In 2016 Ambrin began creating a series of jewellery sculptures inspired by items one might find in their local corner shop. Each item has been redesigned and transformed into a luxurious, lavish and alluring jewel. Ambrin used a variety of wonderfully opulent materials such as pearls, silver and gold. She employed a number of indulgent handmaking techniques which include hand cutting, carving and setting. On first glance the collection is a celebration of luxury, wealth and greed. However as we think deeper about each piece we are challenged to consider whether these opulent transformations actually elevate the objects. How does the presence of pearls and gold affect an item's use value? Can practicality be comprimised in the pursuit of luxury?

In this exhibition we re-explore existing works as stimulous for thought in the context of 2020. Our world has been thrown into a state of dystopia. Panic buying has knocked the hierarchies of material value into chaos as we see loo roll become a sought after product. Going out to drink a pint could now mean the difference between life or death for somebody vunerable. Protective medical items, once abudant and disposable, run on low supply and in some countries are no longer available in sufficient quantities. 

In creating "luxury" versions of everyday objects Ambrin challenges us to reconsider what we value and how we allocate value. The 'Corner Shop' virtual exhibition asks us to redfine our notion of what "luxury" truly means.​

Corner Shop

 

Online Exhibition

Free Entry

Opening Times 24/7

Photography Screenshots Permitted

Beer Ring
2016
Originally made in response to the rising price of a pint, 'Beer Ring' 
explores how the beverage might be treated if it continues to become and increasingly expensive luxury. Real golden ale has been used to create the magnificent beer gemstone. The stone is set in a beer bottle top that has been hand carved. If you look inside the gemstone carefully you can see tiny seed pearls which float around and represent froth.
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Gold plated guilding metal and bottle top, golden ale, seed pearls, perspex

Use your mouse to hover over each exhibition label! 

This will reveal new thoughts...

Silver Spoon
2016
The classic disposable medicine spoon as a sterling silver treasure.
Taking reference from the saying "to be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth" this work alludes to attitudes of austerity, privelege and capitalism.
'Silver Spoon' pits wealth against health. What once was plastic and disposable is now a luxurious and precious commodity. But can this
silver treasure still perform it's function?
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Sterling silver

Remember to hover! 

Pearl Necklace In A Jar
2016
'Pearl Necklace In A Jar' was created in response to the rise in the need for food banks in the UK. Most commonly donated goods include canned items and non-perishables. The necklace takes inspiration from a jar of pearl onions. Set inside each golden lid is a jewel made up of pearls floating in water. By reinterpreting food in this extravagent and luxurious way it's monetary worth rises. And yet in the same vain its practical value plummets because it is now no longer inedible. Use your mouse to hover over the image and see the jars open.
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Gold plated guilding metal, glass jars, pearls, perspex, water
Coins
2016/2019
Made out of real coins these works repsond to the modern attitude we hold towards small change. Often we deem coins to be unnecessary, insignificant and even at times disposable. They are thrown into fountains, wagered inside slot machines and often found on the floor. The penny's Queen now wears a necklace. The nail rings are coins but as jewellery. The golden lions represent 'fat cats' spinning out of control. By transforming humble coins into treasure Ambrin elevates their conventional value. And in so doing she changes how they might be used, perceived and treated.
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Dissected coins, gold
Contact Lenses
2016
Inspired by King Midas and his golden touch Ambrin asks what if an inherently functional object, such as a contact lens, was touched and turned to gold? These deluxe lenses are golden, luxurious and fanciful but can no longer be worn. Their Midas style transformation has rendered them completely useless as visual aids. 
The lenses and case feature rose and thorn details, which have been cut from a coin. These decorative elements are a nod to money and excessive wealth. They symbolise avarice and the dysfunctionality of greed.
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Gold and silver plated guilding metal, dissected coins
Bubblegum Comb
2019
Discarded chewing gum is conventionally seen as gross and unremarkable. However each time somebody squishes up a used piece of gum an entirely unique shape and form is created. In this way each piece of old gum can be interpreted as a unique and rare jewel. The comb is a gloriously decadent hair ornament that is inspired by getting bubblegum stuck in hair. Pink baroque pearls 
represent large clumps of gum that have become trapped, melted and stretched.
Pearls are synonymous with notions of luxury, regality and fine jewellery. Juxtaposing them with chewing gum is a fun and playful way to subvert traditional notions of value.
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Rose gold plated sterling silver, freshwater baroque pearls
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Sticky Situation
2019
'Sticky Situation' is a series of hair ornaments that are inspired by getting chewing gum stuck in hair. When each ornament is worn it may appear that the wearer has been caught in a sticky situation! From afar these wonderful jewels look like troublesome pieces of chewing gum. However on closer inspection it becomes clear that the hair is in fact adorned with beautiful baroque pearls. Every pearl within the series is hand selected by Ambrin to ensure each resembles a delightful piece of squished up gum!
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Baroque pearls, sterling silver, rose gold plated sterling silver
Gold Bar
2016
The perfect treat - 100% chocolate free and full of carats!
Ambrin explores what a truly induldgent snack might look like. This painfully inedible Kit Kat gleams gold but offers a dystopian alternative to the notion of 'rich' chocolate.
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Yellow gold plated guilding metal
Tampax Pearl
2016
Made in response to the tampon tax Ambrin asks what might a 'luxury' tampon really look like? 'Tampax Pearl' is ornate, golden and complete with a string of pearls. It is wonderfully opulent but no longer wearable, absorbent, or disposable. 'Tampax Pearl' mocks the idea of a tampon tax and challenges the powers that be to reconsider how they classify 'luxury' items.
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Yellow gold plated guilding metal, pearls
Lace Plaster
2016
Thinking about items one might find in a first aid kit Ambrin created the 'lace plaster'. Wearing a plaster is a straightforward form of healthcare
and something most of will have experienced. An injection plaster, in particular, offers consolation and a sense of comfort after a vaccination. This piece celebrates the humble band-aid whilst simultaenously exploring whether an 'luxurious' plaster can still retain its use value. Will the
decorative lace be able to absorb and protect?
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Gold plated guilding metal, lace
If you enjoyed the online exhibition today please feel free to make a contribution. Funding will be put towards the production of future works and used to support Ambrin's practice. 
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"This is a heartbreaking time and I offer my gratitude, appreciation and compassion to healthcare workers and all those on the frontline. In addition I would like to extend these sentiments to those working in other essential industries and to everybody who is playing their part in the fight against Covid-19.
 
I wish everybody currently isolating warmth and comfort. I have put together this online exhibition for you in the hope that you can enjoy some leisure time engaging in an artistic experience. Of course physical museums and galleries are currently closed so I wanted to bring you something digital that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.
 
Self-isolation can induce feelings of loneliness. Exploring online collections can be a great form of escapism and a hugely stimulating way to spend your spare time. I encourage you to share this exhibition with any friends, family members or colleagues who you think might enjoy it. Please do stay connected and get in touch using the feedback form. I would love to hear your thoughts on the work!" 
- Ambrin
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Copyright © 2020 Ambrin Howell All Rights Reserved
COVID-19
All jewellery will continue to be handmade by Ambrin and the utmost care and attention will be taken in order to produce your piece safely and in accordance with Covid-19 related government guidelines. Due to restricted workspace and reduced access to materials and supplies our making times are currently slightly longer than usual. We thank you for your patience and support and we wish you and your loved ones safety and health during these difficult times.