Once in a blue moon, the stars align. The right people meet at the right time, lightning strikes and an idea turns to reality. Like, say, an exceptional jewellery designer, a British car paint artist, and a famous stone cutter in Jaipur, who come together and make something spectacular.
Motley’s latest collaboration with Alice Cicolini is the product of perfect celestial timing. And the tireless work of creative heavyweights, who built a desperately tricky supply chain to make their vision come to life. This, in a nutshell, is the story of Moon Landing.
It all started when designer Alice Cicolini met car paint artist Simon Emery, at a mutual friend’s art show.
She’s now the proud owner of a Porsche bonnet that Simon’s sprayed in his distinctive style, and it didn’t feel like much of a leap for Alice to suggest they find a way to bring their two worlds together. Even less of a leap to share her vision with friend and Motley co-founder, Cecily, who needed only to hear the magic words ‘car paint’ and ‘jewellery’ to get onboard.
Alice has spent years mastering ways to bring colour to jewellery beyond the stone. She’s famous for her enamel work, which she uses to bring vibrant patterns and colour to her pieces, also influenced by the design and architecture of the silk road. She’s collaborated with other artists all her life, from miniature painting to illustration in repousse.
Car paint was a world away from the classic craftsmanship of the silk roads, and from Alice’s enamelling techniques. But it was vibrant colour, and she couldn’t help but wonder what it would look like on the scale of something as small as a ring.
Simon Emery is no stranger to out-of-the-box thinking and collaborations beyond the car hood.
Amongst the bonnets waiting for one of Simon’s signature makeovers at his workshop, there are painted elephants, abstract sculptures, bread bins – and now, so small among the bigger objects you might miss them, some rings and pendants. Each is a product of ventures outside the world of cars, and stacked together in the workshop they are a colourful, modern-day Victorian cabinet of curiosities.
Simon has always tried his signature spray-painting techniques on new mediums, but jewellery was the smallest scale he and his team have ever worked on. It presented its own challenges, like making sure the pieces weren’t blasted away by the force of the spray gun.
Simon and Alice decided to play with a vintage paint that can only be sourced from House of Kolor in Minneapolis, and experimented with techniques from the 70s to bring out its vivid colour on the jewellery’s surface.
The rich, purple paint they selected brought to mind the beauty of the night sky.
The pioneering human fascination with exploring life beyond earth inspired the experimental nature of the collection itself. Alice drew on many influences when designing the collection, from Russian church domes to Victorian jewellery. She brought in her trusted stone cutter, based in Jaipur, who supplied a clear star-cut quartz that paired perfectly with the custom purple paint.
Each otherworldly piece turns classics on their head, all while paying tribute to the artistry, craftsmanship and dedication it takes to make something truly spectacular.
The pieces in this collection have passed through the hands of many artists and craftsmen.
Each time a piece of the puzzle didn’t work – from challenges with getting the paint to show up correctly on the surface of precious metal, to getting the right finish done by jewellers in Hatton Garden – it was back to the drawing board, until it all just worked.
Every piece in the collection holds the collective knowledge of makers and artists who have honed their craft over decades. It’s well suited to a time when the pursuit of artistic endeavour is facing serious challenge, at a moment when we appreciate it more than ever.
And so it came to be that Moon Landing was taken from a meeting of the minds, to beautiful jewellery that pays tribute to the night sky (and all the possibility that it holds).