Alice Made This is very popular at Dapper Chapper HQ right now. Headed up by Alice Walsh, this British jewellery brand works with aerospace engineers and local artisans to create gorgeous personal items – all from responsibly sourced materials. And its latest release – the Forge Collection – is no different.
Inspired by the beauty of imperfection and the idea that no two of us are the same, the Forge Collection is made up of pendants and charms, cufflinks, and earrings, all by using a combination of hot and cold forging methods, drawing on traditional blacksmithing techniques dating back to as early as 1500BC.
Alice Made This has teamed up with expert forger Vincent Jack for this collection – a man who believes working with metal is something not static and hard, but as something fluid to mould and manipulate, and is excited by its malleability.
It’s easy to think of this collection of being something abrasive and raw, especially when you have such connotations of how the items are made; blacksmiths, molten-hot furnaces and clanking hammers doesn’t exactly exude attractive jewellery. Yet the Forge Collection – especially the Sidney & Silver Necklace we have in our hands – oozes style and delicacy. These pieces of craftsmanship are both imperfect and unique. Robust yet delicate. Striking but understated. And as Alice Walsh herself says, they celebrate individuality:
“The Forge Collection and the decision to experiment with the forging process came from a desire to answer ‘Imperfection’ as a working title. The craft of the blacksmith gave us a completely refreshed view of metal as a raw material. Not the hardness we have with our precision turned aerospace pieces, nor the molten metal found in our casting processes, but one where the metal is more like plasticine.
“Shaped by the hands of an expert under intense heat and confident action, these pieces are beautifully imperfect,” Walsh continues. “The result is a crude yet elegant form that has its own unique finish. Symbolising human nature, it is our imperfections that make us who we are and allow us to celebrate our individuality.”
With that in mind, it’s even more interesting to know how each piece is made. The gold and silver pieces are cold forged, tapped and crafted to look crinkled and soft; something you wouldn’t necessarily expect from such a ‘cold’ metal. Each piece is then either edge tapped or top tapped by the expert forgers. It’s struck in a different place every time, so no two pieces are ever the same.
The silver pieces are hot forged, offering a more brutal yet refined appeal. Placed into the forge until they are red hot (approximately 1200 degrees) they are then removed from the heat of the fire using tongs and are immediately struck using bespoke texture tools. Each piece is struck with a flattening fuller where necessary, and wire brushed to remove the heat scales, before being cooled, cleaned and polished. The result? A crude yet elegant form that has its own unique finish.
The Forge Collection – items (including our Sidney & Silver Necklace) start from £175. www.alicemadethis.com