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      Richard Layzell – Didcot      
Route Planner

spacerarrow Introduction
spacerarrow The Window Wall
spacerarrow Perforated Panels

spacerarrow Love Handles
spacerarrow Everyday Jewels


Everyday Jewels

With the sudden rush for the completion of the building, something has to give. After waiting so long in a void of uncertainty I'd like to take my time with one of the commissions. So Everyday Jewels can wait until after the building has opened.

I'm just in time to prevent the two cavities for Everyday Jewels being over-designed by Iveta, the new assistant project architect, into a fashionable jaunty slant, while their location isn't quite how Rob, the project architect, described. The "central location in the heart of the foyer" is beginning to look very much like a café. This must be another development that happened in the void. And these huge black wooden tables, who ordered these? As a visionaire I oversaw the fit-out of many buildings and know how these decisions are often made. They needed a visionaire here for sure, and there I was, with a different job title.

There are two cabinets for the installation of the work, built to the dimensions I proposed four years ago. They each have a glass door with a key and an awkward gap each side of the door. The finish to the surrounding plaster is not good. This is not what I hoped to find. Doors? Keyholes in a visible place on the glass? What kind of relationship do I have with this piece after this huge time lapse? Do I still actually want to make it? And where's Joyce?

Joyce is now living in sheltered housing and is surrounded by her stuff. But the boxes of archaeological finds are still in the garage, some distance away. It takes a couple of weeks to get them out of storage. She agrees to loan some of her objects for Everyday Jewels on a temporary basis. We talk about a couple of years.

I imagine her historical fragments of the everyday becoming the centrepiece of one of the cabinets, with contemporary objects as the focus of the other one, along with some collaboration from young people and Style Acre.

What small objects do we value and why?

"What have you got in your pockets?" I enthusiastically ask hundreds of under 11s at their school assembly. A few tiny paper aeroplanes are revealed. "Is that all?" Later I find out they're told to come to school with empty pockets, school rules. So they're given special permission to bring in some of their favourite small objects from home. I bring along some of my expanding international collection of small objects and we start, producing a prototype for Everyday Jewels, and then inviting the whole school to sample it, in small groups. Lights on. Lights off. It's a runner.

At Style Acre I meet some new people, including John and his impressive collection of metal badges. No chance of loaning any of these. He needs them for his hats. We have an object sharing session and they vote on their favourites. John is very keen on a small clockwork robot, also a favourite of mine. Jenny favours an adhesive Greek alphabet. These objects, along with several other choices, Joyce's archaeological finds, and some miniature pieces made by the children from Ladygrove Park Primary School, are incorporated into Everyday Jewels, in two spatially complex mini installations, lit by LEDs via a push button timer. This timer is the one detailed in my original drawings for the piece six years ago, before LEDs were on the domestic market.

Click the images to see full size.
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