I bought this brooch in 2018 at the new Designers Exhibition in London.  A wonderful showcase for new work in jewellery, textiles, ceramics and much more.  It is by young Scottish designer Claire Mclean  who comes from the small village of Kilbarchan, 15 miles from Glasgow.  Claire did a two-year jewellery course at the city of Glasgow college and then went to Dundee to study Jewellery & Metal design, graduating in 2018.

Claire Maclean

 Despite the size of the brooch, it is nearly six inches wide, it is relatively light.  The brooch is made from brass which has been powder coated with the blue dye, then an electric current is passed through the metal to allow the powder to adhere to the metal.  The next stage was to put the brooch in a small oven to cure.  This keeps the colour on the metal. The brooch is made up of many separate pieces which Claire solders together creating the finished brooch.

The inspiration for my brooch was the Great Court roof at the British Museum.  Claire explained “my whole degree show work was inspired by “looking up” – we are all too often looking at phones and not appreciating the architecture or scenery around us, for example, train station roofs.  The British museum roof in particular caught my eye – if you look long enough you start to see lots of different shapes with the steel overlapping. The colours I chose were to replicate the sky.”

The Great Court Roof from within the British Museum

(Photo: Nigel Young, Foster + Partners)

The Great Court with its magnificent glass roof structure designed by Foster + Partners, engineered by Buro Happold and built by Waagner-Biro was opened on 6 December 2000.  There are 3,312 individual panels of glass held together by four miles of steel, this is enough glass to glaze 500 domestic greenhouses. So that the roof can cope with changes in temperature it is attached to the perimeter walls with sliding bearings allowing it to expand or contract and not break. The Great Court is two acres and is the largest covered square in Europe.  It takes  two weeks to clean the whole roof.

The Great Court Roof at Night – with the skyline of London

I am looking forward to standing again under this magnificent glass roof and marvel at its incredible construction once the pandemic is over.  I will make sure I am wearing my Claire Mclean Turquoise sky brooch in celebration.