Vicki Ambery-Smith creates delicate and ornate small-scale jewellery and boxes inspired by real and imaginary buildings. Especially attracted to the structural clarity and minimal ornament of Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, she also uses forms reminiscent of the modernist structures of Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright sometimes explicitly, as in the brooch Guggenheim Museum (NY), 1998.
More recently she has become attracted to contemporary and future architecture, working on brooches based on Daniel Liebeskind’s bold, jarring forms, a significant move away from the classic structures with which her jewellery is associated.
As all her jewellery is designed to be worn, and worn comfortably, the three-dimensional architectural structures on which she bases her work must be adapted rather than merely replicated in miniature, with the effect of distancing them further from their original referent. In this way, attention is drawn to the form of the pieces, and their intricate detail and definition. Far more than a representation of a building, each becomes an exquisite study of shape, surface, light and space as Ambery-Smith explores the language of architecture herself.
As a result of Ambery-Smith’s desire to go beyond representation, to “a more personal interpretation of the character of a building”, some pieces seem to have no direct referent but are highly suggestive of certain locations or eras, appearing as tiny stage sets, on to which the viewer can project their own dramas and personal narratives of place. In this way she plays with the power of architecture to inspire fantasy, trigger memory and evoke sensations.
Her work can be seen in the permanent collections of :
- The Victoria & Albert Museum
- Royal Scottish Museum
- East Midlands Arts
- Houston University, Texas
Her commissions are many and varied including pieces for the Globe Theatre, Chase Manhatten Bank, Guggenheim Museum (NY), Temple Bar, Emily’s List Awards and Robinson College, Cambridge. Westway Development Trust. 2 Temple Place, London, Prix Pictet presentation piece presented by Kofi Anan 2008 and 2009 and 2 Temple Place table piece for Hoare’s Bank to name just a few.