Essex Crystal Project

A collection inspired by Essex Crystals, and displayed as part of the newly created ‘Discuss’ section of the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.

A couple of years ago, Victoria stumbled upon a tiny antique crystal jewel with an equally tiny lap dog engraved and painted on the reverse. Entirely captivated by this peculiar object, she discovered that these were very much the thing two hundred years ago. Sometimes dubbed Essex crystals, they often depicted pets and animals, plants and flowers that were hand-carved and painted onto the back of highly polished rock crystal gems, creating a startling animated and three-dimensional effect. Full of symbolism and extremely weird, it felt to Victoria that they had a visual language that she could use to say something today. Since then she has set out to learn the many complex techniques that are involved and to explore their creative possibilities. What’s emerged so far are gloriously coloured optical mini-worlds with a feeling of personal myth, and more than a little strangeness.