Inspired by the work of David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg Caroline started looking at ways to create a contemporary eco-friendly jewellery collection which has colour at its centre. This led to the discovery of a manmade by-product known as Surfite. Most Surfite is produced, not surprisingly, in surf hotspots such as California. In order to keep the carbon footprint of her work as low as possible , she contacted another independent British based maker – Jay Burnett- and a collaboration was born. Jay is a Scottish based custom surfboard designer creating unique boards with amazing resin coloured finishes.

Allowing Surfite to take the centre stage in her latest work; Caroline hopes to engage and create dialogue around the ideas of sustainability, recycling and waste. Innovation and redesigning of classic pieces using waste material has got to be part of a sustainable future for all. It is this message that remains fundamental in this jewellery collection. Caroline aims to create exclusive wearable pieces of art by using this exciting alternative to mined gemstones as a way of adding 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. Finally, the board is covered in layers of fiberglass with liquid resin poured over. 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. Occasionally there is also left-over liquid resin that is poured into pots or used by Jay to create his unique 3D wave sculpture pieces.  Repurposing this resin run-off can reduce over 90% of the waste associated with this process. Caroline receives this surplus and waste resin in large chunks which she then works with.

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. Caroline uses 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 loose 3-Dimensional shape. The shape is then refined and honed whilst working through finer and finer grits before getting its final polish.  By cutting in different angles 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.

Caroline then moves on to designing and adding Sterling Silver accent pieces to add contrast and strength to the work. 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.

Each section 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 Caroline to study and develop this collection as she continues to explore shape, form and colour.