A HAND-carved bracelet made of ebony and inlaid with iridescent beetle wings, silver and tourmalines created by a Trinidad-based artist has been chosen by the famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, for its permanent collection of contemporary jewels.
“The Warrior” was made by Trinidad-born Barbara Jardine, who attended the then London Central Art School—now Central St Martin’s—specialising in jewelry. She then gained a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art, receiving the Anstruther Prize as student of the year.
Over the past 39 years, Jardine has become best known for her hand-made jewels and collectible objects. She integrates precious metals and stones with recycled and ethically sourced materials such as beetle wings, turtle shell, black coral, feathers and wood.
Jardine said: “Trinidad’s isolated geographical location and tropical surroundings have been pivotal to the distinctive development of my craft, defining both my visual narrative and choice of materials, as well as shaping the carving and inlay skills which have evolved within the taut framework of traditional techniques.
“Resins, Perspex and precious foils also add to the ‘alchemy’. All are carefully selected for their qualities of colour, translucency and beauty, and pieces often take weeks to complete.”
And now Jardine is showcasing her talents on the only global directory of artists—Artists’ Info—which was created by a supporter of the arts and businesswoman Jean Dennis, based in the UK. The online directory currently enables 300 artists of all types from 20 countries to easily showcase their work to commissioners, individuals and businesses.
“Jean and the team were very interested in my work and very supportive. For many years I have been respected, safe and successful in Trinidad, although rather isolated. Last March, I competed and exhibited The Calabash Collection. For centuries the fruit of the calabash tree has been used to make bowls, ornaments and musical instruments, and the response to my work was so great it gave me much more confidence and desire to share my work with a much wider audience. Obviously with the site being global, the exposure it can offer me is truly worldwide,” said Jardine.
UK art gallery owner Dennis, who thought up the Artists’ Info idea, added: “Jardine’s work is beautiful, a very welcome addition to the site. We do hope her presence on Artists’ Info will help her get her name out further into the worldwide market and gain her the success she truly deserves.”
Excerpt from the Foreword for
Barbara Jardine: Goldsmith by
Prof Georgina Follett, OBE, MDes RCA, FSCD, FRSA.
Barbara’s work is of the calibre of individuals such as Charlotte De Syllas, David Courts, Bill Hackett, Reema Pachachi and Cynthia Cousens, all of whom have stayed within the fine jewelry tradition and successfully developed through their individual skill set a fluency of language.
In doing so they have produced pieces that give to the viewer work that stands independently as a work of excellence while also having the visual signature and integrity that ensure those who see the piece know, with certainty, the author.
Just from looking a the range of work produced by Barbara, you can see the thought process that moves from one piece to another, you can identify her as the author; this is the method by which one can judge the work of an artist of quality and standing.
All craftspeople should have mastered the silent practice of craftsmanship and material selection, which in all work of the highest quality must serve the articulation of the vision of the individual.
They are not enticing or engaging you with their skill, but presenting you with a deep personal visual statement, one that gives the imagery supremacy, allowing the legend to unfurl, drawing you into a space of contemplation, and enabling the viewer to establish a symbiotic relationship through the individual’s personal iconography.
Their work is timeless, not susceptible to fashion, for it stands outside the transient and within the world of heirlooms where it will make its journey independently throughout its lifetime.
Barbara’s work does this. She is a practitioner, a jeweller of the highest order.
Call her an artist, designer, fine craftsperson—any of these titles fit. They fit because of the work she produces.