The Chandelier of Lost Earrings nominated for the Best Art Project in Britain

Posted on 8 July 2014

The Chandelier of Lost Earrings, created by CG Associate member artists Lauren Sagar and Sharon Campbell has been nominated for the prestigious National Lottery Award as the Best Art Project in Britain.

Standing at 2.5m tall and made of 3,500 donated single earrings, The Chandelier of Lost Earrings, has been selected from more than 750 entries across the country to go into a public vote to decide the winners of the National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the UK’s favourite lottery-funded projects.

The project is now up against six others from across the country, and is the only one from Manchester.

The public can vote online for their favorite project until midnight on Wednesday 23 July at

Lauren and Sharon will attend a glittering awards ceremony in London hosted by John Barrowman that will be featured on BBC One. They will not only have an opportunity to rub their shoulders with sports, music and TV stars, but will also bag themselves a £2,000 cash prize and an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.

The sculpture has had highly successful exhibitions at Castlefield Gallery’s, New Art Spaces Federation House, and Burnley’s Towneley Hall, and is planning a tour of the UK from the Autumn.

“We were delighted to be able to host Sagar and Campbell in CG’s, New Art Spaces Federation House, and to include their The Chandelier of Lost Earrings as part of the official launch Federation House earlier this year.” Said Castlefield Gallery Director, Kwong Lee “It’s been wonderful to get to know better the work of Sagar and Campbell, both members of our CG Associates scheme, through mentoring sessions and group events – the whole team Castlefield Gallery is hugely proud of them getting through to the final of the National Lottery Awards and we’re behind them to win!”

Towneley Hall curator, Rebecca Hill, said “It has been brilliant hosting the chandelier at Towneley Hall. I was very aware that it had been well-received in its previous venues, but even with that in mind I have been surprised but just how popular it has been during its time here. A fair number of people I’ve spoken to have said that they’ve made the trip to Towneley especially to see it, some of them for the first time.”

 “We’re delighted to have reached the finals of the National Lottery Awards.” Said Lauren Sagar and Sharon Campbell “Lottery money has really helped us to create, as custodians, a beautiful and enduring tribute to the extraordinary contributions made by innumerable people; their treasures, time and support.”

The Chandelier of Lost Earrings initially came about through a collaboration with staff at St Mary’s Maternity Unit (at Central Manchester University Hospitals), where staff were asked to donate lone earrings, which had formally been a pair, and which had some emotional resonance or significance for the wearer.

A successful press and social media campaign followed, gathering in many thousands of earrings over 12 months. The act of individuals contributing something of personal value, towards a communal project to form something new, found strong resonance amongst hundreds of people (in the main women) locally, nationally and internationally. Sagar and Campbell engaged with people in a number of other ways: a series of partnerships were formed with artists, organisations and businesses donating materials, individuals offering financial support and the artwork itself was made with practical help from a several volunteers, during a residency at Lime (the arts and health programme based at Central Manchester University Hospitals).

Earrings were gifted to the project alongside a few written words about the personal significance of the earrings. The sculpture itself comes to represent many individual stories woven together into one object heavy with meaning and significance for those who took part. It drips with glittering jewels, delicate threads of fine chain cascade down the curvaceous structure and close-up the individual earrings form a detailed textured surface made out of the myriad of small forms in every colour.

Jewellery is ultimately deeply personal: earrings are often gifts to the wearer, they are chosen to adorn and make beautiful. Sagar and Campbell have transcended the individual and personal by integrating the individuality of these special objects and the personal stories attached to them, by synthesising the component parts into an evocative sculptural work that stands alone and speaks of human emotion, memory, loss, beauty and love.