‘To the man on the street the term jewellery can be used to describe everything from a 20 carat diamond to a plastic trinket, but the response to each are equally different’ says Christopher Thompson Royds whose practice has always been centred around the issues of sentimentality, value, permanence and impermanence.
In his graduate project ‘Lead Weight’ (2010) he used gold and lead to explore the near-physical absence felt by his grandmother after the robbery of her jewellery collection long before he was born. Themes of perceived value, emotional and financial, wrestled with each other while also referencing how Ancient Romans had made counterfeit jewels out of gold plated iron to deceive the viewer and gold covered lead the wearer.
His first solo show entitled ‘Hoard’ tackled another theme, this time value and was hosted at the prestigious Galerie Marzee in 2012. The collection was inspired by a famous collection of medieval coins, bullion and jewellery which had been found hidden in the walls of an old house in Erfurt Germany. The potential interchange between these metal forms fascinated him and in response he drew down, rolled, pierced and soldered euro coins into necklaces, earrings and bracelets to form the collection.
Christopher’s latest collection Natura Morta (Galerie Marzee 2014) explores specifically the themes of permanence and its inverse and involved hand cutting paper-thin silver and gold which he would hand paint to mimic pressed flowers. Mounted in folios similar to those of the great plant collectors, the pieces can be kept untouched, sealed within their boxes, or can be worn, but like a floral wreath will change over time. The paint will wear leaving just a memory of the brilliance.