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Tool’s gold

Annoushka hosts a show of industrial-inspired work

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Tool’s gold

June 06 2013
Avril Groom

Nathalie Hambro’s talent is multifaceted. She has designed fashion, interiors and jewellery, is an inventive cook and multimedia artist, and has now turned her hand to photography and sculpture. Her latest project is Tools, a collection of limited-edition prints (usually three of each image, from £1,200) and unique sculptures (Tower of Strength, first picture, is a unique piece made from steel, magnets and Perspex, costing £3,500), based on and incorporating old-fashioned industrial tools. This week it has become the latest in the Art at Annoushka series – exhibitions held by jewellery designer Annoushka Ducas at her Chelsea store for artists whose work she feels has a resonance with her creations.

The work comes from Hambro’s long-held fascination with steel, which she has even used to create sculptural handbags. It includes both pattern-like photographs of steel tools and components (often mounted on aluminium and printed with a wash of bright blue or industrial green that heightens the images) and one-off sculptures that vary from chunky towers composed of architectural-looking blocks and gear wheels to polished steel, scaffolding-like frames from which the prints are suspended in the store windows. For Ducas, Hambro’s work highlights strong parallels with the tools of jewellery craft and the mix of industrial and manual skills that they represent.

Ducas has asked Hambro to curate the whole store for the exhibition, which lasts until Saturday July 13, so that her jewellery is fully integrated with the prints and sculptures. Hambro has replaced the conventional jeweller’s black-velvet-lined display cases with steel trays for a modern look that complements Ducas’s glowing hardstone slice and diamond earrings (second picture, from the One of a Kind range, which starts from £6,000) and her industrial-style chunky bronze and silver collections, such as Foundry (£220-£1,800). An even closer link is forged in the form of a unique piece of fine jewellery they have designed together. Inspired by industrial steel chain and mesh, it is an 18ct gold bracelet with an oxidised silver overlayer of tactile chainmail that continues into a fringe down the wrist (price on request).