Val Muddyman has created a range of jewellery which brings to life the tangles of seaweed found at the high tide mark. She collects the seaweed from the beaches just yards from her studio in Royal William Yard in Plymouth, choosing interesting shapes and configurations of Bladderwrack and other varieties that may have been washed up into the area. Once they have been redhydrated and washed she leaves them to dry having positioned them to greatest effect. The resulting pieces are then added to with different types of wax until Val has created her design. She strives to use no new materials in the creation of this collection in order to make it as sustainable as possible, using recycled silver to cast the jewellery in.
The pieces are finished with ethical 'gems' made from recycled sea glass which has already had a previous life story and journey. The designer has been collecting the glass for many years from local beaches and melts it down to give it a second much more precious life, set into unique pieces of wearable jewellery.
This body of work explores the marks that are laid down by the elements on man-made surfaces and structures, with particular reference to the coastal areas around Plymouth and South Devon. The mark-making processes are slow but relentless: the action of the waves, the height of the tides, the weather and the fierceness of the storms that batter the coastline. Each action has a consequence. Some are only visible by comparison with similar areas but all are ongoing, perpetual, relentless...
These marks of time and tide are more usually perceived as damaging and destructive, however, this collection of contemporary jewellery aspires to challenge any negative connotations by allowing the beauty of the marks to become a celebrated feature. The unpredictability of weather and tides means that the efforts of man to control the shorelines with his structures will always be challenged, and Val Muddyman works haptically with her materials to allow the same elements of change and chance to take place. Sometimes, the hand of the maker will be visible and at others, the narrative will be continued by the wearer adding to the marks through movement and time.
Val Muddyman works in mixed media including jesmonite, wood and sterling silver, other metals and items found on the shoreline. Fibres, rust and steel recreate and celebrate the textures and marks found in the area.