Build your own - Jo Topping

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London View Inspiration Details

Artist Statement

Jo Topping

From a very early age, I remember the large cardboard box filled with branded, lock-together building blocks. From them I created cityscapes, space ships, cars, creatures, words and a hazard to anybody walking around the house barefoot (notably my dad). I loved making thinks that you could play with, fiddle with and customise and I still do. I first visited the Museum of Childhood when I was 9 years old and was amazed to see things that I recognised, that I’d played with and wanted to play with. Returning recently, that sensation was still there, the gleeful appreciation of play and how that triggers imagination.
My jewellery always contains gizmos and playful components so it was completely logical to me to be inspired by building blocks to create a customisable piece. With the help of my niece (block supplier) I experimented with casting pieces (using pewter) - I cannot describe the joy when I found out they would actually interlock. Colour is brought in by flush setting kick-out green tsavorites to create a necklace that can be worn short or long, around the neck or wrapped around your wrist, where the blocks interlock to create its own clasp. Other blocks can be added to create your own piece, some with red garnets, others with beautiful violet iolites and blue sapphires. Everything I make is a one-off – everybody deserves to have something that is theirs and theirs alone and this is a piece that can be built your own way. Have fun your own necklace and play awhile.

Build your own - Jo Topping

©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Inspiration details:

LEGO System

Construction Toy

Denmark (manufactured) Germany (printed)

ca. 1969-1970 (manufactured)

Lego (manufacturer)

[construction toy] Injection moulded ABS [construction toy] Colour printed card

V&A collection reference number(s):
B.660:1 to 5-2010; B.659:1-3-2010; B.107:1, 2-2004

2015 Exhibition Guide

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