Friday, 28 November 2014

Designer Profile, Rodology

I am currently working on a new monthly fashion feature to launch in The Bristol Magazine in the New Year. More on that soon, however; deep into planning the first few looks for The Bristol Magazine Style File, I was thrilled to get a late night email from Designer Roderick Barker-Benfield who provided a missing link to a certain look for the feature. 

It is also a wonderful way to buck the Black Friday trend and look to the independents. Rodology is offering a Black Friday Deal. Have a read all about his work and then go and get a fantastic deal on a piece of true craftsmanship.

Roderick 'is' Rodology: freelance artist, photographer and designer-maker. From jewellery making and sculpture to photographic portraiture, Roderick's life long passion for pulling things apart and putting them back together again has resulted in a rather beautiful collection of jewellery. 
'Lewis Carroll' Brooch

I'll be honest, the hand-made market has been saturated with reconditioned and upcycled trinkets, from rubix cubes, lego blocks and scrabble pieces years back, to taxidermy fascinators, car seatbelt tote bags and bike inner-tube bangles. I have seen a lot. But never before have I seen pieces that transcend any notion of the home made, and instead Rodology produces such high end handmade pieces I'm wondering how he hasn't gone blind in the process. 

'Lady Charlotte' Rose Gold Omega Watch Pendant
Roderick's big break came when the Royal Academy of Arts came calling, closely followed by the National Trust and numerous high end boutiques.

My favourite has to be his rose gold pieces, like the Lady Charlotte pendant above. There is something endlessly fascinating about the cogs and inner workings of a clock, combine this with ultra tiny gems and beautifully finished pieces and you have a sure fire winner in a piece of jewellery. What I really love about Rodology is the genuine interest my boyfriend took in his work. It's going to have something to do with that inner 'Just William' engineer in every boy. The precision of Rodology's work is very pleasing indeed.

If you are interested in obtaining a unique piece for a rather impressive christmas present, then visit Roderick's website. The best thing of all girls, he does cuff links too!

'Mr Darcy' Rectangular  Cuff Links RRP £36

'Mr Darcy' Rectangular  Cuff Links RRP £36

For any budding jewelry designers I asked Rod a few questions:

how did you get started and it is important to have any formal training?

I think the best way to get started is to just pick up some tools and get cracking.  I'm not formally trained , but I have a huge passion for crafting and repurposing stuff out of other things.  If I see something that I think would look or function better as something else I'll give it a go.  A lot of the stuff I make ends up at the bottom of a drawer for a couple of years until I learn a new technique to perfect it.  I also have a LOT of boxes full of stuff that didn't work out at all, but I can't bring myself to throw them away.  I'm not a hoarder by nature, but you never know if that lump of molten plastic you ended up with after trying to create a new piece of jewellery could end up being the next big thing.  They're also a great reminder to never settle for the first thing you make - always ask yourself how you can improve on what you've created.

Do you have any plans to branch out from clocks? Do you suspect there is beauty to be found in other domestic objects?

Using clocks and watches in my work came about as a happy accident whilst looking for some extra bits for a piece of sculpture I'd been commissioned to make.  In finding a complete watch movement and attaching it to a silver chain, my first ever 'Lady Charlotte' was born and I haven't really looked back since.  I've just launched the 'Miss Hyde' flip clock pendant in time for Christmas and have plans to create a range of rings using vintage pocket watch winders early next year, but those aside I think it's really important to develop new products and collections all the time so there are plenty of plans to branch out.

I tend not to sketch out my designs too much, but rather let them come as a result of playing with the materials I have to hand and seeing what works best.  Recently I've been demolishing and upcycling everything from vintage buttons to old board game pieces to see what I can come up with and there are a few healthy ideas kicking around.  There's definitely some life left in the watchwork jewellery, but I'm also very much looking forward to the new range of Rodology creations hitting shops early next year.  Watch this space!

For Black Friday Rodology has an exclusive offer on the site for all customers today; The Miss Hyde Pendant. 

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