All That Glitters, Series 2, Episode 4: Musical Catherine Wheel

Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (1965-1970)

Get your lapels ready because it’s Brooch Time.

‘Sup, Brooch?

For this week’s Bestseller Challenge the jewellers were having to make Statement brooches that in some way celebrated Birmingham, and as Katherine Ryan was firmly on earcuff modelling duty for the next challenge, Dinny was doing her best to give us a statement brooch

I’ll give a bejewelled safety pin a solid 6/10 in the Statement Brooch rankings – it’s not exactly a bedazzled spider now is it?

I am still looking for a glitzy spider brooch that doesn’t require me to sell an organ in order to afford it – if they’re looking for Bespoke Challenge clients for series 3, hit me up! I’ll work on a suitable backstory.

As the theme of the week was the always chaotic <Tim_Gunn_Voice> Unconventional Materials Challenge </Tim_Gunn_Voice> in order to make their brooches the jewellers had to use at least two of the materials they had raided from their nearest B&Q

said materials included perspex, concrete, wood, string and some very ill-advised rusty nails. Then of course they also had some copper and silver in order to help them build the body of their brooch.

Piers wasn’t particularly thrilled with the challenge and proceeded to play it as safe as he possibly could by making an anchor brooch using string and wood as his unconventional materials – the bravest thing about it being that he was once against casting his silver, which hadn’t gone so well last week but he pulled it off perfectly this week

it’s exceptionally well made and you can’t really fault it but it does just seem a touch too ordinary and unexciting, which is a shame because I was VERY excited to see what Piers was going to make when he rocked up in the beginning of the episode looking like Fievel Mousekewitz

I’ll always appreciate someone who has a Say Something Hat Day.

The only Jeweller to truly embrace colour for this challenge was David, who was taking inspiration from the BT Tower to create his brooch that Dinny rather aptly described as a Disco Dalek – and yes I am mad that I didn’t get to say that first

it also looks a bit like the remote control a mad scientist in a cartoon makes to try and control the universe. For me personally this was the only truly successful brooch of this challenge – it has a very Léa Stein feel about it

and I could see someone wearing it as a statement piece.

Everyone else’s brooches were rather subdued – I did have high hopes for Bonnie’s given that she was inspired by a Liz Berry poem about pigeons and I really loved her concept sketches

and while there’s a lot to like about the brooch, it is mostly the iridescent silver wings that catch my eye, which does miss the challenge a bit

and I’m not sure the perspex droplets worked quite as well as she wanted them too, but she needed to get a second unconventional material on there somehow. Dinny’s issue was mostly with the fact it was too heavy and she wanted the egg to be smaller, although I’m not quite sure how much smaller Bonnie could go since she was using a quail’s egg

She couldn’t exactly make a trip to the depths of the Guatemalan rainforests to poach a hummingbird’s egg.

For her brooch, Emma was taking inspiration from the tragic story of George Ravenhill, who was awarded the Victoria Cross but had it forfeited after he was arrested for stealing iron and couldn’t afford the fine, so she was making him a sort of posthumous Victoria Cross 2.0. Which is a lovely sentiment and my God do I love how much of a bootleg it is

the “BRAVE” stamped at the top really tickled me – it’s like one of those Brazilian produced Pixar knock-offs

but the Ratatoing-ness of it aside, it was a very well made medal brooch and certainly worked as a love letter to an aspect of Birmingham that is probably less familiar to a lot of people. Also it turns out George Ravenhill was hot

George Ravenhill, the first man to receive a medal for thirst trapping.

Lastly we have Jack who was making sure to go all out and was using every single unconventional material he could possibly get his hands on, with wood being the main component, which I was very excited for because the intricate frame looked like it was going to be really cool

but then in an effort to get that dreaded second material into the piece he began setting rusty nails into a resin and concrete concoction like he was Jigsaw making a prototype Saw trap

the final effect very much looking like some sort of Biblical torture device that Dan Brown dreamed up

if you line up the points of the wooden frame perfectly with the planets from Galileo’s observatory and prick your fingers on the nails the ghost of Michelangelo appears and tells you where the Holy Grail is. I don’t know, I have read one (1) Dan Brown novel and it was Digital Fortress.

