The Lily Holds Firm: Bangles, Part One.


Crown of Thorns I by Anastasia Young for The Lily Holds Firm

This bangle utilised my favourite piece of vintage string from my string collection. I'm very glad that it found a new purpose for this project. Hoarders will understand the importance of having such collections, and the joy of making use of objects which one has held in reserve for some time, perhaps even years.

As a side note, many of the pieces of string have arrived on the back of vintage picture frames (as is the case here, judging by the threaded eyelets still present on the string). These pieces of string tend to have the best patina as they have often been soaking up their environments for decades.

Work in Progress - Crown of Thorns I by Anastasia Young for The Lily Holds Firm

Authenticity of objects has been a recurring theme during this project, particularly where the use of props is concerned. Generally it is preferable to use something repurposed or adapted to create props, as new objects that have been included have often needed quite a bit of work (paint, varnish etc) to make them blend into the scenes better. The use of battered vintage objects lends an authenticity to proceedings which can't easily be reproduced by any amount of paint. Followers of my 'Accidental Narrative' series will know that I have access to a large resource of ephemera and random odd objects - in fact the search for props for this project has led to a recent increase in the amount of symbolic objects which have been brought home (for example, we now have formidable collection of dice of many eras and materials and for many different games). One area of life tends to affect another....


This crown of thorns was made relatively late in the project because its method of construction was problematic. I wanted the structure of the piece to resemble the original drawing, and not just be intertwined spiky twigs (which is a bit obvious, but also incredibly difficult to do well). Several attempts had been made at interpretation using various materials, but it wasn't until it came to be time for the shoot that the answer presented itself (as is so often the case) in the form of this piece of string.

The thorns were similarly an issue, and despite my initial reservations that rose thorns would be too obvious, they just seemed to work better than any of the other thorns which I had collected over the preceding years. 

In situ - Crown of Thorns I by Anastasia Young for The Lily Holds Firm




Crown of Thorns II by Anastasia Young for The Lily Holds Firm

The second crown of thorns presented no less of a problem. This one was made, again, very soon before a shoot in which two crowns of thorns were needed. The requirements were slightly different, as this bangle did not need to fit around a heart, but the scale was very important. Initial attemps were made to create a piece which was much smaller than the original, using string again (but not such satisfactory string, admittedly). I find this to be quite a different way of working to making jewellery in precious metals, where I feel committed to something once I have started because the materials are valuable. Using non-precious materials, it is much easier for me to decide that things don't look quite how I imagine they should, and I can abandon my efforts and start again with some other material.


There often comes a time in the sourcing of props that I will have to ask my partner to see if he has anything suitable which I can use. He usually does not disappoint, having been a skilful hoarder for even longer than I have. The base for this bangle is discarded nickel wire which he used to texture either copper or silver wire with many years ago - discarded, but kept for posterity and now serving a useful purpose.

Detail - Crown of Thorns II by Anastasia Young for The Lily Holds Firm

Much like the first Crown of Thorns, this is a notionally function bangle. By which I mean that it would be possible to wear it but it would be a) pretty painful to put on and b) destructive to the piece itself.

Original Image for Crown of Thorns II