The Standard Works – Jewellery Quarter

13 Standard Works Jewellery Quarter 2014 Becca Williams sm

Built in 1879 the old Standard Works building dominates a large stretch of Vittoria Street, on the far edge of the Quarter, and has long been one of my favourite buildings in the area. Disappointingly derelict for the best part of two decades it has thus far avoided all attempts to turn it into residential property, or to resurrect it for industrial use – until it was finally sold, just a few weeks ago, to the Ruskin Mill Trust, a further education organisation for young people with learning and emotional difficulties.

With plans to build specialist teaching rooms, a theatrical space and even it’s own artisan bakery the team behind the conversion of the space are ambitious – with an eye to fit the project into the community and recall some of the buildings’ past with the inclusion of jewellery education workshops in the scheme.

So, last weekend, the people behind the project allowed a bunch of curious locals with cameras into the building to get a sense of what the project is about and have a tour of this remarkable building. Here’s what I saw:

Workshop Renovations, pt 2

Workshop renovations are coming on apace, with the last coat of paint due to go on the walls tomorrow I’ve roped in some wonderful helpers to build benches, put up an awful lot of scavenged worktop and generally aid in making the place ship shape. And all I had to do was feed them.

Seriously though, I couldn’t have done this without the generous help that I’ve received along the way so far – and can’t wait to move in to the finished space.


Workshop Renovations – pt1

It’s been clear for a while now that I’ve needed a bigger workshop, I’ve got to a point where I need to invest in larger machinery, where I’d like to be able to stretch out, make bigger work and be able to have more space to plan designs as well as ‘just’ making things. I’ve got ideas of teach a little too and for that I will definitely require more space.

So, after a few dreary January afternoons combing the ‘to let’ adverts in and around the Jewellery Quarter I finally found somewhere that just felt right the instant that I walked through the door.

Typically, it was last on a long list of properties to see, it was cold, dreary and may even have been raining outside. But, inside, there was light, and space and okay, it’s in the attic of a rickety old building but hey, I’ve always thought that it’s the haphazard structures that give the Jewellery Quarter a lot of its charm. 

And now, after quite a lot of official procedures (and filling in reams of forms) I have the keys and am starting to strip things back, ready to paint and to build:


Stacks of Flotsam Rings …

Becca Williams stacking rings in progress

I spent some time this week working on an idea for a new design of stacking rings, to compliment my Flotsam range, with hammered textures and a couple of different shades of freshwater pearls:

They’ll be winging there way out to my galleries soon …

Etched Estuary Napkin Rings

Becca Williams Etched Silver Estuary Napkin Rings

These are my lovely new etched napkin rings, just back from the photographers. They’re the first round pair of napkin rings that I’ve done and, while the etch was a little challenging (especially on the inside of one!) I think that they’ve come out wonderfully.

Have a look at the making images here:

Rocking Tidal Napkin Rings

I took these new neat little napkin rings to the Desire Fair in London earlier this month:

ring2-copy edit

… and they went down rather well with visitors. Here’s the final few shots of them being put together, from  a tightly wired up soldering to a soft matt polishing:

Ideas for new work …

A secluded January in the studio has given me time to think about some new ideas and where I want to start taking my work in 2014. I’ve been busy already, starting to etch on a larger scale (more of that later) and beginning to work on some new pieces of silverware for my exhibition stand.

Here’s a sneaky peak at some rocking Tidal napkin rings, works in progress:

Tidal Napkin Rings

which have just gone off for hallmarking …