What happens when talent isn’t enough? When, in spite of a life of work, you look around in the autumn of your life and discover that your world is not what you thought it would be. This is where we meet Trinidadian jeweller, Barbie Jardine.
Trained at England’s prestigious Royal College of Art, Jardine moved back to her native Trinidad in 1974 where she developed new techniques in working with traditional and indigenous materials, and evolved a personal narrative style for making wearable works of art. But 30 years on from returning to the Caribbean, and in spite of having her work purchased by a major metropolitan museum, there are nagging questions she just can’t shake: Why isn’t my work more recognised? Have I made a crucial mistake? She is resentful and angry. And she wants something more. An opportunity to create a new piece for an exhibition in Scotland presents itself and Barbie is both nervous and hopeful. Will this be the chance to finally carve out her own space in the world?
Filmed over three years, in Trinidad, England and Scotland, ‘The Solitary Alchemist’ is a moving and intimate portrait of a life in art.