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‘Life of Long Days’ by Vikki Kassioras

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‘Life of Long Days earrings’ 18ct yellow gold

For some time now, on her commute to the studio each day, Vikki Kassioras has been reading and re-reading The Epic of Gilgamesh. This, the oldest written poem in the history of civilisation, provides the inspiration for Vikki’s new series, a collection of 12 pairs of earrings. The poem dates from around 2500BC, the same period in which the first known pair of earrings was created. It is believed that in ancient times earrings were worn to ward off the evil eye. The mystical and symbolic power of jewellery is a theme that recurs often in Vikki’s work and is again explored in Life of Long Days. The aesthetic sensibilities of this new series evoke this sense of history and lyricism.

“These pieces seek to convey the ethereal experience of reading The Epic of Gilgamesh rather than a literal or linear telling of the story,” says Vikki. “Earrings are an item of jewellery that allow me great scope to experiment with forms and shapes that arise from my research…in this series they’ve become unexpected links to the experience of reading an ancient work of literature.”

Some pieces feature long pendant shapes hanging from chain, which allow the objects to move freely and delicately. Some pieces create soft chiming sounds as their components move against each other and other pieces feature decorative embossing along the edges. These deft touches coax sound and movement from metal. For Vikki this is a reflection of the nature of the poetry: lyricism grows from a story that examines notions of unyielding strength and will. The work is predominantly made from sterling silver and 18ct yellow gold. Most earrings incorporate Etruscan chain, which the artist views as a metaphor for life and the quest for immortality, both key themes in the aforementioned text.

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‘The Old Man Becomes a Young Man earrings’ 18ct yellow gold, oxidised sterling silver

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‘They Cut Through the Cedar earrings’ Sterling silver