Personally, I think the most beneficial activity was the trip to Chetham’s library as it provided me with information on Belle Vue, particularly with research ideas/starting points for my project. I also found the talk from the guest speaker from Chetham’s library a good source of information because again it provided me with a lot of paths that I could have taken my project. Another good activity was my own trip to the Manchester Museum, where I was able to get some vital information on Maharajah the elephant. I was able to take photos which will help me with designs and it gave me a brief overview of the story of how he and his keeper, Lorenzo Lawrence walked to Manchester from Edinburgh in 10 days. My trip to the Manchester Museum also provided me with some good information about the hippopotamus, Gracie, who was killed by her son Nicholas. (Fig 2 – A fragment of Gracie’s jawbone) I found both of these stories interesting because Belle Vue kept the remains of the animals on display, which made me wonder whether they kept the remains as a memorial to the animals or whether they kept them to draw more visitors to the park. (Fig 1)
Fig 1 . Fig 2
I am mainly interested in Maharajah as I have found his skeletal form fascinating and I can see a lot of ways that I could have interpreted this into jewellery. I have started making elephant tusks out of wire by coiling the wire round a pair of long pliers and then bending the wire into a curved shape with my fingers. I have also made the basic shape of an elephant skull out of wire which will be coated in papier-mache made from newspapers. I find that making the tusks in wire was a good choice because it was very simple to make but the result was of a high standard. When making the tusks for a final piece I will use better pliers because they scratched the metal. I will use the same type of wire with the golden colouring because it is the only type of metal available that is the closest colour to that of the real elephant tusks.
There are both makers and designers in our group but I think we all fit loosely into both categories. We all have our similarities because we’re all craft based but when it comes to designing and making, I think we all have our differences. For example: I prefer to have a few loose designs for what I’m going to produce then I go into the workshops and work out how it will fit together by making several prototype samples before asking someone for a second opinion.