Archive for the ‘Rachel Ross’ Tag

Art Catalogue – Flux & Fire – RABT Design

flux fire cover

Flux Fire Richard Bolai Adele Todd pdf

Book Design – ~ Five Jewelers and Their Art

Number of pages: 62 pages

Type of Book: Soft bound, perfect binding

Photography: Full cover – Photography by Michele Jorsling

Published 2005

The National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago created a catalogue of unpresidented quality and detail to herald the work of five female jewelers working in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and London.

Jewelers: Barbara Jardine, Jasmine Thomas-Girvan, Rachel Ross, Janice Derrick and Sarah May Marshall

Remembering Bookmann geocites 2004 – Rachel Ross


Photography: Michele Jorsling, Model: Adele Beckles

My career as a jeweller was completely unplanned. The idea to make jewellery was put to me very understatedly by a dear friend, and with contemplation I decided that it sounded an interesting prospect. That became my impetus to apprentice to a local jeweller.


Initially, financial restrictions did not allow me to invest in the traditional precious gems and metals of the trade, so I definitely became more creative with my designs.  I never thought of these as ‘designs’ but purely as something that was instinctive. The gems I used in the early days were bamboo, coconut, seeds, twine, driftwood and shells or anything I could get my hands on. An empty condensed milk tins became the base and basis for a series of bracelets. Similarly, remembering the recession in Trinidad and Tobago in the  1980s, people used their initiative and found ingenious methods to express themselves without the usual tools. I remember small cottage industries developing with wonderful creations by all kinds of talented people, many of whom were in the same boat. There was a lot of work to be seen.

My work are designed to be worn, so clothing was a  inspiration, especially having friends who were uninhibited in their dress and happy to show off my bits and pieces. My dear friend and risqué dresser, Donna Vieira, gave me the confidence and encouragement to follow my instincts in 1984, when I started my own studio and with  the support of my family and friends, my first exhibition was a resounding success.


Friend and fashion designer, Meiling, gave me a huge break to show my pieces to a larger audience, when, after ‘Nous ça Vante’ in 1986, she asked that I accessorise a few sections of her Christmas show of the same year. From then on, and for many years after, together with friend and master craftswoman, Judy Sanchez, I was able to be as big and as bold as I desired. It was liberating to work on such a scale as a jeweller.

My pieces aren’t ‘clean’ by nature as they tend to be more organic in form. Nature certainly is an inspiration for me especially in terms of the physical composition of our earth – at university I was studying geology. I am fascinated by continental Africa and its raw, physical beauty. I drew upon the old safari visions of the past, as the context for a series of brooches and bracelets for a Meiling collection entitled, ‘Lopinot Revisited’. These were large bamboo cuffs burned and embellished with brass and brooches of wooden pieces from old armoires and the ‘jewels’ found in them. The environment, its preservation and enhancement, is something I care deeply about. I know it inspires my creativity.


With each exhibition my work changed and evolved as I ventured closer to the traditional form of jewellery-making, using gems and precious metals. This said, I have always treated whatever materials I use as precious. From the organic gems, to the found objects, to the industrial discards, I now find myself reflecting on the trouvère of the past as my current inspiration. – – Rachel Ross 2005

Alchemy – Two Goldsmiths + Flux and Fire Exhibition

“An interpersonal chemistry”

Alchemy – Two Goldsmiths

Salivating at the prospects of an early Chrismas shopping at Tiffany – Port of Spain, with a price range between $375 to $15,000 TT dollars. So at Christmas parties or other social gatherings, many patrons will adorn themselves with pieces from this show, and provoke a little precious sparkle of envy among themselves. The Alchemy collection by Barbara Jardine and Rachel Ross. The display of adornments, bracelets, rings and necklaces made from precious metals and set with gems at the National Museum, Trinidad and Tobago.

At the Annex of the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago, the who’s who of the buying public filled the gallery to look, admire and tender for the works of two local jewellers, Barbara Jardine and Rachel Ross. The pieces are from their commercial Alchemy line, and the exhibition runs for two days. See the work from the Flux and Fire exhibition post where the finer details of their craftsmanship is explored. – See also Barbara Jardine’s book, “Goldsmith,” the jeweller’s repertoire of over three decades of the craft. ***


The Flux and Fire exhibition

Flux and Fire Exhibition at the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago

The efforts of five Caribbean jewellers are rewarded with an exhibition entitled, “Flux and Fire, Five jewellers and their Art,” held at the National Museum of Trinidad and Tobago in 2005. The project’s emphasis is to show the importance in the craft of jewellery and to also dispel the notion that jewellery that can only serve as a form of ornamentation from commercial casts, but rather be placed in the arena of Art.

The Artists participating in this show are Barbara Jardine, Jasmine Thomas-Girvin, Rachel Ross, Janice Derrick and Sarah May Marshall. They all are amalgamating a spectrum of skills, proficiencies and ideas of what jewellery means to them. These women are all masters of their trade with several years of expertise, training and qualifications.

Barbara Jardine’s Jewelled object

The Annex of the Museum is divided into two rooms where the exhibition is two shows. The Artists have displayed their working tools and conceptual drawings. Steel rulers, dividers, hammers and vices are put on show to stress the fact that not only is the skill of jewellery making technical, but time consuming and costly to produce. The main gallery’s, walls are painted in an imperial red toned with Burgundy. Plinths and customized glass cases are set against the walls, and the Jewellers have tastefully orchestrated an unique approach in highlight their pieces. The subtlety of their personalities are emphasized through the bamboo rods, fine mesh stands, fretwork encasement and cubicle boxes.

Rachel Ross’s necklaces are looped together to give the illusion of beads of coral, and there are clusters of bamboo disks interspersed with silver. Her bracelet is a forged disc that is duplicated and interweaved with silver and mother of peal… quite lovely.

Barbara Jardine, has an exquisite retrospective of her work using a series of recessed enclosures. The boxpiece, “Brother Sun,” resonates with the precision of an intricate mount. Mother of peal, turtle shell and ivory are fused and a figure of a face illuminates from a carving underneath the amber. Other works including a perfume bottle capped with an sliver ornate flora facet. The work is equally proficient.

An elongated plinth holds the work by Janice Derrick, these are distorted disks etched with lines and perforated with small pin holes that circumvent the discus. ***

Jasmine Thomas-Girvan’s Anansi

These women are showing the possibilities of materials, colours, sizes, textures and tones. They do not disappoint with the challenging concepts that they have created separately. To accompany the show there were also a lecture about their processes, how they make livings and their works. This is a rare treat for those who love jewellery, but moreso, it is extremely important for the country, because it is a solitary profession. Yet these women reflect the highest standards and have shown their works and sold their works all over the world.

These Caribbean women want us to know what is possible with a little hard work, determination and drive. This is made clear in particular when one looks at the work across from Janice Derrick’s, the work of Sarah May Marshall. Sarah May attempts to explore Jewellery as ultra modern and 21st century, by looking at the idea of satellites, and motion on the one hand and then, she uses local materials like the ‘Donkey eye’ and Cock’s feathers as a focal point on the other. At the end of the gallery space in fretwork case that harps of the assemblages of Louise Nevelson, sits the works of Jasmine Thomas-Girvan. Her work is a narrative of West Indian folktales and particular the character, “Anansi.” The Pendent made with composites of silver and gold, eclipses with a snail shell as the heart of the figure. She also includes a series of rings; flutes, flames and chariots. . At the end of her story is a show piece of humming birds that meet as a chain. A wonderful suggestion for our National Awards. – Adele