I fell in love with the outdoors and everything it has to offer whilst studying at University in Bangor, North Wales.  I came across Surfite only a few years ago when I was searching for ways to create more sustainable and eco-friendly jewellery. Most Surfite is produced, not surprisingly, in surf hotspots such as California. This started my search for British surfboard shapers and the start of a collaboration between Jay Burnett and myself.  Jay Burnett is a leading independent Scottish surfboard shaper based in Edinburgh.

My passion for Surfite has led it to become my main focus within my work. There is so much that comes into play when working with Surfite from the way it open dialogues about sustainability, recycling and upcycling; to the importance of realising that innovation and redesigning of classic pieces using waste material has got to be part of a sustainable future for all.

My aim is to create wearable pieces of art using this exciting alternative to mined gemstones as a way to add colour to precious metal jewellery. Each piece is designed to engage and explore not only the resin itself but its ability to be complemented by flashes of silver.

Jay creates his custom surfboards by cutting, planing, and sanding a foam blank. The board is then covered in layers of fiberglass before liquid resin is poured over it. As Jay pours the resin over the board, the excess pools off onto the shop floor, drying and setting in random layers. Overtime these layers build up and are normally broken off the shop floor to be disposed of at landfill sites, where it will not decompose.

Repurposing this resin run-off can reduce over 90% of the waste associated with this process. In a more recent development Jay has also stared pouring any leftover liquid resin used during surfboard repairs into small pots and swirling colours together before letting this to set. This creates entirely random and unique patterns and colour combinations.

The resultant layering and colour play of the resin is complete chance and is often not revealed until the first cuts into the resin chunks are made. The Surfite may be opaque or clear and have air bubbles trapped within.

I use a number of adapted lapidary techniques including hand carving, shaping and polishing to ensure maximum colour play of the striations.  The ‘initial roughing out’ is done first on coarse grit lapidary wheels by hand to carve a rough 3-Dimensional shape. The shape is then refined and honed whilst working through finer and finer grits before getting its final polish.  By cutting the slices in different directions it is possible to create unusual and unique pieces.  As an otherwise waste product, the resin often contains sections with too much fibreglass or debris.

Unlike items formed by pouring resin into a mould which cures/sets as a whole; the layers of Surfite cure and dry at different times which leaves sections vulnerable to fracturing; these too need to be removed as early on in the process as possible. This is a highly labour-intensive process but results in completely unique one of kind jewellery.

 

Moving back into my studio I start to design and add precious metal accents to add contrast and strength to the piece. Some of the work is small and almost unnoticeable for example the hidden silver tubing reinforcing the holes in the ‘Lifebuoy’ earrings where the ear wires are threaded through to larger bold elements such as the solid Silver surfer figurine.

Each piece of Surfite has its own story to tell, in its history as being part of a custom surfboard and in its future as another precious object. Many people see landscapes and sunsets within the layers of resin which add an extra dimension of meaning in the selection of their chosen item of jewellery. Each piece then becomes something to be treasured and preserved.

It is this celebration of uniqueness by reimagining an imperfect waste material which pushes me to study and develop this collection as I develop, I create understanding of the shapes and forms that can be created.

"Beautiful quality, unique one off jewellery pieces hand made with love by a lovely talented lady."

Zoe, Yorkshire