'The dream' pendant earrings were created by Wendy Ramshaw (b. 1939), a leading contemporary British studio jeweller renowned for her innovative approach to jewellery design and production. Ramshaw emerged on the international jewellery scene in the 1970s, exerting a significant influence through inspiring exhibitions, workshops and artist residencies in countries such as the USA and Australia (1978).
Ramshaw's first major breakthrough were her signature sets of rings which were introduced in the late 1960s and still continue to be made. Ranging from two to more than twenty in one set, they are intended for wearing as singles or in clusters. Each set comes with a lathe-turned nickel alloy or coloured Perspex cylindrical stand for storage and display. This Museum has one such ring set, 'Spinner', made in silver, gold and steel in 1988.
Among other significant developments which further consolidated Ramshaw's career as an artist-jeweller, was jewellery inspired by iconic 20th century paintings such as Pablo Picasso's portraits of women* and artworks by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. 'The dream' earrings were designed in response to the 1910 French naïve painting by Henri Rousseau of the same title. Depicting a reclining nude woman (Rousseau's mistress from his youth) amongst a luscious jungle landscape, 'the earrings echo the moon, peering eyes and exotic flowers amongst the dense and varied greens of the forest, animals and humans' explains Ramshaw.
Surrealist and quirky, the earrings were designed for Ramshaw's exhibition 'The Room of Dreams' at the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh in 2002. 'The Room of Dreams' later became the centre-piece of a larger touring exhibition, 'Rooms of Dreams' (2002-2014)**. Through a remarkable selection of key works made in a range of precious and non-precious materials including glass and plastics, 'Rooms of Dreams' celebrated Ramshaw's fifty-year career, her continuing creativity and long-standing belief that jewellery can be precious beyond its intrinsic worth.
A jeweller who also designed textiles, screens, gateways and large-scale sculpture, Ramshaw has received many international honours and awards for her work and is represented in more than 80 public collections worldwide. These include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
Eva Czernis-Ryl and Melanie Pitkin, 2014
Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, 'Wendy Ramshaw Rooms of Dreams', Ornament Magazine, issue 36 (April, 2013) pp 35-37
Wendy Ramshaw & David Watkins official website, http://www.ramshaw-watkins.com/ (Downloaded 12/3/2014)
Personal correspondence, November 2013 - May 2014
*Beatriz Chadour Sampson, ?Picasso's Ladies?, Arnoldsche, Stuttgart, 1998, ISBN 3-9255369-80-5
**Marina Vaizey, Tobias Hill et alia, ?Rooms of Dreams? The Harley Gallery & Ruthin Craft Centre, 2012, isbn 978-1-905865-44-4