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SO MINT! Valerie James

Rhode Island School of Design '19

SO MINT! is a series of posts on fresh graduates in fashion, jewellery and design from around the world. Handpicked by Current Obsession.

I thrive in the ritual moments of everyday life – constantly exploring the paths I walk and find comfort in. Our propensity as humans guides us back to certain places every time, revealing and transforming us. The practice of walking is a way in which I can observe these transitory moments and the time spent at my work bench generates and sustains the same ritual atmosphere. It is my desire to reify these liminalities, bringing them into the concrete world through the format of jewelry.

I am fascinated with our human tendency to leave marks and gather them as we wander – how our bodies are marked physically, emotionally and psychologically. Through carving and engraving silver or graphite, I am able to both reveal the sublime surfaces and embed myself into the work. Form is not the goal, but an eventual outcome that enables a tangible relationship to the ephemeral. My intent is to draw the viewer through the laborious technique and subtle glimmer that stems from each mark.

Jewelry is the ultimate format for continuing these intimate moments through the experience of each wearer. The body stands within the form of a necklace. It is not placed on the body, but brings body into place – tracing the curves and landscapes of our physical existence in the same way our bodies conform to existing paths when walking. My body acts as a mediator that lives between the experiences I encounter and the relationship the wearer develops with the work. When these translations reach others, they are invited to experience the essence of ritual imbedded in each piece and continue this in the wearing.

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