How or when my work is worn is not particularly important to me. The way in which others may organize it is an open-ended extension of its use. Such a possibility for varying personal choice is interesting precisely because it is out of my control.

Wendy Ramshaw

Wendy Ramshaw 1939–2018

Beginning with her colorful folded-paper jewelry of the 1960s, Wendy Ramshaw became a pioneer of bringing “self-assembly,” an idea which had caught-on in many areas of post-war design, to jewelry. Ramshaw created works that are made of parts and sections, “so that the owner can share in the way the piece is worn”.

Ramshaw was born in 1939 in Sunderland, United Kingdom and studied textile design and illustration at Newcastle-upon-Tyne College of Art and Industrial Design and went on to attend the University of Reading, where she met her future husband and collaborator, artist and musician David Watkins.

Much of Ramshaw's jewelry, as well as her many large-scale architectural commissions, use motifs relating to cosmology, the movement of objects in space and the challenge of finding elegant order in complexity. Her Orbit series features necklaces that, over the years, built up and then took away elements. Ramshaw’s ringsets, which she began creating in the early 1970s, have become the emblem of her ever-evolving output. She is also known for her 1980s series Picasso's Ladies, which were jewelry works inspired by the women featured in Picasso's paintings.

Ramshaw passed away in 2018. She was the recipient of the Designer Council Award for Innovation in 1972 and her works are held in such prestigious collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.

Auction Results Wendy Ramshaw