A Moment in Time
Maybe it’s all this economic hardship, maybe it’s the fact that the future doesn’t seem particularly bright right now or maybe we’re just a sentimental bunch of fools, but whatever the reason for it, people seem to be becoming more and more nostalgic by the very day. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of reminiscence from time to time and this is a conviction that Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre has fully embraced with its arts and craft shop’s latest exhibition A Moment in Time.
The display shelves at this particular Manchester event, on until April 28th, are choc-a-block with photographs, old maps, coins, stamps, newspapers and vintage buttons, all magically transformed into pieces of art and jewellery. Joining the list of exhibitors – which includes Judith Brown, Rachel Eardley and Amy Keeper – is Amelia Smith, owner of the Little Red Shop, which sells charming resin jewellery with a vintage upcycled twist.
Her Edinburgh-based online store only opened last year but it has already proved to be a hit, with stockists in England, Scotland, Wales and the Netherlands clamouring for some of her one-of-a-kind pieces. It is easy to see why the Exchange was keen to include Amelia’s trinkets in its show, since her work features a lot of vintage stamps, which she snaps up from fairs around the UK. “They are really beautiful,” she says, “and I like the idea that they’ve been sent from other countries and are now continuing their little life. Someone recently posted on my Facebook page that they had bought a ring and left it in America. It was a mistake that I thought was quite nice, with the stamp continuing its journey.”
Upcycling is very much where Amelia’s heart lies, evident in a lot of her work. Not only does she include old photographs, postcards and stamps in her jewellery, but she also hand-prints her own business cards out of old boxes, the recycled nature of which she says people really do appreciate.
This way of thinking is partly what initially drew her to resin as a material, since it has always preserved something old within it, she explains. “It’s really clear so I can see what’s inside. You can colour it but I tend to use clear resin as I do a lot of embedding.”
It may, however, have been inevitable that Amelia – who graduated from the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art in 2008 with an MA in fine art – would end up working with resin, or a similar substance. When quizzed about her first-ever art project, she laughs and recalls how, as a child, she would sharpen different-coloured crayons, put the shavings in a jar of water and then freeze them, so she could have a pretty ball of ice to look at. “It’s really funny because it’s pretty much what I’m doing now,” she says.
So what does the future hold for Amelia and her Little Red Shop? Aside from seeking out new stockists, running a stall at Edinburgh’s design and makers’ market on April 28th and, naturally, making a lot of jewellery, she also has plans to collaborate with a screen-printing artist later this year and find some more exhibitions to take part in. Little Red Shop – playing in a town near you soon!
Amelia’s top tips
Want to give resin jewellery-making a go? Here’s some expert advice from the Little Red Shop’s Amelia Smith.
- Wear safety gloves and goggles and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space
- Colouring resin can be quite expensive, but you can use acrylic paint – although take care when mixing chemicals!
- Leave your resin to set for at least 24 hours
- Find tutorials on the internet and give it a go. Just experiment!
Who’s working with resin right now? Any tips you’d like to share?
- How to Photograph Jewellery (pixelsmithstudios.com)
- resin results (foundobjectbeachart.wordpress.com)
- Resin Stools Filled With Old Technologies (geekologie.com)