IN: Inspiration

The Making Of…

Find out how Aleks Ashton’s winning jewellery piece was made


We caught up with 2018 Jewellery Category winner Aleks Ashton to get the inside track on how she made her concept come to life.

What did you create for the jewellery category of the competition?

My piece was called The Tiara of the Heart and Head.

PPC Imaginarium

Who or what did you turn to for inspiration when you were deciding what to create for the competition?

I tend to look to friends and family when I make art jewellery pieces. The Tiara was a celebration of the physiology of life, inspired by my mother’s career as a cardiologist and my previous career as a research psychologist. I used imagery of neurons and capillaries as the foundation of the design.

How did you decide what you would make and submit?

I felt that I needed to make something fabulous to really explore the versatility of the concrete and could not think of anything more fabulous than a Tiara.

Please briefly explain the process of what it took to create your piece.

I spent a lot of time experimenting and making samples long before I began work on the actual piece. I experimented with exchanging the standard cement aggregate with chips of gemstones and it took some time to figure out what sizes to use and how much to use of it. It was also important to get the consistency right so that it held onto the brass frame.

PPC Imaginarium

Did you ever change your idea or start over? If so, why?

Not really, I was rather in love with the concept and only had to refine the design over time.

Had you much experience in working with concrete before? If so, what?

For the 2017 round of the competition I experimented with concrete for the Cyberglyph necklace. Until then I had no experience with the material.

What was the most frustrating thing about working with concrete?

Fingerprint recognition on my phone does not work for at least a week after I work with concrete, as I tend to avoid gloves!

I also found that the concrete dried faster than I expected. I learned that it is important to mix fresh batches every 30 mins and work on small areas rather than making one big batch. 

What was the best part about working with concrete?

The versatility. It can be heavy or light, ridged or flexible, rough or smooth, course or fine… all depending on what you mix into it, how you shape it and what other materials you include alongside it. This versatility yields great potential for innovation and is a great excuse to spend time playing and experimenting.


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