Crown of Thorns

When travelling, one of my favourite pastimes is wandering through antique shops, junk stores and local flea markets to observe the ensconced objects. I don’t deem these objects as forgotten or lost, rather they are specimens of what the community has deemed important enough to save. This gives me insight in to the local culture and forms a link between others and myself through these things we have both touched.  Some items are useful, some are whimsical harbingers of the past. In rural Nova Scotia, I stumbled across a circular interlocked wood piece that I had never seen before. Upon returning home and researching the piece, I discovered that it was called a Crown of Thorns.

Crown of Thorns are considered Tramp, or Folk Art and were popular in the 1920's and 1930's. They were traditionally hung on the wall and used as a picture frame. They are made of individual carved pieces of wood, interlocked by an ingenious slot design.

While the Crown of Thorns was designed to be statically displayed, playing with it in my hands was a delightful experience. The interlocking pieces allowed the piece to bend and flow freely as well as moving easily with the body.



Sacrificing this specimen, I deconstructed it to unlock the secret of its pattern, and discovered a linking system that could be endlessly variable, and perhaps suitable for jewellery.

By deconstructing the piece and using contemporary processes of CAD drawing, 3D printing and laser cutting, I have been able to continue the journey of investigation and discovery that started with this vintage piece. New linking systems are tested in cardboard before the final version is laser-cut and hand assembled in long wearing colourful laminates. The newest patterns and colorways are influenced by my time researching “Dazzle Camouflage” at Banff Center for the Arts as well as a recently completed artist residency in sunny California at Techshop.

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