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What Is Wearable Art?

Wearable art, also known as "Artwear" or "art to wear" is the term used to describe jewellery, accessories and clothing designed as conceptual or fine art. Each piece is hand crafted and often one of a kind, and evokes its maker's artistic expression and aesthetic taste. Pieces of wearable art are often a fusion of haute couture and conceptual art.

What is wearable art? - tooth necklace
Our Gold Vermeil Tooth Pendant Necklace, a perfect example of wearable art

Although each piece of wearable art is created with style in mind, it's intended that the wearer or observer consider each piece to be making an important and intrinsic artistic statement. Wearable art jewellery can be made using many different types of materials and techniques and often these choices are governed by the concept the artist is trying to communicate through their work. However not all wearable art is easily wearable. Some artists push the envelope of the term 'wearable', creating beautifully impractical adornments which are intended more for exhibitions.

We believe that Duxford Studios Ethical Handmade Jewellery is truly wearable art.

Wearable art - Interius collection
Our Interius handmade statement jewellery collection, inspired by small and beautiful moments that happen in life

Our founder Esme, was transported back to her childhood pastime of making miniature sculptures when she started working with sterling silver. With a rich background in Fine Art having been awarded a First Class Hons Degree from Bath School of Art and Design, Esme knew she had found her craft. It's the perfect way for her to explore her conceptual artistic ideas through the beautiful medium of jewellery making. 

Duxford Studios creates hand-crafted fine jewels inspired by life, death and the journey along the way. The pieces in our Contemporary Wearable Sculpture Art Collections are a reminder of the transient nature of life and the beauty of living each day to its fullest while our Custom Jewellery Design & Commissions bring our clients dreams to life. The Latin theory Memento Mori is central to much of our conceptual jewellery and we have an entire collection named after it. Our second collection Interius, celebrates small moments in life. Each piece is made from the internal space inside a clenched fist, creating beautifully flowing pieces of ethical metal; a split second experience frozen in time. 

wearable art - bespoke

Bespoke baby's fingerprint cufflinks, 9ct white gold by Duxford Studios

We do not believe in mass manufacturing our jewellery. Instead we handcraft each piece from its conception to the final finishing touches, using only the best ethically sourced and recycled materials. We believe in good quality and honest products that will stand the test of time, creating timeless heirlooms that draw your attention, wake your imagination and are treasured for generations.

“We live in a one-size-fits-all world of mass production and fast fashion. Duxford Studios is the antidote.” Esme, Founder

Like what you're reading? Check out our Ethical NecklacesEthically Sourced EarringsEthical Bracelets and Ethically Sourced Rings.

Wearable Art Designers

We could talk about wearable art designers all day, but to give you a flavour, some of the most famous wearable art designers include:

  1. Frida Kahlo is famed for her beautiful and provocative work including her painted body castes
  2. Louise Bourgeois who wore her wearable soft sculpture as part of a performance piece in A Banquet/A Fashion Show of Body Parts in 1978
  3. Nick Cave, known for his Soundsuits
  4. K8 Hardy who exhibited her Untitled Runway Show in 2012
  5. Giacomo Balla, an artist who championed colorful clothing that embraced both industrial and urban life

Our Top 5 Pieces of Wearable Art

As passionate makers of wearable art, we had done our fair share of research into the artists and their art jewellery. Here are our top picks

1. Zoe Arnold's 'Unaware' brooch 2010

what is wearable art - Zoe Arnold
Druzy quarts, vintage ribbon and silver
This intriguing piece caught our eye as soon as we set eyes on it! Her inventive use of old and new materials is striking, and the subject matter of her work strongly aligns her with the wearable art movement. 

2. Atelier Tom Munsteiner's 'Lucrece' bracelet 2010

wearable art Atelier Tom Munsteiner
Amethyst and 18 ct yellow gold
In the skilled hand of Bernd, Tom and Jutta, seemingly common stones like this amethyst take on a whole new life. Their stone cutting style is like no one else we've seen, they are true giants of the craft. They achieve maximum reflection in the stones they cut and celebrate the individuality of each piece they work on.

3. Duxford Studio's Sterling Silver Hand Necklace

wearable art - hand necklace
Shameless promotion we know, but as wearable art makers, we would be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn't sing our own praises just a little. Our hand necklace is an absolute classic and is definitely one of our all time faves! Made of ethically sourced sterling silver, or gold vermeil (ethically sourced sterling silver with 18 carat gold plating), it's perfect for any occasion. An alluring piece of anatomical jewellery, inspired by human hands which have played a role in how our species have evolved over time. Our hand necklace celebrates our beautiful humanity and connects us to our history.

4. Constantinos Kyriacou's 'Think Again' brooch 2008

wearable art constantinos kyriacou
Red fabric, silver and gold
This Cypriot jeweller was born in to the trade with both parents making traditional jewellery and chains. But Kyriacou's work is anything but traditional or mainstream. Much of his work features depictions of the human head and body, and he is fascinated by the perfection of the human form. 

5. Robert Smit's 'Walking in Padova' necklace 2002

wearable art Robert Smit

Gold, silver, steel and paint

The lines between fine art and jewellery are truly blurred in all of Smit's work. Playful painting occurs throughout his collections, which we think work beautifully juxtaposed against the glowing rich gold of the metal. Wouldn't you agree?

Duxford Studio creates ethical handmade jewellery inspired by the human form,
modern culture, and the sensation of touch. All of our pieces are cast from hand
carved wax in recycled sustainable sterling silvergold vermeil, and other ​
precious metals. Shop our full collection on our website or get in contact about
custom jewellery design commission. Need help choosing a piece? Read our
full guide on what to look for when buying jewellery on our blog page.

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