Skip to main content
Jewellery & Metal (MA)

Treeney Harkin

Treeney Harkin is a female-focused designer from the Isle of Man, designing for wellbeing and female power. Her practice explores matrilineal histories, ancient mythologies and healing rituals. With a soft focus on female health, she aims to reconnect us to the earth, utilising the power of holistic remedies and natural processes. Through the illustration of feminist theory, she explores the dark history of our misogynistic culture that, through religious and state control, led to the classification of women as second-class citizens.

Treeney was awarded the Burberry Design Scholarship to attend the Royal College of Art. Prior to this she gained a First Class honours degree in Textiles and Surface Design before going on to work within the highly dynamic London fashion industry with brands at the forefront of the creative scene such as MARIEYAT, Marques’ Almeida and Burberry. She is currently the Deputy Editor of Anyone Girl Journal and a member of Artemisia, an artists' collective whose practices intersect healing, ritual and embodied feminine knowledge. She previously ran her own female-led exhibition, ‘His Gaze Owns Her’, to support other female artists.

Education

MA Jewellery and Metal, Royal College of Art

First Class Honours Textiles and Surface Design, BNU University

Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Leeds College of Art

Exhibitions

‘Printed Matter’, Bookartbookshop, London

JAM FACTORY WIP Show, Royal College of Art, London

‘His Gaze Owns Her’, The Taproom, London

Awards

Royal College of Art Burberry Design Scholarship

Fashion Crossover London Graduate Talent Programme

Slanaghey hig voish y thalloo / healing will come from the earth 

Historically, women were recognised healers and wise women, with vast herbal knowledge passed down from mother to daughter. Due to the demonisation of women by the Church and State, this once treasured oral knowledge and female inheritance has been lost in time. In modern society, progressions in medicine and science have created a new world, yet our approach and understanding of women’s health continues to be marginalised and under-studied. In particular, reproductive issues continue to be highly stigmatised with limited treatment options for women. To counter this culture, Treeney envisioned a collection capable of communal and holistic healing, offering a return to our traditional co-existence with nature’s resources, re-connecting us to our ancient foremothers. Walking the line between ritual, mythology and science she rebirthed women's lost histories, returning to the earth around her and her Celtic roots. She foraged for seasonal remedies from local plants, imbued silks with healing essences and cast metals into the ancient memory of her native trees. Using scientific research, data collected directly from women and consultations with professional healers, she has designed jewellery and vessels that actively contribute to women’s health, utilising holistic healing benefits that work in rhythm with women’s lives. A collection to simplify cyclical treatments, reduce painful symptoms and create soothing moments through meditative healing rituals.


Recipe:

Antispasmodic oils are poured into tactile glass vessels to be massaged into the abdomen, reducing cramps and feelings of tension - let your fingers choose the indentations and movements. Follow the drawings that cover the bodies of the women as they work, a shared history visualised on the battlefield of the female form. Charms, created from Eve’s apple to the fallen angels of the female surrealists, can be tied in your hair when feelings of premenstrual anxiety occur. Let them negate the harmful actions of your hands. A box, born from the Celtic rituals of the river, dressed in the language of women, holds a remedy for your pain. Herbal remedies are held in cyclical vessels that personify the emotions of our menstrual seasons, guiding you through the medicinal process. Natural silks are dyed and soaked in herbs, nettles and iron ore from the earth; with a loved one, wrap them round your stomach and breasts; dandelion will soothe the swelling. Hold these soft loops of silk around the body with copper rings and buckles, bio-patinated with natural materials. Adorn the knotted fabric with pins cast in the bark of Celtic trees, imprinted with the ancient memory of the wood. Watch over time for the effect of your touch. Unlike human creations, the natural world is constantly changing, growing, evolving and dying – briefly existing before making room for new life. Neither this metalwork or the fabric will last forever, these pieces will change as they are used, evolving with the wearer as the body bleeds, sweats, and changes with them.

Together let us rebirth the lost histories of matrilineal knowledge and the rich traditions of communal healing which once connected and supported women.

A tactile glass design that contains essential oils which can be worn and massaged across the abdomen and back to ease period pains – a direct infusion to the muscles. Treeney tested the sizing of women’s hands, creating an appropriate tactile glass bubble with indentations to suggest grips and movements for massage, scientifically proven to boost the immune system and overall health.

Stoppered with wood and lavender, a nod to the ingredients inside, these bubbles of sandblasted glass have inserted glass balls which allow for a small release of herbal oil. The front and back set are curved in opposite ways, forming towards the stomach and back, hanging across the areas of pain to naturally sway across the body or be massaged into the skin.


Medium:

Glass, wood and lavendar

Historically, a poultice was used to heal wounds by wrapping the injury in a chosen herb. To create her own menstrual healing wraps Treeney researched and selected antispasmodic herbs that help ease cramps and swelling. She hand-dyed natural silks in these plants alongside hematite and rusted barbed wire, salvaged from her neighbours’ farm, reflecting the iron ore of the earth.

To support and connect these wraps across the body she experimented with copper buckles, patinated with heat to rich reds and pinks. Pins were cast into the bark of her native trees, keeping the original texture and colour of the cast, as if absorbing the ancient memory of the wood. Finally, they were stamped in her visual language and used to adorn the gentle knots of the silk as they tied around the body.


Medium:

Natural silk, antispasmodic dyes, iron and hematite

Menstrual cramps are the most common symptom women report during their periods; however, besides over-the-counter painkillers, there are limited treatment options. My research showed that heat therapy is one of the most effective treatments for relieving abdominal cramps. Celtic mythology revealed an intricate ritual surrounding heat treatment. Women were to select a stone, cover it in meaningful symbols and then, during their period, leave it in the sun to heat before placing it on their stomachs. Treeney’s design aimed to incorporate both the mythology and the science - creating a pebble-shaped box, etched with the language of women, that opens to reveal a herbal heat pad. Filled with buckwheat, comfrey and lavender this pillow can be heated to soothe abdominal cramps.


Medium:

Copper, rope, sea glass and laser etched stones

Pre-menstrual syndrome causes symptoms of anxiety, stress, and low mood to occur in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Common symptoms often include women scratching their skin and pulling their hair. Treeney designed and cast anxiety charms to be tied into the hair to negate this anxious tension and re-direct stress related behaviours away from the body. Taking the physical form of her visual language, these pieces are bio-patinated with eggs to an iridescent blue and black. 


Medium:

Bio patinated silver, hand dyed silk ribbons, silver and copper alloy buttons cast into trees

The female menstrual cycle can be broken down into four seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. Through these seasons, women experience highs and lows that can often go unrecognised as menstrual symptoms. Treeney designed four vessels around the yoga movements, remedies and moods of each season. Cast in environmentally friendly jesmonite and mixed with seeds, roses and bath salts, these vessels help visually identify the stages of the cycle and supply the appropriate hormone balancing remedies.


Medium:

Jesmonite, roses, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and epsom bath salts

A soothing movie image shot on 16mm film following two girls, Jesse and Rieko, as they complete ancient healing rituals and use herbal remedies to bring the collection to life.

Burberry Design Scholarship