Zoe Catherine Kendall and her Obsession with Eyeballs

The jewellery designer lets us ransack her sketchbook and inspiration images of snails, moss and eyeballs.

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Zoë Catherine Kendall presented her jewellery collections 'Precious Creatures' and 'Rough Cut' after graduating from Central Saint Margins, and she continues to explore what nature has to offer up as inspiration going by her sketches and inspiration images that she allowed Dazed Digital to delve into.

"Nature has bean a massive inspiration for my collections, but not in a flowery, pretty or obvious way. I love the gritty and grotesque beauty of natural organisms - animals, insects and humans. I'm really turned on as a designer by the uneven textures, the imperfections, the tactility - it's a humble and unassuming kind of beauty, rather than a synthesized, man-made and unreal beauty that you see in jewellery all the time," enthuses Kendall on the subject  Cue inspiration images of snails, woods and moss and then further sketches which echo the shapes of snaking creatures or gnarly branches.

Most of the pieces Kendall creates are one-off precisely because of the choice of materials that is a natural continuation of what she initially explored: "I use rough stones instead of faceted ones, as they are just more real to me."

When she throws an eyeball or two into the mix you start to feel that whilst Kendall draws much from nature, she isn't about to fall into a cliched pothole of 'hippy jewellery'. Kendall explains her decision to start using the eyeball as a motif and the development of an aesthetic that veers between being gothic and humorous: "I guess it's a perfect combination of something serious and dark, and yet still light-hearted enough to appreciate, to even laugh at. It was a natural progression really, rather than something I deliberately set out to achieve. I wanted to use the eyes to represent this idea of intrigue and curiosity, and i wanted to combine it with intricately textured silver, to portray this 'skin' like idea of beauty."

The results are curvy silver earrings, neck pieces and rings that end with eyeballs poking out at you, being simultaneously funny and scary. "The eyes, which some people find too creepy, i find endearing and cute. The eyes have a cartoon like quality, but are also slightly macabre."

There are more eyes to come for 2009 and quite rightly as a jeweller that doesn't need to be dictated by seasons or trends, Kendall just wants to keep building on her trademark: "I intend to let this obsession (with eyes) run for a little while longer, and next year i have some shows overseas and will be concentrating on more international exposure. I don't see my jewellery as something to be dictated to by season, jewellery should last much longer, existing in this grey area between fashion and art, all the while just evolving."

Zoë Catherine Kendall jewellery is available on Kabiri.

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