Jewellery artist Lucy Anderson charts a new path in minimalist wearable art

Lucy Anderson plays with abstract geometrical concepts for simple and elegant jewellery pieces

metal brooches by jewellery artist Lucy Anderson
Pieces from Lucy Anderson's Grid Series in gold plated silver
(Image credit: Jacqui Hurst)

Lucy Anderson creates wearable art, and her guiding principle has acted as a potent crucible for her ideas and a calling card for clients seeking pieces that are both audacious and refined. She explains, 'I want to find a way to evoke excitement when you see something unexpected that you really love. I like to capture that sensation and represent it in my jewellery.' 

In Anderson’s case the unexpected includes brooches that marry the geometric with the whimsical, earrings such as the ‘Positive/Negative’ that reference the work of legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and rings that challenge her as an artist to distil 'the Golden Ratio and work out the exact placing of a fold, cut or pattern'.

Ear pendants by Lucy Anderson

‘Positive/Negative 2’, ‘Positive Negative 3’ (in silver) and ‘Positive/Negative 4’. Ear pendants in gold plated silver

(Image credit: Jacqui Hurst)

Based in West Sussex, Anderson is best known for her ‘Grid Brooch’ series, where abstract curves in brass or recycled silver are twisted into sweeping sculptural forms. Explaining the series’ genesis, she reminisces, 'My first grid brooch was inspired by a ceramic work, Oyster Net by Annie Turner, part of the V&A collection in London. The curved lines in my brooch reflected the curvature in her work.' 

Anderson was previously an early years teacher, and playfulness and academic rigour are simultaneously present in her designs. Speaking of her process, she expands, 'I have a meticulous process of research, design and reflection. With a grid brooch I often “sketch” with the wire in situ, moving threads around until I achieve the result.' The scale of her brooches and many of her rings is larger than typically seen in commercial jewellery brands and she reflects, ‘The wearing of my pieces reveals a courage in the wearer that might not ordinarily be revealed.'

metal brooches or earrings

 ‘Ring’ and ‘Disc’ earrings / brooches in gold plated silver

(Image credit: Jacqui Hurst)

Anderson is very much an artist, with jewellery acting as her medium of choice. Of a recent trip to the Tate Modern, she says: 'I loved the current exhibitions; a plethora of circles, grids and polka dots from Hilma af Klint, Piet Mondrian and Yayoi Kusama.' But whilst their work and hers may possess a visual synchronicity, she clarifies, 'jewellery has its own language that provokes a reaction and I create pieces that are memorable, unique and challenge the expectations of “jewellery”’. 

Collaboration and the possibilities presented to work with different materials also inform Anderson’s craft. 'The “Brooches of Friendship” was a recent project using pieces of work and materials from artist friends. I loved the opportunity of working with wood, textiles and ceramic [as well as] metal.' Imaginative explorations are underpinned by her signature precision and have led to a growing list of collectors who either come to know of her work by word of mouth or through private views.

Anderson is part of a growing cadre of artists who are eschewing previous metrics of success. She gently resists the notion of keeping an eye on trends or categorising where she sits in the wider jewellery canon: 'Keeping my independence of thought and expression and pursuing imperfect perfection are extremely important to me.' In an age saturated with choice and riddled with comparison, her approach and work are a refreshing, beautiful and wearable riposte.

metal brooches

'Circle With Fold' series in silver. Pictured is a necklace and brooch

(Image credit: Jacqui Hurst)

Mazzi Odu is a Ugandan-British writer, editor and cultural consultant based in Lagos, Nigeria. Her work focuses on jewellery, design, fashion and art. An alumna of the London School of Economics and Political Science, she has profiled a cross section of leading design talents and creative voices, with a special emphasis on those from the Global South and its Diaspora communities.