Maria Gower took up the challenge of a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing at The School of Art, Architecture and Design, London Metropolitan University in 2015; a new creative direction after running a business producing floral ornaments from a soft synthetic clay for almost 40 years. Working with the unfamiliar medium of metal was testing. Maria initially thought it a harsh, unyielding material, working with it was both difficult and exciting. Discovering its pliable side was a revelation and since graduating she has been exploring techniques for melding and shaping metals, not unlike the clay she worked with for so many years.
Maria’s work considers our sense and organ of smell. She is engaged in research into its historical relevance, as well as its current potential in health and wellbeing. Her perfume pods are an echo of the long line of objects created as ritual or cultural vessels for aromatic elements which have accompanied humankind throughout history.
Maria’s collection Scented Metals focuses on the historically ill-regarded sense of smell and how the nose holds the key to many creative outcomes, even in our highly visual world. Shakespeare’s fifth sonnet describes scent as ‘a prisoner in the walls of a vessel’. This collection looks to define the shapes of that prison; the shape of scent. Maria attributes the abstract qualities of scent form, through traditional silversmithing processes, and invites the recipient to experience the world more vibrantly, with all their senses.
Her work in silver and other metals is tactile, like a pebble picked up on a beach and hidden in the pocket. It asks the wearer to reconsider the position and power of scent in everyday life. The silver pods, when worn, can be a source of curiosity and comfort. The fluid and mutable structure of the perfume bottles evokes the energy and dynamic chemistry of scent. Through these works, Maria aims to inspire a deep dive into an olfactory world – encourage the wearer to explore the emotions scents can elicit, and the needs they can fulfil.