Vernon Bowden

Vernon Bowden

Vernon Bowden


In my work I often use clichéd jewellery forms, these archetypes create one layer in my concept; they reference traditional aspects of jewellery and are ciphers for various social groups and their values.  The use of ready-made materials, loaded with associations, adds another layer of subtext.  The choice of visual metaphor builds further resonance.  Finally, the titles give the means of access; they are the maker’s signpost to the other aspects at play in the works.

The value of the found objects I use is their “meta-ness” not their materialistic nature (a useful juxta in the world of jewellery). This allows me to ignore, or at least subvert, traditional applied art and the facsimile nature of my casting practice further subverts the more formalist elements of jewellery design. There are themes I want to explore in my work and (hopefully) an initial response I would like to invoke. When I decide on an object; prejudices, preconceptions and misconceptions that make up cultural myth are just as valid as historical “fact”. Strong links to time and place as well as a connection to a person (real or imaginary) is important, as are objects that invoke some sort of emotional response.

Wearability is low in my priorities when I make jewellery, but concepts around wearables and why individuals/groups/cultures choose to wear, feel constrained, or are forced to wear objects is interesting. With jewellery there’s often a tangible link between the object and the perceived wearer/owner, and this increases the non physical “value” of such objects (meta-objects).

The long history of body adornment and metal-smithing gives me a wealth of tradition to mine. This historical framework provides, and the associated “rules” mean, there is always something to rub up against or kick over. The perceived functionality and role of jewellery allows me to dispense with a lot of design considerations (it is what it is) and concentrate on the conceptual aspects of the work.


Vernon will be exhibiting in the Comments exhibition in the Unlimited Substance series from 06 March to 16 March 2015.

Vernon will also be exhibiting in Perfect mutations from 08 July to 19 July 2015.


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