Growing up in 1970s Suffolk in a crumbling giant of a house with wild, tangled gardens, Alex Monroe was left to wreak havoc by invention. Without visible parental influence, but with sisters to love him and brothers to fight for him, he made nature into his world.
Creation became a compulsion, whether it was go-carts and guns, cross-bows and booby-traps, boats, bikes or scooters. And then, it was jewellery.
From full-out warfare waged against the local schoolboys to the freedom found in daredevil Raleigh bike antics to the delicacies of dress-making and the most intricate designs for jewellery, Two Turtle Doves traces the intimate journey of how an idea is transformed from a fleeting thought into an exquisite piece of jewellery. It is about where we find our creativity, how we remember and why we make the things we do.
“The origins of a piece of jewellery can be obscured even to its maker. I’ve made things for as long as I can remember, go-carts and necklaces, ammunition and earrings, bicycles and bracelets,” says Alex Monroe.
“But it’s taken me now to start to map the tributaries of ideas and memories, and the flow of people and emotions running between these different creations.”
Alex Monroe is a world-renowned jewellery maker, whose work is inspired by nature and the countryside. Alex trained at Sir John Cass Faculty of Arts in Whitechapel, and started making his own jewellery in the late 80s out of a small workshop in a picturesque, Victorian cobbled yard in South London. After much success over the years, his jewellery is still hand-made in that same studio.
Alex Monroe Jewellery is now an iconic and internationally successful brand, and is worn by a long list of celebrities including Emma Watson, Sienna Miller and Sophie Dahl.
“A tremendous book. A generous story of making, looking, travelling and growing up.” – Edmund de Waal
Two Turtle Doves – a Memoir of Making Things is published by Bloomsbury and is available from all leading book retailers. For more information about Alex Monroe, visit: www.alexmonroe.com for details.
Image: Two Turtles Doves book cover