Alec Doherty | 5 Minutes With

In 2018 Alec began creating a jewellery collection called Mood Ring, inspired by the 90s gemstones made popular by teenagers and ravers. The collection aims to encapsulate nostalgic, youthful feelings of a long-lost night out. When tummies would rush towards pints in the pub, those sticky dance floors, sweaty foreheads, strangers embraces under smoke-filled lights, all shaken up with a hit of sexual tension. 

Carved by Alec, then finely cast and finished in London’s Hatton Gardens, using reclaimed gold and sterling silver means every piece is unique. This year whilst working with filmmaker Jack Exton and photographer Sophie Green, Alec created a short film and photo essay capturing the jewellery and its story. In order to launch the collection, alongside a new online store designed by Chris Biron.

Can you introduce yourself to our audience and tell us how you began working on jewellery?

I’m an artist living and working in London. A few years ago I started making jewellery. I wanted a ring, I couldn’t find one I liked so I made one for myself. I made more for friends and then friends of friends and it’s grown from there.  

What inspired you to look back to the 90s with this collection?

There is a nostalgia in a lot of my work, growing up in the late 90s and 00s I have fond memories of that period. I think the last time I wore jewellery was in that period of time. I remember we’d all peer through the pawnshop window at sovereign rings and solid gold chains with green eyes, wishing we had the money to buy one. Instead settling for knock offs or hand me downs. So in a way there’s a bit of that 13 year old self in my approach to the mood ring collection.  

The reverences to rave and youth culture seem embedded in not only the artwork but the pieces themselves. How did you come up with the concept of Mood Rings?

I’m the youngest of 7 kids, we all lived together in a terrace in the north east, our house was a revolving door of people. My older brothers and sisters were pilgrims of the free party movement of the late 80’s early 90’s so I’ve had music and in particular the cult of dance music drummed into me since I can remember. It’s a hugely inspiring period in recent history and the repercussions of it are ever present in our lives today. It’s a natural place for me to go for inspiration. In particular to me it was a time for youth expression and the coming together of different tribes, something that I admire greatly. The mood rings are a collection of facial expressions (moods) taken from my own experiences as a youth and the names of the pieces echo some of the scenarios we would encounter on a night out with a little humour: dazed, ecstasy, hungover, hazy, etc. The title ‘Mood Ring’ a nod to the colour changing gemstones people would wear at that time. 

The release for these describe nights in the pub, sticky dance floors and smoke filled dance floors. Whats a perfect night out for you?

After the period of time we’ve been through – I don’t need much, a good system and a room full of people that want to dance. 

How did you decide to use reclaimed metals for this project?

Jewellery is a luxury so I think I have a responsibility to create pieces that are as ethically sound as possible, using reclaimed metals wherever possible, is a small way to reduce waste and energy through production. 

This project seems more comprehensive than just a product, from concept to the design and build to the way you have presented it, working with Jack Exton and Sophie Green. How did working with them come about?

By accident or design the jewellery sits in the same world as my paintings, drawings, sculptures – there is a red thread running through it all. I was really lucky to work with Sophie and Jack on this project, they are both hugely talented people. I knew of them both and really loved what they were doing creatively. We reminisced over shared experiences and chatted about the concept, and they were able to bring it to life, it was a really fun shoot and the energy comes through in their imagery. 

f you met your 18 year old self what would you say to them?

Read more books, go back to your piano lessons, buy bitcoin. 

Whats next for you personally and your jewellery?

I’m working on some new paintings which I hope to exhibit early next year. We are working on a new collection for the jewellery with some exciting collaborations in the pipeline too. Personally I’m off to Greece tomorrow for my first holiday in a long time, where I intended to do a lot of eating and drinking and very little else.
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