Saturday, July 30, 2011

Designing for Museum Shops

by Jen of Parrish Relics

I was lucky enough to be contacted by the British Museum in London last year to create an exclusive line of jewelry to coincide with their "Italian Renaissance Drawings" Exhibition. It was a dream come true to work for one of my favorite museums visited on a trip a few years back. How they found me is a mystery, so thankful for the exposure and instant access the internet provides.

Early this year they came to me with an even more exciting offer, to work with them on designs for "Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics and Devotion in Medieval Europe". Reliquaries and Medieval Stained Glass have been some of my biggest inspirations for many years, so this was quite a thrill for me.

The best part of working on these projects is getting the idea boards from the Museum Shop design department. They send over images of pieces that will be in the collection, their own designs that will adorn mugs and t shirts, before everyone else gets to see them. I look for design elements that call out to me, and make a few samples to show. They then choose what they like from my designs and the fun begins!

This time around, the order was around six times larger than the first. Panic was my initial reaction, then determination as they all have to be handcrafted by me alone and shipped before the deadline of the Exhibition opening! It was about a month of very long days of nonstop work, neglecting all else (sorry to the husband, pets and the gym!). I had nightmares about not completing my mission in time or the order getting lost in the shipping process, but other than a nail biting stay in customs they all got there just in time. Whew!

Cats just aren't much help in the studio!

Shopping for supplies at Wolf E. Myrow ~ a must-see-to-believe shopping experience for anyone who uses glass, filigree, random bits & vintage pieces for their work!

All lined up and ready for shipment!

The hardest part of this experience is not being able to run off to London to see all of these amazing shows! The museum staff has been kind enough to send pictures of my work on display, you can see them and a closer look at the collections here.

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