Margaret Hurst’s husband says that she never looks at people’s faces. She’s far too busy looking at their necks to see what jewellery they are wearing – and Margaret admits he is probably right.
Jewellery has long been her passion – one she will share once again for the Chichester Open Studios Art Trail 2019.
At city venue 3 at 1 Friary Lane, Chichester, PO19 1UE, Margaret will be will showing colourful, individually-designed jewellery using gemstone beads and pearls. Each piece is unique with sterling silver components and beads from all over the world – a reflection of Margaret’s own lifetime of travelling. She has been making jewellery for nearly 40 years, having studied jewellery design and construction for three years at technical college in Wellington, New Zealand, subsequently completing jewellery and silver-smithing courses at West Dean.
“I have travelled extensively since early childhood, living for a number of years in South East Asia, the Middle East and West Africa and try to incorporate in my jewellery the colours and styles of these areas. Each piece of jewellery is designed and made on an individual basis using natural semi-precious gemstones, fresh water pearls and sterling quality silver beads sourced from all over the world.”
Margaret has been participating in the trail for a number of years now: “I have been doing it since way back, before it became much more professional. I have been doing it for more than ten years. It used to be very much smaller.
“A friend of mine said ‘Do you want to put some of your jewellery on show?’ We had just come back. My husband had been working in Saudi, and she said ‘Do you want to join me?’
“It’s great fun to do. You meet a lot of people. If you are doing a garden show or something like that, you don’t have a connection with the people, but if they come into your own home, they put their head around the door and say ‘Can I come in?’ and it is a completely-different attitude. And I rather like that.
“Jewellery is something I have always been interested in. In the late 40s when we were living in what was then Ceylon, my mother would point out jewellery and say ‘Look at the way it is done, the perfection of it!’ In her generation jewellery was something you put on when you were dressing up. If you were going out to dinner or a party, you would put on all your rings and your bracelets, everything you had.”
Jewellery had and has a purpose – a purpose which has changed down the decades.
“In my mother’s and my grandmother’s generations, it was almost like saying who you were by the jewellery you had. You would put it all on for a dinner party; now it would be jeans and a pretty top! But it did have that purpose. It was about status, but now you get the youngies just trying to put on something that is a little bit different to their friends. When they are 14, they tend to copy each other, but by the time they are 18 they are using jewellery as a way to stand out a little bit.”
The Chichester Open Studios Art Trail 2019 will offer 160 artists exhibiting a wide range of work across 127 venues in and around the city of Chichester during the first two weekends in May (Saturday, Sunday, Monday, May 4, 5, 6; Saturday, Sunday, May 11, 12, 10.30am -5.30pm). The art trail preview exhibition runs at the Oxmarket Gallery from Tuesday, April 23-Sunday, April 28.