About Eleyne Williams   Narrative Necklaces

To hold a bead in your hand is to touch hands back through a history warm with humanity's intimate past. Whether it is a Neolithic shell bead, a 1920s Liberty's necklace or an African tribal bead, the magic is there and it is utterly addictive! I have been under the spell of beads for most of my life!

I studied Literature at University and whilst I was there, started experimenting with beads, teaching myself the techniques of working and designing with them. The anthropology of beads - their relationship with mankind marking and reflecting human moments from birth to burial since the very beginning and the universality of this expression fascinated me. I started to collect interesting beads, small artefacts and found objects and became intrigued by the intimate tales individual pieces might tell and enjoyed finding ways of revealing their secrets through the medium of imagination, giving them new stories to tell.

In 1980, I set up my own workshop-studio, where I also exhibit my work under the title of 'Narrative Necklaces', born out of my love of literature and story-telling and my passion for beads.  I enjoy taking non-precious materials and turning them into beautiful and desirable objects. Beads are a very valuable resource for me, but I have also used cello bridges, feathers, sugar tongs, a vintage hair comb, in fact anything which catches my eye! Using this treasure trove of found objects and a wealth of beads, I work antique materials into new designs and translate ancient ideas in modern ways, often using poetry, music, art and nature as the spring board for design.

Each necklace is a new adventure and no two pieces are ever alike. Yet, there are certain design aspects which I have developed and often use within my work. One such is that I think the back of the neck is important and often neglected by designers. The Japanese consider the nape of the neck a very romantic and alluring area of a woman's body and I will often add some little detail to enhance this. For many years I have 'signed' my necklaces with an EW bead and this is often the area where I place it.

My work has been described as 'whimsical' and I do delight in using humour! Some of my necklaces are large or flamboyant, requiring perhaps a rather special kind of personality to wear them but all jewellery is made to enhance the spirit of beauty and I would hope that any woman who wears my jewellery has a sense of pleasure in her own being, in her own beauty and that it becomes a reflection of her own statement.

My workshop-studio is a cross between a Magpie's Hoard and a Cabinet of Curiosities. Once a year I dress it up in its best bib and tucker for a week and turn it into a Gallery to show my year's work to a small invited guest list. This is the lovely part of working in this way, that you see the marriage between the necklace and the person who chooses it and what each does for the other! It never ceases to fascinate me!

 

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Eleyne at work in her studio