We do like to find unusual examples of maps and we loved this idea for a range of map-based jewellery. Today’s post is by Glasgow-based jewellery designer and silversmith, Clare Spencer, who uses our OS OpenData to create her map-based jewellery range, Lie of the Land.
Since moving to Scotland six years ago, I’ve been continually charmed by its natural landscape and have been looking for ways to celebrate it in my work. The first opportunity presented itself when I was asked to make a personalised pair of earrings for a client’s mother. The only stipulation was that they had a connection to Tain, her birthplace, situated on the Dornoch Firth. Looking at maps of this area, I noticed that the lines of the land and the sea had a natural rhythm. The result is a pair of earrings that together make up a section of that coastline. Tain is marked with a tiny turquoise gemstone. The recipient was delighted with such a personal gift and sent me a lovely thank you card.
Studying Ordnance Survey maps, I was intrigued by the shapes of different lochs (of which there are over 31,000 in Scotland!) and saw how their shape would work well as cuffs and rings making special gifts for those with an affinity to a particular place.
It was important to me that the outlines of my jewellery were accurate and that I was able to access maps for which I had copyright permission. A search on the Ordnance Survey website revealed their open source data [OS OpenData]and a phone call to a helpful, knowledgeable staff member confirmed that I would be able to use the data for free as long as I acknowledged its source. This information is now printed on my business cards.
Clients might commission map-based jewellery for a variety of reasons – as a gift for a lover of Scotland’s outdoors, because of a childhood connection to a place, in memory of a special holiday, as a wedding gift (incorporating the location of the ceremony) or as corporate gifts for international clients.
As well as lochs, islands have formed the basis of my requested commissions. The Isle of Skye has been very popular and I’ve been asked to make pendants, brooches and cuff links in its shape.