Ideas in transition

Elizabeth Callinicos MA(RCA)


Coming from a traditional goldsmiths’ training, jewellery has become a vehicle through which Elizabeth Callinicos explores a number of concerns. Inherently intimate and personal in its nature, concerned with individual and tribal identity, both in historical and contemporary terms, jewellery has given her the space ‘in between’ to engage with a number of issues.

Mirrors, vessels, layers and surfaces are recurring themes and have underpinned the last decade’s research under the title of ‘Pots, beads and thresholds’. Through the materiality of physical objects which are a device for storytelling, these objects and jewels explore the interface between private and public; engaging with questions of (perceived) value, needs, wants and survival. The use of open and enclosed forms, flat silhouettes, hollow and solid constructions offer visual metaphors for what might lie beneath.

The way that external multi sensory influences inform the creative process is not always straight forward. Visual, tactile and emotional stimuli is not consciously sought out, but is encountered and the key is recognising when such things have relevance and to somehow record. This may take the form of a scribble, a photograph, a quotation or word or the physical collecting of an object or fragment.

Material culture, archaeology, anthropology and fictional texts also play an important role in their points of reference. The digesting of knowledge from these other disciplines provides some of the threads for understanding and articulating through the conversation inherent in the making of objects. The awareness of how this impacts upon the creative process is often dependent upon the post-reflective evaluation.


‘There is a stage of transition which cannot always be quantified, the moment of the intangible, where the object must be left to speak for itself without the need to construct a novel in order to appreciate it.’

Elizabeth Callinicos MA(RCA)

Elizabeth Callinicos graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1992 and since then her professional life has been divided between teaching, academic research and practice. She has taught at numerous institutions, both nationally and internationally and is currently Senior Lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University. She exhibits widely, both nationally and internationally and has been guest speaker at a number of forums. Her work is known for challenging the boundaries and perceptions of what might be deemed jewellery; ‘the human being is my site and jewellery has become a vehicle through which I can explore a number of issues. Amongst these are questions of individuality v/s tribal identity and installation, both on an intimate scale and in architectural space. Mirrors, layers and surfaces have played a key role in her work over the past ten years and have underpinned much of her research under the title of ‘Pots, Beads & Thresholds’.

Selected exhibitions

‘Mirror, Mirror’, Galerie Rob Koudjis, Amsterdam (solo), 2009; COLLECT (with Galerie Rob Koudjis), Saatchi Galleries, London, 2009; Much Depends on Dinner, Milan Furniture Fair, with IND/Label, 2008; Kaleidescope, Crafts Council Collection, Oriel Gallery, Swansea (touring), 2007; Meeting Point(s), The Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 2004; KORU1, Lappeenranta, Finland, 2003; Cause & Effect, British Council Exhibition, Touring Poland, Israel, Vietnam, Cuba, 2001; Labels & Things, Galerie Lousie Smit, Amsterdam, (solo); 2001; Jerwood Applied Arts Prize for Jewellery, Crafts Council (Touring) 2000; Tectonic, Crafts Council, London, 2000

Research projects

Pots, Beads & Thresholds: Starting with a technical accident in preparing for Tectonic (2000), Pots, Beads & Thresholds developed into an ongoing body of investigation over the last decade: it has taken the form of academic writing, lectures, a research fellowship specifically concerned with electroforming, sponsored by Southern Arts (2002-4) and subsequently underpinned a fellowship with Buckinghamshire New University (2004-9). It also resulted in a three month residency at the European Ceramics Work Centre, The Netherlands, 2007.