We asked the designers in our MODERN LIFE exhibition what the concept means to them...


Jo Garner completed her Masters in Jewellery & Metalwork at The Royal College of Art in 2017. Her work looks at the badge as a way of belonging, to voice our opinions and beliefs, show support and as a form of individual expression.

The artist jeweller uses excerpts from government forms which capture our information to categorise and assess us, stress us and divide us as we fill them in in order to live our lives in today's society. By removing them from their context she is reclaiming our information giving them back to us, with an unknown "answer" for us to wear and own for ourselves.




Where did you learn the most?

I’m learning all the time whether in an art college or living with my 94 year old flatmate, there’s always something to pick up and take from any situation.


What are your New Year’s Revolutions?

You know I’ve always fancied myself as a revolutionary, leading the charge to create change. What I realise now though is that you don’t have to do much to achieve this. Small acts, tiny changes in the way you think are also revolutionary. In 2018 I will aim to eat less meat, be more patient and possibly even think about playing the long game. I’ve been thinking a lot about achieving my goals slower. I’ve always been very driven and done lots of things all at the same time, aiming to get to a certain point in life. I think I’ve decided now though that slower might even be better. That’s pretty revolutionary for me.

Jo went to protest marches during the E.U referendum whilst studying her MA

Jo went to protest marches during the E.U referendum whilst studying her MA


What music do you listen to whilst working?

Usually some random Spotify playlist or other. I have a playlist called Current Fave Tunes that I made about 3 years ago and haven't updated much. It has everything from TLC No Scrubs to Hall and Oates You Make My Dreams. I do have a lot of music by Scottish bands. Maybe it’s because they produce great music or maybe it’s also to feed some kind of home sickness in me.



How does your environment inspire you?

I’m very inspired by people and culture. The way we are as individuals and/or groups is fascinating to me and I probably spend too much time analysing behaviour (my own and other peoples).



An iconic figure in the crowd, this lady inspired some of Jo's work for her degree show. 

An iconic figure in the crowd, this lady inspired some of Jo's work for her degree show. 


How do the materials that you choose tell your story?

I really want the material qualities to work quite closely with and reflect the ideas behind the piece. There is often a sense of nostalgia to the way materials and process work together in my jewellery as I want the wearer to almost feel like this is something they have known before, that it is slightly familiar.


Are there any other materials that you would like to use?

More metal. I want to develop my metalwork techniques and I’m fascinated by using more machinery and industrial processes.


jo garner democracy5_1724.jpg


What is the best thing about Modern Life?

Being able to Google stuff

What is the worst thing about Modern Life?

Being able to Google stuff.




Enamel badges by Jo Garner

Enamel badges by Jo Garner


Modern Life is……?

Holding on For Tomorrow

You can see Jo's work before it heads to Talente in Germany at our current exhibition:




until 28th February