Jewelled and schooled


During our ‘school’ holidays our bulk order of fimo polymer moulding clay arrived. As a child of the 80s I was obsessed with fimo, so it feels pretty special to be a grown up able to now do a wholesale order. It inspired today’s jewellery making class – that LM couldn’t wait to get to.

The entire day is themed around Jewellery. I’m actually amazed where this little adventure has already taken us today. It began with a virtual look at the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London – because for reasons I don’t yet understand, LM has a royalist streak. I knew so little. I thought it was just a couple of crowns, but actually it includes 141 objects from spoons to crowns and walking sticks to trumpets. They contain 23 578 and represent over 1000 years of English monarchy.  I introduced the idea of cultural imperialism and we again found ourselves talking about the British East India Company – who happened to be the ones to transport the controversial the Indian Kohinoor diamond. I asked LM whether she thought that it should be returned to India and why.

We talked about the cultural significance of the crown jewels collection and their ongoing roles in rituals, of housing the ‘prizes’ from wars and as symbols of wealth and status. From there we investigated the role of jewellery in other cultures. We found an appealing starting summary at where we read about; the Egyptian Cartouche, the Celtic Torque and the Tourag Cross. LM noted that some of my very small jewellery collection seemed to have been inspired by some of these other cultural traditions. So we took a break from our research and she retrieved my jewellery box (which is actually a plastic fishing tackle box).

We talked about the significance of each item in my oh-so-fancy jewellery box and why I keep them, even though I rarely wear any jewellery. We developed a jewellery classification system based on this: sentimental, status (I have one of those), tradition/ritual, protection, adornment, art objects and collection- because I have a small collection of very old, rustic, hand-forged rings that I have found at opshops. We then related this to the cultures we had discussed and realised that communication is also a potential category. LM them made up and awesome song based on our classification system.

Only then did we get to where we thought we would start – fimo jewellery making. My giddy goodness that is fun. We used pinterest for design inspiration and instructions but then went off on our own design tangents. We’ll fire then assemble them as soon as LM finishes making biscuits (some finished products are pictured).

After our arvo break (which may include a little nap) we’ll learn about (and classify) the Greek Komboloi, Chinese Jade, Navajo Indian, the Saami, the Hopi tribe, African Bead Jewellery, Zulu and Massai Beadwork and Indian Wedding adornment. We’ll then choose one to follow up on and design something special that we could perhaps make or have made – with a necessary discussion about cultural appropriation included in our consideration (I did notice an Anthropologie Massai Range that made me go eeeeew!).

Until tomorrow.


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