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Jewellery & Metal (MA)

CLAW - Caroline LA Wheeler

Solid necklace made of recycled shopping basket. Steel handle, reshaped with red plastic cover with hooks a front feature.
Handling Life
Necklace made of the caged grid of a recycled shopping basket hanging flat against torso as a chest plate. Solid gold wire chain
Cuff bracelet made of the caged grid of a recycled steel shopping basket.
Solid drop earring made of the caged grid of a recycled steel shopping basket. Vertical centre and 5 shorter horizontal lines.
Large hoop earrings made of the caged grid of a recycled steel shopping basket. Vertical centre and 7 shorter horizontal lines.

Galvanised Crisis: What's the matter?

Grocery shopping is a luxury - wear it.

Responding to the Cost of Living Crisis and "fall in 'real' disposable incomes" (1), 'Galvanised Crisis' engages circular economy principles reusing the steel and caged wire form of discarded shopping baskets.

In February 2023, CLAW performed at the Current Obsession Hub of Munich Jewellery Week. 'What’s the matter?'  questioned perceptions and values towards natural raw, human made and domestic materials. Considering what we embody and wear physically as adornment, this performance also referenced the mental strains occurring during the cost of living crisis. Formed as a series of scenes, the audience were included in the performance when aluminium cans were distributed. A continuum of live conceptual jewellery making acts took place while information in the form of fact ‘nuggets’ were narrated via zoom and questions posed to the audience. In the final scene, CLAW threw away a gold chain worn around her neck and created a replacement ketchup necklace, a reference to the price rise of basis goods and how ketchup's material value outstripped the economic value growth of gold over the same period.

Once an accessory of shopping and consumption, the value of affordance its contents held is now recognised in the materiality of the basket itself, as jewellery it questions what we value, appreciate and accept.

(1.) Institute for Government


Head shot with paper chain necklace made from the torn pages of the illegal migration bill.

I'm not a performance artist, but...

‘I’m not a performance artist, but…’ was performed live at the RCA Gorvey Lecture Theatre on the 12th April, 2023

The performance included the live create of a paper chain necklace made by ripping a paper copy of the Illegal Migration Bill. A silent black and white film (created by the artist) played on the large screen in centre stage. As the film ended a spoken piece was delivered referencing CLAW practice in addition to a verse created from extracted text of the Illegal Migration Bill. Works generated do so with peaceful intent.

Male wearing a silk scarf.
scarf and pocket square
badges and oyster shells
silver bangles

Whose Native Anyway

In creation matter and materiality collide - migration, displacement and environment are observed in parallel to notions of spatial structure, passage of time, language, ecology and perceived value.

"It's a wery remarkable circumctance, Sir, that poverty and oysters always seem to go together" Charles Dickens

Whose Celebrating?
Fried + Foiled

Domestic Chains - Necklace or Noose?

With ambiguity between movement and freedom, necklaces can be removed from the neck, but in life, detachment isn't that simple.... the act of struggle for many continues.

Domestic Chains engages with the counter balance of strength, fragility and power within the home. Usually hidden from public view, domestic pressures are presented in a series of over-sized statement necklace nooses. Struggles are no longer hidden, instead they are dragged out of the house into the public sphere.

'Whose Celebrating?' - Birthday parties, are they a celebration or stress? Inflated with social pressure to show, please and buy love? Birthday balloons are displaced from their role as objects representing a joyous marker in time. Time may pass but inequalities still exist. Gold in appearance and formed into links of a giant chain their foil materiality doesn't hold the same weight materially or in value. When worn they don't conform, the large scale links hinder and get in the way.

'Fried + Foiled' - Aluminium, the metal of domesticity. Foil maybe lightweight, but the soaring costs of feeding a family are an ongoing challenge.

'Scrubber' - It looks nice, until it looks dirty. Cleaning and caring for others can be tiresome and abrasive to ones soul, spirit and independence.

'All Wrapped Up' - We wrap ourselves and our children in woollen blankets, jumpers and bobble hats, a shield of comfort from colder, harsher conditions... 'All Wrapped Up' speaks of the weight that this parental relationship can have, the largest pom pom weighing the equivalent to a female heart.

Walking WitnessAcross RCA Project: Climate Theme As a collective, we individually had been drawn to the focus area of Climate Crisis from a viewpoint of extended observation to climate impact and change. Just as Climate Crisis is a global problem, these observations had taken place across the globe. Walking Witness, a zine filled with inspiring, environment and ecology centred reflective walks that can take place anywhere globally, at anytime and also from with your own home. CLAW [Co-creator, author and photography]
book pages
book pages

CLAW – Caroline LA Wheeler is a creator, educator, warrior and nomad.

Born in the UK, she is second-generation refugee on her mother’s side. Curiosity to explore the world has led to calling four continents her home.

Selling her paintings while obtaining a BA in Cultural Studies and Media Communications, CLAW embarked on a corporate career in Learning and Organisation Development, running her own global consultancy practice.

Choosing to pivot to a full time creative path she studied jewellery design and manufacturing at Holts Academy studying further at Central Saint Martin’s, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Oxford University and at the Royal Drawing School in London. She has an MA in Art and Material History from City and Guilds of London Art School. Earlier studies in psychology and neurolinguistics all contribute to her subject matter engagement and the associated dialogue of her work.

Her work is exhibited internationally.

Basket-case canned

As an Artist / Jeweller I see my interdisciplinary practice as a vessel of communication, evoking discussion, dialogue and mindful reflection on societal idiosyncrasies and matters of posthuman concern. 

My narrative responses take form as objects, performance, film and text. A process-led, philosophically driven methodology questions and challenges state change, the juxtaposition between strength and fragility, societal constructs and their resulting conditions. Themes of migration, displacement, journey and environment are observed in parallel to notions of spatial structure, passage of time, language, ecology and perceived value.  

The work in this exhibition bears witness to present-day states of galvanised crisis and unadorable circumstance, happenings that are worn and carried, even when we aren’t aware of their embodiment. From the cost-of-living crisis and subsequent rise in price of household goods to the language and diktat of the contentious Illegal Migration Bill.

With a meandering fluidity of associated and dissociated states, these matters are presented with outward yet peaceful address. Unadornability is born.