Caren Hartley

"My work is an exploration of ideas through materials, striving to find a tangible equivalence for thought."

Caren Hartley is a contemporary artist working on the borders of craft, fine art and installation. Working predominantly in metal, she creates intimate sculptures and installations that speak of relationships with objects and how they reflect the society and environment in which they find themselves.

"My fascination lies with the lives of familiar objects – especially those that are seemingly unimportant or have fallen from favour. Following the themes of rebirth, simulation and object translations, I explore how a parody of the original is created when material truths and untruths are interfered with. Through the subversion of an object’s material identity, I investigate how the physical marks of time and use can denote personal histories and object biographies. The sense, and evidence of a human trace on an object is something that forms a key part of my work as an artist. How these marks change and distort through the process of replication intrigues me and I am continuing to explore how this distortion can give a false representation of the past, disrupting the object’s historical timeline, and hence our understanding of that object."

Image by Sylvain Deleu

The Small Change collection is inspired by the habit of collecting small value coins, filling dishes and saucers around the home with handfuls of coppers and silvers and the strange delight that occurs when a long forgotten but still familiar coin is found in an old pocket or purse.

The collection is a group of out of circulation British coins from early to mid period of the 20th Century. Each has been re-made in silver and given a ‘small change’, making you look twice, highlighting their sentimental value and increasing their precious quality.

"First I make a mould of an original mid 20th Century coin and then make a wax copy.  I then subtley manipulate the coin I make by hand, before casting in solid silver."

Necklaces from left to right:
silver Half Penny £86
silver & oxidized silver Farthing £77
oxidized silver Farthing £77
22ct gold plated silver Sixpence £99
silver Fathing £77

As well as being a talented artist and maker, Caren also teaches her skills to others, both lecturing at universities and hosting workshops with her partner Lucie Gledhill...

"I started teaching jewellery and metalwork before doing a residency at Bishopsland and before studying at the RCA, which is where I met Lucie Gledhill (a jeweller). After we graduated we set up a workshop together in East London, and then we started doing jewellery workshops for children for Greenwich Council.

Since completing our Masters Degrees we have taught at many places, including Sheffield Hallam University, London Jewellery School, Brighton University, Glasgow School of Art, and Holloway Prison!  This was originally to make some much needed money after leaving college, but we soon found that we loved teaching!

We then went on to set up Made By Ore together so that we could offer more professional jewellery and metalwork classes to adults and children, and also took on an extra studio to use as a dedicated teaching space.  We now run a variety of classes, with an emphasis on teaching traditional industry standard skills. From our own teaching studio we teach private tuition, couples to make their own wedding bands and have space for people to 'Hot Bench' if they need a jewellery studio to make their own work but do not have access to a space."

Go to for further information on workshops, and Caren also has an informative website...

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