|Bev Moxon, Covet 2015|
Recently I came across a story written by a French 19th Century author, Guy de Maupassant called, ‘The Necklace’ and although the story is quite well known I had not read it until now. His tale was inspirational in motivating me to create a necklace for this exhibition. In this story a beautiful jewel necklace belonging to a friend was much desired by a young woman, Mathilde.
Coveting and perception are the themes of the story and throughout the narrative the protagonist, Mathilde covets all that other people possess. She perceives others to have more than she and is so covetous of jewels, silks and furs that eventually she comes to a sorry finish. I won’t give the story’s ending away in case you haven’t read it, but I will put a link here so that you can read it for yourselves.
It seems one of the most common weaknesses of human nature is to be covetous of the wealth of others and to perceive that they have more than ourselves. I have used very common objects found in nature to demonstrate how ‘all that is gold need not glitter’. Wealth is a matter of perception as is well illustrated when reading Guy de Maupassant’s tale. If we take the time to look there is a treasure trove to be found in nature.
My necklace is still in the very early stages of designing but will eventually have a rabbit fur edging, cowrie shells, stones, small pieces of bone and other natural materials such as seeds and pods. Techniques employed are weaving, sewing and beading.
There are other layers of meaning within my work from the controversial use of fur as a decorative piece to adorn humans to the suggestions of natures objects, simple, common, yet beautiful and valued in their own right as Nature’ riches.
I also allude to the historical use of shells as money. Shell money was used in America as well as Asia, Africa and Australia. The cowrie shell was the shell most often used as currency and in my work it becomes a signifier of wealth.
It is ironic that Guy de Maupassant penned his own epitaph, which read,
“I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.”