and bright contrasts. Linear forms feature strongly alongside geometric shapes and spaces. These ideas and themes are explored through bold strikes of colour and simple lines, bought together to create statement wearable brooches, rings and neckpieces
Rachel has a playful and detailed approach to design and the making process. Materials are gathered in a collection, waiting to be explored through combination and placement, within a 3D drawing process. Drawing with materials is an essential part of her practice. By stacking, layering and placing components with others, she finds different ways of constructing pieces using traditional jewellery techniques such as setting and riveting. This process also allows her to explore and explode original thoughts, creating new ideas from one original starting point.
The making process includes many techniques from enamelling to creating settings, to combine non traditional materials harmoniously together. Simple forms of bamboo and walnut create the body of statement pieces, displaying geometric lines, alongside colour and intriguing surfaces. Silver is oxidised to create bold linear features, further enhancing the dark and bright contrasts. Enamelling with simple colours and a chosen palette enables Rachel to explore connections where natural materials meet bright contrasts, like those found in traditional architecture. Rachel loves to challenge the way in which people perceive a piece of jewellery, by creating small scale sculpture that can be worn on the body, in a way chosen by the wearer.
Rachel Butlin studied at Nottingham Trent University, gaining an Exceptional First Class Hons Degree in Decorative Arts - specialising in Metalwork, along with other mixed media processes. A passion for materials allows playful processes to be explored throughout pieces.