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 …

 

Cornwall

This summer I took my first trip to the Cornish seaside, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit but have never managed to – now that I have I think that it could now become a firm favourite of mine.

I spent a few days wandering around the local beaches, exploring the South Coast Path where it meandered by the campsite and generally soaking in the sound of the waves and the blue, blue sea. The landscape is certainly inspiring, at turns gentle then wild and I was so sad to come home!

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Polly Joke Beach, Cornwall

Of course I didn’t spend the whole week wandering along the coastline (though that wouldn’t have been a challenge) I did venture down to St Ives to take in the light and explore the twisting streets of the town. It offers up a whole host of independent galleries filled with the work of local and international makers and artists, many of whom have been influenced by the beautiful local landscape.

Spread across two floors in the centre of St Ives is the New Craftsman Gallery which is currently hosting work by, among others, Neil Davis and Cornelius Jakob Van Dop.

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Neil Davies, Indigo Skies over Sennen

Davies paints landscapes, with big, heavy brush strokes and expressive sweeps of colour that all build up on top of each other into some seriously captivating textures. Some of them are stormy, some a little serene as he reacts to the changes in the seasons around his home near St Ives.

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast

Neil Davies, Reflections on the North Coast

Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Neil Davies, Watching the Crashing Waves at Boat Cove

Tucked away in a cabinet downstairs was the work of Cornelius Jakob Van Dop, a jeweller and metalsmith with a clear love for texture, line and the natural world. His small, palm sized boxes are decorated with beautiful illustrations of the coastal landscape and wildlife. There was something in them that reminded me of sailors scimshaw carvings, filled with the details that had been keenly observed during a life looking at the sea.

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

They were beautifully made, with neat hinges and simple dimple locking mechanisms that functioned neatly and really let the quality of the illustrations come across. Alongside these were a collection of animal and insect brooches, I particularly liked the whale, simply made in plain silver with more of that glorious fine detailing:

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Box

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

Cornelius Jakob Van Dop Brooch

The Gallery is open all year round and details can be found here.

Desire – Kensington [March 2013]

I recently spent the weekend at Desire in London surrounded by a wonderful collection of jewellery and silverware from some of the finest makers in the country.  In the heart of Kensington the event has just moved into, hopefully, a new permanent home where it can grow and build up quite a following.

Natalie Harris:

Natalie Jane Harris

Besides the jewellery on show it was encouraging and inspiring to see so much silverware represented – British Silverweek brought a considerable amount of new talent with it to sit alongside more established makers like Andrew MacGowan and Esther Lord.

Collete Bishop:

Colette-Bishop

Showed a sumptuous little selection of her neat, smoothly curving vessels, off set by their jagged tops and beautifully tactile in form.

Fiona McAlear:

Fiona MacAlear

Brought this little vessel along – just look at the beautiful, intricate detailing on the lid:

Fiona MacAlear Lid

it makes what could be quite a heavy piece feel delicate – and makes a lovely feature of the hinge.

Kathryn Hinton:

Kathryn Hinton

 

and I had a quick chat with Kathrine Hinton who makes use of some wonderful new technologies (computer modelling, digital hammer blows and some very fine rapid prototyping) to produce tiny, detailed vessels and jewellery with surfaces that you just want to hold and explore:

Kathryn Hinton

Goldsmiths Fair 2012 [Week Two]

The end of Septmeber/beginning of October is marked indelibly in the industry calendar as ‘Goldsmiths Fair‘. Now in it’s 30th year the two week event sees some of the nations finest makers of jewellery and silverware gather in London to present new work to visitors in the splendid surroundings of Goldsmiths Hall.

Here’s who I loved this year:

Petya Kapralova :

maker of  sculptural pieces, tableware and desk accessories Kapralova is a new graduate with an eye for balance and beautiful simplicity. Some of her most striking pieces, made from silver and silver inlaid iron (I have no idea how you’d even start to inlay silver in iron, but hats off to her as she makes it sound effortless) play with your expectations and amuse themselves with their inlaid silver ‘reflections’.

