The Fascinating Story behind the Jewellery
A batch of handmade jewellery has just arrived in the gallery and we have never had anything quite like it before. Costume jewellery is something we seldom have, but when we saw Annie's work we couldn't resist. The brightness, the colour, the humour and the wow factor all delighted us. Although shapes are repeated every single item is put together with a different selection of beads, making it unique.
A brooch too far? (Sorry). I don't think so, if any jewellery can bring brooches back into fashion then this is it. And her earrings are fabulous too...
Because every piece is a one-off we took a long time choosing each item for the gallery. After we had finished Annie talked to us about the history of the work. The story behind it is remarkable in my opinion, and here it is in her own words.
"Annie's late husband Mark Gladwell started a company called Pur Fabrication, which made jewellery for shops and stors all over the world. He employed up to 50 people from an ex bra factory in Soho. It was a treasure trove of components. It was inhabited by creative people form all over the world who helped to desigh and produce the jewellery and accessories.
Initilally Mark had a shop on Portobello Road, where he met and was befriended by a German Jew called Wolfie who had escaped the death camps in Germany and made his home in London. The second world war affected trade and destroyed businesses, not least the fashion jewellery trade. Wolfie used to buy and sell things. One day he bid on a train load of stones, findings and beads which had come from Czechoslovakia, which is known for its fine crystal and glass products. The lot came in second world war ammunition cases, which were full of the most beautiful vintage components.
They were duly delivered to Denman Street and stored on the roof becuase the building was already too full of beautiful stuff. That summer the then US president Reagan was visiting London. Security was high because historically, London was threatened by IRA bombs. Up on the roof the sun was blazing and various arty types were taking their break when the building was raided by the SAS. Armed police rushed up to the rood believing they had foiled a plot to assasinate the president. The view from the roof was directly over Horse Guard's Parade and Downing Street.
Many years later Annie continues to make jewellery using this resource. All the pieces are unique one-offs and hold this interesting history"