Lauren Bell-Brown describes herself as a hopeless romantic, drawn to 18th century Baroque, Rococo and Romanticism. Her love of an aged aesthetic means she has a compulsion to combine the juxtaposing states of beauty and decay, finding beauty in imperfections. Lauren started collecting Victorian children’s books some years ago, drawn to their floral, gilded, ornate but worn and well-thumbed covers and pages. One of the most treasured finds being a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales illustrated by Arthur Rackham.
Fairies and fairytales had always been a big part of Lauren’s childhood; the magic of tiny, scrolled letters she received from the tooth fairy in return for a tooth and the ‘fairy tree’ at her Grandparents’ house where she spent hours as a young girl, creating intricately detailed fairy houses. Typically, Lauren had been brought up with a very romanticised, Disney-fied ideal of fairytales, but soon came to realise that these were retelling the stories of the Grimm Brothers’ much darker, original tales. She preferred the latter.
Building upon Lauren’s understanding of traditional fairy-tale aesthetics, her jewellery portrays their classic beauty whilst incorporating the Grimm’s darker narrative. Ornately detailed and meticulously hand crafted wax carvings and cuttlefish castings combined with needlepoint embellishment add drama to the fantasy of her work, offering a subversive twist to the concept of the familiar ‘happily ever after'.
Lauren’s love of books and dissecting the Grimm Brothers’ and Hans Christian Andersen narrative, extracting hidden detail, is a real pleasure for her. Lauren wants the audience to explore her jewellery and make their own observations; the detail is there to be discovered and she hopes a subsequent understanding of her interpretation is revealed.