Hannah Martin creates Brit nominees sculpture

British rock n roll designer and goldsmith Hannah Martin has created a bespoke jewel sculpture to be sent to all British nominees of the 2022 BRIT Awards.

By Vivienne Becker

It’s a perfect match. British designer and goldsmith Hannah Martin, known for her rebellious rock ‘n roll style, for handsome, powerful heavy metal gold jewels, has created a bespoke jewel sculpture to be sent to all British nominees of the 2022 BRIT Awards. She has designed and made 60 rugged cast bronze objects. Each one is in the shape of a giant “B”, with the central open space in the distinctive, shapely form of the actual BRIT award. They sit in a rectangular piece of ebony, one of Hannah’s favourite materials. But can be taken out and worn as a jewel, a massive pendant on a long chain , as modelled by Hannah herself. She describes it as “something between a sculpture, a hand-held object and a piece of jewellery…a luxurious dystopian-punk memento that is tactile and sensual and challenges the concept of objects used to recognise achievements”.

Hannah Martin models Brits jewellery

Bubbling over with excitement, as her hefty jewel sculptures winged their way to artists including Sir Elton John, Abba, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Griff and Stormzy, Hannah explains how it all came about, serendipitously, through the recommendation of jewellery consultant Kate Baxter who had been talking to a colleague on the BRITS production team:  “It’s been a wild ride,” she says, “and it all happened so quickly, but everything just fell into place.  The BRITS team had introduced a new concept to honour the nominees, and they wanted to create a beautiful, lasting object to mark the moment and the incredible achievement of being nominated.  I had to pitch for it, but my connection to music is so strong, a massive influence on my life and work, and then when I was told the theme for 2022 was dystopian Britain, I realised this was perfect for me.” 

Brits sculpture jewellery

She instantly came up with the idea of a rough-hewn chunk of metal that fits the dystopian brief, yet also resonates with Hip Hop and its heavily bejewelled culture. “I wanted the huge B to look as if it had fallen from the sky and landed smack into a piece of ebony”, she continues.  She was inspired by the art of the medallist, having previously designed and sculpted medals for the London Design Festival. “Medal-making is its own little world, that almost no-one knows about, and that represents amazing craftsmanship, a cross between jewellery and sculpture,” says Hannah  “and I liked the idea of a medal-type ornament to celebrate achievement.”  She wanted to make something of substance, with a reassuring weight, that would feel good to hold, and could also be worn as a pendant. The modelling of the “B”, she says, took her back to her old-school days of plaster carving, but the size and volume, combined with the short time-frame for the project, meant she had to look outside her usual ateliers for a workshop to produce the sculptures.  Fortuitously, she discovered a bronze foundry in Farnham that cast fine-art sculptures and understood the process and the look and finish she wanted. “I learnt so much,” she adds, “watching them pour the bronze was so exciting.”

Pouring the molten bronze into casts

  Then, in another stroke of luck, just a few weeks before the surprise commission, Hannah had come across a stash of salvaged remnants of ebony – a material that she loves for its natural black velvety opacity and that she used in her latest New Act of Rebellion collection. The ebony rectangles made ideal stands, each different, and, even more by recycling the left-over wood, and using recycled bronze, the entire sculpture was 100% sustainable.  The finishing touch, in a nod to a techno dystopian world, comes from the unique QR code included in each “B”, which when activated will launch a hidden AR filter to create content. It was, concludes Hannah, with pride and joy, a dream commission that, fittingly, seemed to drop out of the sky, heaven-sent, bringing together her personal passions, creativity, craftsmanship and the music, eclectic, alternative, mainly rock n roll and punk that has always provided the soundtrack to her life and work. “Musicians that have always been reference points in each new collection I design. Live music is entwined in my world,” she adds.  And now cast in bronze, bold, beautiful and resolutely BRIT.