‘Rationed’ by Jo Pond

In January we went to visit the exhibition ‘Rationed‘ by Jo Pond at the Vittoria Street Gallery at Birmingham’s School of Jewellery. The exhibition was a collection of narrative pieces inspired by Jo’s grandmother’s diary and family heirlooms, “Stirred by a collection of diaries, bequeathed alongside hand-me-down stories, words and trinkets from a generation before, Jo Pond draws on evocative World War 2 artefacts to craft her own heirlooms.” Vittoria Street Gallery

Most of the Shelanu members had not heard of the term, narrative jewellery before visiting the exhibition. After they looked at the exhibition we had a conversation about the work and what they thought when looking at the pieces:

“The work is very different to usual jewellery; it is telling a story – a certain period of time – they show a special memory.”

“The jewellery keeps the memory, so you don’t forget. I felt emotional looking at the work.”

The members were also impressed by the range of materials:

“Everything: metal, kitchen, domestic.”

“Rationed – limited: eating, materials – you can feel that through the work.” “Also the older generation found uses for everything, I have a sense of that; resourcefulness.”

General responses to the exhibition included:

“You can tell it meant a lot.”

“I used to think of jewellery as metal things, but a lot of material can be jewellery; it’s how you make it. This exhibition has opened my eyes more.”

“Make it useful – a connection from the older to the younger generation.”

“It’s more moving; with the subject of war…makes you think; tells you something else about the war; life was hard.”

Favourite pieces:

Amy: “The shirts – I like the leather fixing and the brooch. I’ve never thought about how men could wear jewellery in that way – not the shirt, it is the fixing.”

Yeelah: “Tin boxes – I had a small collection when I was younger. I like how abstract they are with the stone, watch strap and imagery.”

Mei: “I liked the little items; I can imagine wearing them. I can’t imagine wearing the big necklaces. I loved the diaries as well, I liked how they look and the story they hold.”

Kiki: “I like the piece in the wall case, it looks different; more special than the other pieces.”

After visiting ‘Rationed’ and talking about the exhibition, materials, heirlooms and stories the everyone had a better understanding of narrative, contemporary jewellery. It gave everyone a lot to think about.

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