"There is white noise and pink noise so brown noise is something that will erm, make you shit yourself."
After catching up with The 'Bear' herself, I found out some interesting home truths! Firstly the fact she didn’t want to get into jewellery making, an obsession with chairs and making things beautiful. I really like how somebody has made something from something so mundane and made it quite beautiful writes fashion correspondent Gabriella Armieri.
Why did you want to get into
I didn’t...because I have lots and lots of stuff in my house, bits and pieces of things.
What kind of things?
Everything from bits of rubbish. I am a bit of a collectomaniac. I collect things.
What kinds of things do
60’s glass, Scandinavian glass, 50’s kitsch, anything! I went through a phase where I’d see a chair and I just had to have it. At one point I had more chairs in my house than friends! It’s proved that sometimes things placed in the right way have their own intrinsic beauty, in some ways my necklaces if you think about sometimes it if I put something really cheap next to something of value and the
meaning changes and I kind of like that. It gives it a whole different look to it.
What was the first necklace that you ever made?
There were two. There was this one my friend bought off me which was made of old watch parts and it has religious iconography and it a little bit of kitsch it had a locket on it with a mother on it so yeah it was quite kitsch. So that was probably the first one I made. I think
Originally it was the one I was wearing and then my pal had one. The theme of that one
What kind of things did you have on it?
It was like an oversized charm bracelet. These were all oversized and there were loads of chains it was quite pretty but it had these huge almost bauble type things hanging from it.
So would you like to make necklaces specifically for people?
Yeah that’s what I’d want! The necklaces I have done for people have been because they have seen something on me and they have either wanted that or something similarish. There is one that I made, and I had just met this person and I knew that she would love it, there were a few things that I knew she would like and I picked up on that. So I found this panther, and funnily enough all of the ‘hard boys’ on the estate that I used to live on in the 70’s used to have this generic tattoo of a panther. And when I gave her this necklace she looked at me really weirdly and I just said “I just don’t believe this! My partner has got this tattooed on his arm!” And I kind of liked that, but if I’ve seen someone or met them then it’s easy I just pick up on things.
Do you think you could make them for strangers?
If I’ve got a photograph of them and a small bit of information it would be easier, if I’d met them without a doubt but it’s a lot easier when somebody says what they like and don’t like.
Would you say that you make your jewellery
I have started to now. Without a doubt, now I do. The first one I would say started off the theme thing was the 80’s one, the Lady Diana one, ‘she shouldn’t have gone into the tunnel.’ All I wanted to do was make an 80’s necklace. So I had all these chains and I thought what could be more 80’s than a Rubix cube which I had, and I also had a Lady Di and Prince Charles medal from their wedding, 80’s again. With the Rubix cube I needed some more colour into it so I picked up this Paris medallion which was blue and it looked wicked. And then I looked at it and thought, “Oh no!” but at the same time I was smiling to myself, it was a little bit funny. Without a doubt tongue and cheek. It was supposed to be humorous although a little distasteful.
It sounds like you are being very political in what you are doing...Accidently.
I’m not trying to be controversial because there is nothing worse than people thinking that you are trying to be. What I’m thinking is probably something completely different to what someone else is thinking. I like that.
Have you always wanted them to be themed?
Erm, no. Some things like the ‘can you keep a secret’ was kind of weird how that turned out. I saw these necklaces, made out of wire, and I looked at them and they looked almost modern in some ways but it was made out of wire. I went away and I was in one of my places that I buy bits and pieces and in this biscuit tin was 2 bits of this necklace made out of this wire. And I had to buy them. And the more I looked at them I thought they had a 30’s thing about them, like 30’s electrical wire. I did a little bit of research on it and what it was was in the war in the factories any little pieces of scraps or wire the women would sneak out the factories and they would make necklaces. So out of rubbish they made something nice. And they would make these necklaces and they were absolutely exquisite, so when I saw them I thought they were ace.
It’s almost like you have
Yeah, I really like how somebody has made something from something so mundane and made it quite beautiful; I quite like that and I think that’s what my necklaces are about. Love looking at things and then putting them in a different context; it’s so simple its genius. I see beauty in the most, weird things.
What is your favourite
necklace that you have made?
There is one called, ‘family’ and it’s not my family on it but it’s probably one of the earliest ones that I ever made. It’s made out of rosary beads, an old fossil, bits of souvenirs, some memorabilia, and it’s got this locket. I’d say it was probably late Victorian early Edwardian. And at a guess I would say that the photos were 1950’s by the colours and the clothing. It’s a mum in some cornfields with her kids and it’s just beautiful. And then on the other side there is a photograph, could be 50’s could possibly be 70’s and it’s of two boys – they could be brothers, in my head I make up where it could have been from.
How does it feel to see your necklaces on people?
I can’t explain how excited I get, I’m so glad that everyone who has bought one off me have really liked them because that is the beauty of it.
Where do you find your gems and charms?
I go anywhere from charity shops to car boot sales, I can’t walk past a charity shop without looking inside, it’s almost compulsive. I can find junk in biscuit tins! I will find something, there will be a beauty in it, and it will spark an idea.
Why did you call it Brown Noise Bear?
My favourite people have the privilege of calling me bear. My name is bear, and I wanted brown bear and all the URL’s were gone and well anyway my musical taste is somewhat to be questioned, so it’s also like frequency. There is white noise and pink noise so brown noise is something that will erm, make you poo yourself. So I had a laugh about it, and that’s where it came from.
What would you like to achieve with Brown Noise Bear?
Probably people saying, ah mate that’s amazing, make me one! I want to make them for people that appreciate it. That’s my dream.