‘I’ve always been fascinated by the Romany link to India’

21 July 2021
Jewelled Vardo

The Travellers’ Times speaks to Gareth Lock, the creator of this amazing 1/16 scale model of a Vardo, laden with jewels, a video of which has gone viral on Facebook.

"I'm Romany on my dad’s side,” says Gareth Lock, "and I’ve always been fascinated by the Romany link to India and what that means. When I started to build the vardo I wanted it to look like an opulent ancient Maharaja styled wagon, covered in jewels and precious stones.”

Watch Gareth Lock's video of the jewelled vardo by following this link.

Gareth Lock

Gareth has actually lived in a real-life horse-drawn wagon. “I’ve lived in everything over the years, laughs Gareth. “Wagons, caravans, vans, garden sheds, you name it!”

“Art opens a conversation,” says Gareth. “The artwork becomes the focus of the conversation and breaks down barriers and opens a door for dialogue between people who normally wouldn’t speak to each other. I’ve really enjoyed talking to everyone who has got in touch about the vardo.”

Mike Doherty for TT News

(Video and stills © Gareth Lock)

Gareth Lock

The wagon was a lockdown project says Gareth, and it took over 300 hours of work to complete and festooned with over 3,200 beads, gems and buttons. Creating the vardo was a learning process for Gareth as well. “I normally work in wood or paint on canvas, but I did have some support from Don Golightly, a friend who is a jeweller,” says Gareth.

Gareth has had several offers to buy the vardo, but has turned them all down as it is reserved to go on show at a planned Friends, Families and Travellers art exhibition in September in Brighton. “I will decide what to do with it after that,” says Gareth. “I might just keep it.”