Alex Ramsey:

I’ve admired Ramsey’s work for years but haven’t seen much of it in person before. This year, fresh from a trip to Iceland, she was presenting some new pieces that use her trademark saw pierced technique but employ smatterings of enamel too, creating some wonderful textures and sprays of colour over her silverware.

Sarah Pulvertaft:

Forms jewellery from many tiny components, aiming to capture the complexity of nature in her work. In delicate mixes of silver and gold the many tiny forms build up into a larger whole with a subtle, shimmering motion to them which does indeed make them feel like they have a life of their own.

Caddy Spoon

I make some long handled tea spoons that have been part of my stand for a while now and, at a recent show, I took a commission for a caddy spoon version.

A Caddy Spoon is not an item that I’ve made before but is somehing that I’ve wanted to try for a while. I had a little drawing of the customer’s tea caddy and a fair idea of what would suit – knowing that they already liked my tea spoons. So I set about cutting the bowl of the spoon and raising it up then trimming it to back to a shape that I liked.

I had a few issues with the size of the handle – my long handled tea spoons have 4mm round handles but that just looked way too light weight once it was cut to the right length for this short handled caddy spoon. So I took the dimensions up to around 5mm round and think that it balances much better now. It certainly feels nicer in your hand and I’m a lot happier with the design knowing that I changed the weight of the handle.

Here’s a few images of the work in progress …

and the finished spoon, ready to go for hallmarking:

Fit for Purpose – Contemporary British Silversmiths at the V&A

When I was in London for Jewellery Week I made some time to sneak down to one of my favourite parts of the city – the Victoria and Albert Museum. Over the summer it’s hosting a show for the Contemporary British Silversmith‘s Society entitled ‘Fit for Purpose‘.

At the back of the silver galleries is a delicious little case filled with contemporary silverware:

The show has an interesting concept given that, in the last century or so, the market for silver has changed so radically and the ‘purpose’ for which most silverware is now made has shifted. Gone are the days of large firms making household, utilitarian silverware and the market is now much more dominated by studio makers exploring the craft for private clients and small retailers.

The work on display is varied, from that clearly designed for a more traditional purpose – like Louise Mary‘s salad servers (utilitarian, but no less elegant for being so) to the intentionally conceptual pieces of Rajesh Gogna.

There’s also a beautiful piece of Kevin Grey‘s laser welded work, a stunning set of angular beakers from Mary Ann Simmons and a wonderful sculptural tray from Alex Ramsey, which bears her distinctive and delicate cut patterning spread across a form I’ve not seen before.

For a small case it’s a wonderful collection of work that’s well worth a visit – the show continues in the V&A silver galleries until the 16th of September 2012.

Silverware for 2012 #3

so, back at the bench today and fitting the base on this little beast proved rather a tricky manoeuvre. What works in card and sticky tape does not always work in metal and it needed a lot of shifting, filing and re-measuring to eventually get a neat fit.

With all the pieces lined up:

I bound it altogether, though I’m running out of the good, thick binding wire that I bought in uni so this is rather a Heath Robinson affair:

and the nice recessed base looks super:

I think I’m getting there with this piece, it’s a really cute size, so I’ll let it hang around the workshop for a day or so while I think about it, tweak it and draw etching patterns on it in sharpie!

Visit: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

I had a spare moment last week and snuck off to have a look at the silver collection at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.  The collection covers many centuries and each time I visit I seem to spot something that I hadn’t seen before.

How did I miss this?

Jewel Box by Alex Telford in silver 1974-5, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

I love the pebble shapes on the lid (it isn’t exactly clear how it opens …) which are beautifully, asymmetrically smooth and quite inspirational for the fly pressing I’m planning to do later this week. I would love to know exactly how it was made.

Detail of Jewel Box by Alex Telford in silver 1974-5 at Birmingham Museum and Art Galler

The only other example of Alex Telford work I’ve been able to find is in the V&A:

Coffee Pot, Sugar Bowl and Milk Jug, 1974 by Alex Telford at V&A

the gorgeous mix of silver and flawless enamel is here again – plus the bulbous, pebble-esque shapes in the handles of the vessels. I really like how clean and modern the enameled body is, it sits really well alongside those polished handles.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for his pieces in museums in the future …