Kate Cooper creates bespoke mixed-media artefacts, designed to explore the process by which worn objects become imbued with narrative, via memory, symbolism or sentiment. By utilising imagery from her own family archives, the designer aims to elevate the emotional value of each object, resulting in a reinterpretation of the historic portrait miniature for a modern context.
Inspired initially by the eye miniatures of the late 18th century, Cooper’s work explores the metaphor of the gaze as a representation of the intimate connection between worn and wearer, and how this connection may be fostered, even orchestrated. Her work is also concerned with how the outside observer will respond to these pieces.
Through careful selection of images and materials, Cooper seeks to provoke an ambivalent emotional reaction in the viewer; the interplay between intimacy and alienation, attraction and repulsion.
The processes used by the designer mirror her desire to embed layers of narrative into her work. Casting in layers, encapsulating objects and images, she creates wearable monuments to people, times or places.
Cooper uses traditional silversmithing techniques alongside modern technological processes to create a unique fusion of past, present and future, intended to intrigue and unsettle. Her work observes the passage of seasons and trends from the periphery of fashion design, carving a space for a new sort of dialogue; one that speaks of value, of possession, of capturing that which is held in the mind’s eye.
– Set of stacking rings – onyx, blue lace agate, sterling silver
– ‘Iris’ Resin, photographic image on acetate, sterling silver
– ‘Feathers’ – Goatskin