Jardine has chosen to live and work in Trinidad, where appreciation
of her work is very limited and the market for art jewellery
is small. Jardine is a master jeweller who produces all
her work by hand, crafting every stage of it herself. Sometimes
she uses ancient skills, such as drawing wire through a
plate, as jewellers have done since the days of the Pharaohs,
or granulation, perfected by the Etruscans. Working in isolation,
and with limited resources, she has also developed her own
techniques, exploring and exploiting the qualities of organic
indigenous materials, such as turtle shell. She has brought
to bear on them the craft she was taught by experts in London.
To classical styles and motifs she has added her own quirky
and potent imagination, intrepid use of colour and instinctive,
of her major creations too are fascinating not only for
their rich palette and fine craftsmanship, but also because
of the stories they hint at, and the profound and sometimes
shocking passions that inspire them.
of Jardines finest work has not been jewellery in
the sense of personal adornment. She still makes wearable
jewels that are beautiful, and will tailor a commission
to suit the personality of the intended wearer. But her
best work is not merely decorative; it is invested with
enormous significance and, despite its small scale, carries
the same emotional charge as fine art in any other medium.
sexual fulfilment, the friendship of women, all of which
have also been important in Jardines life, are not
represented in her jewellery. But loneliness, grief, desire,
and unrequited love are pictured there again and again.
she returned from England, Jardine had no concept of what
a life in art in Trinidad might be. She simply made her
work, heedless of what most people might think. Unwittingly,
she has influenced younger artists by being an example of
what can be achieved, given talent, dedication, and discipline.
But Jardine didnt set out to blaze a trail. Her aims
are what they have always been: to make beautiful things,
and to remain true to her calling.
by Judy Raymond
Barbara Jardine photographed by Abigail Hadeed
Work photographed by Michele Jorsling
All text and images used with the permission of Robert
and Christopher Publishers.