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:
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!
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!