Catherine’s work always begins with a reference to a particular narrative or character. She styles and builds the piece around the subject in order to bring out the heart of her inspiration.
Handmade from sterling silver, this range excites an established but staid jewellery tradition by putting vintage erotica at its heart. The works are clearly sexual but, due to their classic form and the photographs’ outmoded images, maintain an innocence too. Each piece features a different photograph from an extensive archive. This archive is accessible to buyers who may choose their model. Old photographs and postcards are sealed behind glass in order to preserve and exhibit a precious story.
Catherine will often oxidise silver in order to emphasise the works’ antique nature and capture a piece of history in the style of its original era. Her use of pearls in this collection symbolises a concealed purity now opened, exposed and beautiful, just like the women in these photographs. Playing on nostalgia and sentimentality, these works combine archaic items with antiquated voyeurism.
One important concept that has shaped Catherine’s work is Freud’s psychosexual theory, particularly the idea of the fetish. The idea that sexual desire can be displaced onto alternative objects or body parts has provided her with a wealth of material. Pieces will frequently evoke themes from psychology and fine art whilst retaining basic formal appeal.
Catherine borrows stylistically from vintage photography and motion footage. She aims to style her pieces in the era the inspiration came from, for example, if she has used a Victorian portrait in one of her pieces, she will design the mechanism to function like a traditional Victorian piece of jewellery.
Through her work Catherine aims to build a visual language of sexual signifiers that remind us of shapes and rituals gone by. Whether it’s a body pose from an impressionist painter or a model in a Victorian peep show, she strives to marry modern desire with classic forms. In doing so, she acknowledges some of jewellery’s most basic functions. Not least, to supplement and communicate the wearers’ desires and self-image.