- Date of making
- Date of acquisition
- Combination body/neckpiece in four parts. Neoprene coating sprayed over welded steel
- Steel, neoprene
- Collection Number
- Wolverhampton, England
- Place Trained
- University of Reading, Reading, BA Fine Art, Sculpture, 1959-1963
- London, England
- Crafts Advisory Committee Bursary, 1976
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Primary Orbits is a combination body/neckpiece made up of four circles of neoprene sprayed over steel.
David Watkins is a pioneer in the world of studio jewellery. His innovative and experimental approach – informed by past careers in sculpture, jazz, and model making – and promotion of jewellery as wearable art quickly positioned him at the forefront of the discipline, and what was to become known as ‘The New Jewellery’ in the 80s. Watkins challenged the demand that craft be functional, traditional and made of natural materials. His works range from acrylic ‘sci-fi’ neckpieces of the mid 70s (Watkins was previously a model maker on Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’) to the neoprene over steel pieces of the 80s, and most recently London 2012's Olympic medals.
The Crafts Council Collection documents Watkins’ career from the 70s to 2003 with 12 works, which have featured in numerous Crafts Council exhibitions over the years. Most recently, Primary Orbits was selected by poet Jeremy Reed for the 2009 Crafts Council online exhibition ‘A White, A Blue, A Yellow, Red: Poetry by Jeremy Reed’.
“The combination orbit neckpieces came midway through a period (1980-1985) of experimenting with neoprene coating, a material I valued for its tactility, especially when applied to lightweight structures.
For me, Primary Orbits is an early example of the layered forms I have found fascinating ever since. Although I had already explored the concept of extending a neckpiece to occupy and articulate space around the shoulders, the Orbits series draws the space in an aleatoric manner, framing the head and face of the wearer in an interdependent composition. The series probably established the theme of circularity that I have found so inspiring in works for the body. In fact, much later, between 1998 and 2005, I reconsidered my 1980s Orbits and they provided source material for further developments.”
David Watkins, Jeweller. Professor and Head of Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery, Royal College of Art, London, 1984 - 2006.
More work by this artist
A selection of other collections that hold work by the artist
- Kunstindustrimuseet, NO
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, US
- Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK
- Museé des Arts Décoratifs, FR
- Museum für Angewandte Kunst, AT
- Museum of Arts and Design, US
- Power House Museum, AU
- Schmuckmuseum, DE
- Science Museum, UK
- Stedelijk Museum, NL
- Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art, JP
- Victoria and Albert Museum, UK