Since graduating from Plymouth College of Art in 2017, Val Muddyman BA (Hons) Jewellery graduate has been selected to exhibit and sell her work at a number of venues including the Victoria Stewart Contemporary Jewellery Gallery and Present Makers at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery.
Val uses jesmonite (resin) and precious metals to create jewellery which celebrates the marks laid down upon manmade structures by time, tide, weather and ourselves. Her inspiration comes from the area around East Tinside on Plymouth Hoe and other coastal structures where the sea and storms appear to try to reclaim buildings and metalwork, leaving behind high tide marks and rusted metalwork.
‘It is the relentless struggle of man against the elements which, makes me want to capture that moment when dereliction is revealed, as a beautiful object to be worn on the body and celebrated.’
Val enjoys the challenge of trying to get the design that's in her head out through her hands and her work is often led by the way that the material she is using, which can include items collected from the beach, is developing. ‘The designer in me comes to the fore when I'm trying to work out how to engineer the material I've made into wearable pieces, this is almost a separate process.’
Whilst at the college Val learned new techniques and was introduced to new materials which enhanced her knowledge and practice as a jewellery designer. ‘I was encouraged to experiment in a way that I'd not had time to do before.’
Reflecting on her time at the college Val concludes that:
‘The most important outcome for me was the realisation that I could achieve as much as my younger peers, that ultimately gave me confidence in myself and my work. Additionally, the college offered me a lot of opportunities and encouragement to show my work.'
Val believes that she has only just scratched the surface of what she can make and is very motivated to continue to see what she is able to produce. At the start of 2018 Val moved into a new studio space at Royal William Yard in Plymouth with fellow Plymouth College of Art graduate and good friend, ceramicist Jane McEwen.
Val’s future is looking bright as she is planning to explore further new design ideas, secure additional stockists, as well as apply to take part in some big events to promote her work; all whilst working part-time at the Victoria Stewart Contemporary Jewellery Gallery in Plymouth.