Photograph Credit: David Moses Photographer
Beth Currie – Red Squirrel Crafts
My main influences can be summarised in two words: nature and mathematics.
I create jewellery using organic, natural shapes made with natural materials – cotton thread, gemstones, sterling silver and copper. I enjoy the reaction I get from people who wear my jewellery and tell me it evokes a sense of the wilderness and connects them to the earth. I am strongly influenced by pagan traditions, the wheel of the year and the progression of the seasons, and much of my jewellery celebrates these natural cycles.
My inspiration is drawn from the natural beauty around me in many ways. This could be in the small detail of a delicate leaf in glowing autumn colours, or in the splendour of the night sky lit with the northern lights. The former may move me to create a small, delicate piece with tiny crocheted leaves, while the latter may inspire a striking piece with bold bright colours.
I am also fascinated by patterns found in nature – circles, spirals, symmetrical patterns found in sacred geometry – and enjoy incorporating these into my work.
I consider myself strongly influenced by the work of M. C. Escher, which might sound odd given that my medium of choice is jewellery design and he was a graphic artist. But what fascinates me in his work is the intersection of mathematics and art. Escher said of his tessellation work: “… it affords the artist infinite possibilities, yet also confines him to the limitations imposed by the rules of play”. The same is true for my work, and this is what I find so captivating about working in this medium: the technical challenge of designing artistically pleasing pieces using crochet, which is mathematical and tightly constrained within the parameters of the numbers and layout of stitches that can be used.
I enjoy working with bright, vibrant colours and combining subtly different shades within my work to create striking pieces. I work across a huge colour palette – at my last count I had over 150 different thread colours, and in addition I often crochet using two threads together which affords almost infinite colour possibilities. I am constantly experimenting with different combinations of threads and gemstones. I enjoy the interplay between these mediums – the natural fibre of the cotton together with the natural gemstones and the way the colours and textures complement each other.
Thus, I strive to incorporate all of these concepts into my practice: the use of colour, symmetry, mathematics, texture and geometry, all thematically influenced by the natural beauty around where I live.