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Jewellery & Metal (MA)

Hannah Rhian Davies

Hannah is a jeweller who juxtaposes the futuristic with the traditional to support narratives surrounding the way identity is interwoven through the materials of the landscape and the self, specifically the landscape surrounding the farm in Wales where she grew up. Hannah views jewellery as an extension of the mind and body: we project our identity onto the object in a two-way relationship. It projects its own identity through us, through our subconscious and our skin. We become part of the jewellery, not apart from it. Hannah studied Gemmology with Gem A, (The Gemmological Association of Great Britain) and completed her undergraduate degree at the School of Jewellery in Jewellery Design and Related Products at Birmingham City University, where she was awarded the Walsh award for Jewellery Design. She then studied for an MA in Jewellery and Metal at the Royal College of Art, where she was awarded the Behrens Foundation Scholarship in 2021.

A Shift in Consciousness

‘Along with a shift in consciousness, there is a need for a change in perspective.’ (Written in response to sustainability issues). 

Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt movement, from The World we Once Lived in. 


Hannah explores the symbiosis of modern technology and the traditional to weave together a world that is ungraspable physically. Her perception of materiality shifted as a jeweller while exploring material traces of the topaphiliac anthropocene in the Welsh landscape in which she grew up. She now explores the intertwining meshwork of materiality and its absorption into the subconscious, highlighting this by growing mycelium in the materials that surrounded her developing identity. 


‘Thinking about fungi makes the world look different. These astonishing organisms challenge our imaginations and make questions of many of our well-worn concepts, from individuality to intelligence.’ Merlin Sheldrake, from Entangled Life.


Hannah finds that the hyper-localisation of materials in response to globalisation is a key factor in her making. She questions where materials end and the self begins, and explores how materials which surround us leach into our selves through our subconscious and skin. 

She explored how this world could be recorded through a digital emphasis on sustainable AI, blurring lines between the physical and digital and seeing materials as fluid forms, which can be woven through time, physical and digital space, and building upon using the digital as an extension of the subconscious. 


 Hannah collaborated with a local astrophotographer, musician and software engineer to explore how she could digitally record and layer the materials she found in a hyperlocal section of land. The juxtaposed imagery of the microscopic with the gigantic views materials as fluid forms which spill onto the environmental mesh in which they touch, referencing both physical and digital space to revisit a world that is ungraspable physically.


As Tim Ingold describes, we are a ‘meshwork of connected entities… To study its lines is to study the ecology of materials.’


Hannah recalls the materials that have been overlooked but that are part of her identity. She also found that, along with Welsh gold, wool from her small flock of sheep was an integral part of her identity, heritage and culture, which was now being destroyed as it wasn’t worth the cost of taking it to the wool processor. She developed a technique to encapsulate this heritage by combining Welsh gold with wool by hand on the spinning wheel. She juxtaposed space, size, and form to create an extension of the subconscious as an installation surrounding her work, translating the way the materials fluidly weave together in our minds and with the land which surrounds them. 


The collection references the ethereality of fungi and the entanglement of the ecology which breathes around us and beneath our feet. This collection highlights the miraculous lacing of interconnectedness shown in materiality, weaving a dialogue between the underworld and the terrestrial and revealing how a shift in consciousness can unveil how identity and the ecology of materials are spun together. 

Hyperlocal Horsehead Nebula

A digital extension of the entanglement of materials as they weave a dialogue between the terrestrial and the underworld, from a focussed location in North Wales.

Morphing images from the hyperlocal microscopic to the cosmos gigantic, showing the meshwork of connected entities. 

Medium:

Digital machine learning, and photography

Size:

00:02:25
Spinning wool into gold

Spinning wool into gold, an exploration of the structure of wool which can be extremely delicate and light in a way that seems not to be of this world, but also strong in its structure and composition. A technique I developed as I hand-spun wool from my sheep, into Welsh Gold thread on a spinning wheel which was woven together into jewellery at a microscopic level. The Necklaces an echo of the helix structure of wool and its properties, the rings an exploration of the entanglement and ethereality of the symbiosis of materials I developed. The strands vibrate with the body’s movement becoming an extension of ourselves as our bodies move. I created a smaller footprint on the environment which inspired my project by using hyperlocal materials and tools powered by my body when possible.

By seeing jewellery as a tool as an extension of the mind and body, that we project our identity onto the object in a two-way relationship. It projects its own identity through us, through our subconscious and our skin. We become a part of not apart from the jewellery. 

Medium:

Welsh Wool and Gold
An image of the structure of the mushrooms before casting.

“Thinking about fungi makes the world look different. These astonishing organisms challenge our animal imaginations and make questions of many of our well-worn concepts, from individuality to intelligence.”

— Merlin Sheldrake – Entangled life


 Mushrooms I grew in wool and gold then directly captured in Bronze at different stages of their growth. I explore the intertwining meshwork of materiality and its absorption into the subconscious and body, I highlighted this through growing mycelium and mushrooms in the materials that surrounded my identity. Creating sculptures which highlight the miraculous lacery of interconnectedness shown in materials, weaving a dialogue between the terrestrial and the underworld.

Medium:

Bronze and Mycillium

"I think we are a part of everything not apart from, so there is not the line in the way we thought there was...

The brain affects the body so I believe that the fear of materials makes them more dangerous to our bodies in some cases. Of course, what we think about and what we believe makes up our psyche. Those messages we tell ourselves about anything (including materials) are ingested into the unconscious." - Jane McAdam Freud


I juxtaposed space, size, and form to create an extension of the subconscious as an installation surrounding my work, using surrealism the juxtaposition of distant realities to activate the subconscious mind through imagery. Emphasising the fluid boundaries of the physical, digital and subconscious space. Whilst translating the way the materials fluidly weave into our minds and into the land which surrounds them, growing mycelium directly into the materials to demonstrate this.


Medium:

Wool and chicken wire mushroom, microscope showing the material, spinning wheel powered by robotics in the installation space.

The Behrens Foundation

The Behrens Foundation Bursary.