I recently completed a commission for illustrator Carol Tratt. The piece was a gift for her birthday and my brief was to design something that she could wear for special occasions, suitable for work-related dinners and events. The ideal design would look like she was wearing one of her illustrations!
My husband, Peter, and I have always loved Erica’s work, so you can imagine how excited I was when he handed me a box on my birthday tied up with Erica’s ribbon. I was overwhelmed when I lifted the lid to discover the most beautiful necklace I had ever seen.
– Carol Tratt – Illustrator
After meeting with Carol and her husband, I took away some copies of her work to help me with the design. The scrolling bough and leaf designs and also the swags of hearts, moons and stars, feature frequently in Carol’s work, so I produced design ideas based on these. The bird gave the focal point in the centre panel of the necklace.
It felt it was very important to make sure that the finished necklace worked in 3 dimensions rather than the 2 dimensional style it was based on. To this end, I created the scrolls from forged bar and cut each leaf out individually, shaped and curled them, and soldered them in position.
I pierced out the little bird from silver sheet, filed the details on the tail to give contours and cut the wing from a separate piece and soldered it on.
To lift the design further, I cut yellow gold details such as stars, crescent moons and hearts and added them to the front with articulated rings. Their movement brings the piece to life when it is worn. They are highly polished in contrast to the frosted silver – this helps add definition, interest and makes the difference in colour more pronounced.
The beaded part of the necklace was made up of the elements from Carol’s swag designs. Again, I chose to mix polished yellow gold with frosted silver. The shaped beads are threaded onto a strong silver chain and I added an adjustable length fastener at the back.
Carol commented that “Erica created the design using key elements from my illustration work which has made the necklace extremely personal. Although I knew about the necklace before my birthday, as Peter had wanted me to have some input, I was not prepared for how beautifully and creatively Erica had interpreted our ideas. I will treasure this necklace forever.”