There were some very natural necklaces at Origin: The London Craft Fair this year. It's the annual juried fair where some of the most sophisticated craftspeople from around the world show their wares. In week one there was an emphasis on natural materials in many of the pieces.
These simple and beautiful necklaces are made of found pieces of drift wood and shells from the beaches of northern Iceland. The artist, Helga Morgensen, collects the bits for her work on a special hideaway place where her family has been going every summer since she was a child.
The beaches are full of seashells and driftwood that have been in the ocean for a long time; they are bleached white from the salt. Mogensen tries to use pieces in their natural shape so that she can leave them untouched. She takes off the rough edges and covers them with a wax coating and creates very simple, quiet pieces. She also makes pins out of salmon skin that very effective.
These necklaces are made out of compressed newsprint. Leah Miles uses layer upon layer of old newspapers, stuck with adhesive, hardened and sanded down. The result is a smooth, light and very attractive finish. The pieces almost look like wood or bone.
She makes use of old books of romantic fiction, old note pads and college prospectuses in her exploration of paper, a material that she thinks is largely overlooked. From these raw materials she creates earrings, brooches and bangles.
She says that her work is "not about recycling as such, but more of an attempt to transform what already exists but is unwanted or undervalued into something of interest."
Leah Miles draws her inspiration from the Cornish landscape. This pin is only about 2" across, but the detail in the layering of the paper makes it a work of art.
This bangle looked like driftwood. It has bits of silver as accents. A pin had freshwater pearls, and tiny garnets which were a wonderful contrast to the pale colour of the paper.