“They weren’t the maths books I’d had in school,” says jeweller and academic Melanie Eddy. “They showed maths as an applied subject…I started to see how in our world, a man-made world, the structure is maths and geometry and how we create systems to understand and navigate the world around us.” Curator and writer Rachel Church traces the rediscovery of mathematics in Melanie’s jewellery and the spirituality that underpins it.
In the author CP Snow’s famous division between the arts and the sciences, mathematics and jewellery design would find themselves on either side of an almost unbridgeable divide. London jeweller Melanie Eddy’s work proves the fault of this approach. Her rings, bangles and necklaces are marvels of three-dimensional geometry, a careful calculation of lines and angles, creating jewellery which seems almost effortlessly balanced and has a great sense of serenity.
Jewellers have always needed skills in arithmetic in order to calculate the materials needed for their pieces, the ratios of alloys in metals and to work out the cost of a jewel in metals and gemstones, including the time taken to work it and the final profit margin, but Melanie was surprised to find that the direction of her work led her to a new appreciation and understanding of geometry. Although maths hadn’t been a favourite subject in school, her post-graduate jewellery studies led her to research medieval architecture and art and the maths which they were based on. These geometrical shapes became a great influence on her work and led her to read up on maths and re-evaluate her feelings about it. ‘They weren’t the maths books I’d had in school, they showed maths as an applied subject…I started to see how in our world, a man-made world, the structure is maths and geometry and how we create systems to understand and navigate the world around us.’