Spiral Stirrup Earrings - Rachael Macrae

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Rachael Macrae

I have always had a fascination for different forms of detailed pattern - from those found in nature, to traditional Indian designs, to art Nouveau architecture; all of which contain my most favored motif: the spiral.

Inspired by these patterns, I like to create contemporary jewellery pieces using precious metals, reflecting the depth of pattern through different techniques, incorporating open wire work, metal printing and etching.

I chose this piece because initially I was very attracted to the detailed pattern in the wrought ironwork and the beautiful shape of the stirrups. I love that they are not just lovely to look at, but they also have a purpose and every detail has been thought through, with the pierced side panels allowing for a light weight.

I started by adjusting the dimensions, and played with creating different patterns to fill the spaces. I wanted the piece of jewellery to carry the same ideas as the stirrups, but in a more dainty, elegant style, with different layers of silver to create an overall depth. I mostly kept to the same shape with the connecting twisted wire, then adding 4 different patterns, one for each panel, so that the earrings look slightly different from every angle. I made small hinges for the ear wire and then finished the piece off with petaled edges and a scratched surface, which gives it almost a glittering effect.

Spiral Stirrup Earrings - Rachael Macrae

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:

Pair of stirrups


Germany (made)

1500-1540 (made)

unknown (production)

Wrought iron

V&A collection reference number(s):

2015 Exhibition Guide

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