An Official Statement Brooch Ranking

  1. George Ravenhill’s Posthumous Vicky Rood Medal
  2. David’s Disco Dalek
  3. Piers’s Safety Anchor
  4. Jack’s Cryptex
  5. Bonnie’s Heavy-set Egg

A Cuff Around The Ears

For this week’s Bespoke Challenge the jewellers were having to make an earcuff for Elliot to wear to the Gay Times Honours

and he very much wanted the ear cuff to emphasise and celebrate his hearing aid.

Most of the jewellers really leaned into the music and sound side of the brief, which was what Elliot’s conversation with Katherine focused on. Jack was going more with the theme of the event being the Gay Times Honours and Elliot being a card carrying member of the LGBTQ+ community – as the moodboard he gave them illustrated

That’s basically the wall mural of every trans person going – it’s only missing a photo of Elliot with Blåhaj and at least 1 anime meme.
I must say it was pretty neat to have the big trans flag hovering around in the background of the workshop for the entire challenge

and that combined with everyone being so nice to Elliot meant a lot to me – it’s easy to feel like there’s this overwhelming anti-trans movement and then something like this happens and you realise it’s mostly just very loud psychopaths on Twitter that are happening. So I’m glad Elliot got to be celebrated for half an hour, good for him. Good for the Trans Agenda™ of having nice things.

For his Big Gay Ear Cuff™, Jack was referencing one of the original Gay Rights symbols: the Pink Triangle which he was creating by weaving pink, black and white threads together to lean into the punkish aesthetic that Elliot likes

I really loved this one, the gold loops were maybe a little too chunky but I really like the top spikes and the inner earpiece combination.

Naturally because Elliot had dared to utter the word “punk”, the jewellers immediately leapt to make their ear cuffs as spiky as possible, with Bonnie being the only person to make an ear cuff that you couldn’t potentially jab someone’s eye out with if you turned your head too quickly or nodded too vigorously

I really liked her origami cuff and I was fascinated by the creation process with her having to plan out how the folding would all work, which I don’t think she got enough credit for to be honest. I would have been really curious to see Elliot wearing it too because Shaun tried it on but because they were working to a specific mould of Elliot’s ear, it didn’t show off the coloured piece she had made

but it was noticeably the simplest looking piece of the bunch – it was very difficult to stand out in this round especially when David was making a musical Catherine Wheel

I think the treble clef motif over the ear is a really clever design

it would obviously hide the hearing aid but it certainly also makes your ear a statement. I’m not sure I’m entirely keen on it, it’s very well made and the spacing of the tendrils is incredibly even and precise but I do find that it makes it look a bit more like a toy than a piece of jewellery.

Piers was also going for a very pronounced musical theme, choosing to design his ear cuff to look like it was made out of soundbars which called for some very precise and fiddling sawing

and for his contemporary material he was painting some of the soundbars red using dipping rubber which was not initially going as he had intended, much like any of my attempts to do my own nails

he did however manage to remedy his fight with the dipping rubber and produced one of my favourite pieces of jewellery that anyone has ever made on this show

I just think it’s really cool, it perfectly fit the brief and the addition of the microphone added a nice little personal nod to Elliot – I for one welcome the Pierssaince.

Lastly we have Emma, who was also using the dipping rubber to accentuate the pointed ends of her teardrop-shaped spikes

I’m not sure I get punk from it, other than the little smiley face studs being very early 2010s pop-punk, but I do get a sort of South Asian feel what with the colours and the shapes being quite floral. I also thought it was going to be a bit big, but it was actually much smaller than I had anticipated and sat much more flushly along the side of the head

I’m not sure it fully fits with Elliot’s style but I can certainly see someone wearing it and I do think it’s a beautiful piece.

An Unofficial Ear Cuff Ranking

  1. Piers Won The Rubber War
  2. Jack’s Big Gay Ear Cuff
  3. Emma’s Fiery Floral Cuff
  4. Bonnie’s Folding Idea
  5. David’s Musical Catherine Wheel

I think Jack and Piers were the main options for Elliot and given the emphasis that he had put on music, I wasn’t surprised that he went with Piers’s cuff and look how happy he was with it!

and then Piers went on to win Jeweller of the Week and look how happy he was with it!

Jeweller of the Week, now with bonus Trans Rights.

but with Bonnie not managing to completely upset the leaderboard by having her ear cuff chosen, it did mean that she was the one going home this week

her presence will certainly be missed – she’s been so much fun to watch and she’s made some truly stunning pieces and if you want to see more of her stuff, you can follower her on Instagram at Trouled_Maker.

And so we enter the semi-finals

And if you’ve enjoyed this recap of All That Glitters and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi HERE.

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