Today I set my work up at Birmingham’s annual selling exhibition of contemporary jewellery and silverware. Centrepiece, now in it’s 15th year is a showcase for some of the best makers in the Jewellery Quarter and well worth a visit (though I say so myself …)
This year some new and guest designers have joined the show bringing in ideas about ethical gold, recycled work and some inventive use of new technologies. Here are a few of the highlights:
and a sneaky peak at what’s in my cabinet:
The show is open from Thursday 15th November until Sunday 23rd December from 10.30am – 8.30pm (or later) everyday and is staffed by the designers – so you just might be buying work straight from the hands that made it!
This year Centrepiece decided to celebrate our Christmas exhibition by getting everyone to make a Christmas decoration in their own special style. I’m really excited to see what so many talented makers have come up with – it’s going to be a really diverse bunch!
I spent today making mine, inspired by the holly tree in my garden which we always take clippings from at Christmas. This one is silver and pearl and really in keeping with my Flotsam range, here’s how it took shape:
The first visitors to the new studio came last week in the form of a reporter and photographer from Birmingham’s Mail and Post.
I’d bearly finished unpacking but I did manage to find some tea so that we could sit down for a bit of a chat about me and my work. It’s a little unnerving, talking to someone with an open notepad, but they were wonderfully informal and I actually quite enjoyed it. As an added bonus I somehow managed to get them to list me as 23 – taking a whole year off in an afternoon!
Not only did I get to work on some new ideas that have been kicking around my head for a while:
Pebble Brooch Experiment
but I finally got my first set of snowflakes finished and up for sale too. These have been a bit of a nightmare, porous castings meant that the resin that fills them seeped out as is was setting, causing quite a mess and a lot of extra cleaning up. I’m not sure what went wrong in the casting process (I need to go and consult with my caster) but tiny holes throughout the silver are never good. Fortunately the initial leakage seems to have plugged the holes in them and the second layer of resin went on just fine:
They look lovely now that they’re all clean again. I’m currently sporting a purple one and once I finish cleaning the rest I’ll get them up in the Folksy shop. The ones I have sanded and polished are in the 2010 Centrepiece Selling Exhibition which officially opened on Wednesday night too. It’s being hosted by Symphony Hall and features over 30 designer makers form in and around the Quarter. It’ll be open until the 23rd of December so if you;re heading into the city for the German Market it’s well worth stopping by us too!
Well, the first Centrepiece Open Studios went rather well I thought. There were quite a few sales over the course of the two days and all the designers had a good time getting involved. The Quarter was lovely and busy on what proved to be a gorgeous May Saturday, in part thanks to the 24 Carrots farmers market that really drew in the crowds.
The work of Katherine Campbell -Legg and Alice Gow
We had some super helpful volunteers, giving out maps and pointing the way to our maker’s studios. The Jewellery Quarter is notorious for being something of a warren but our fears about people missing our studios and wandering for hours seemed to be unfounded!
Customers at Anna De Ville and Michele White's Studio
I was surprised by just how many people were interested in watching jewellery being made. I forget that something which is my career is so alien to other people who might never have seen small scale manufacturing in action before. It was nice to talk people through the processed we used and give them an insight into what inspired the work they were looking at – and buying.
The Jewellers of Centrepiece are hosting a very exciting event in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter next weekend. Come along, check out our workshops and purchase something truly unique from the hands of the designer who made it!