Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dundee, Brighton and Best of Britannia 2015

So, as per my summer norms, I am in Brighton again for the summer season, reminding me of the quote from "Prick Up Your Ears", 'When you say he's on the Coast, dear, do you mean he's in Brighton?'...
I arrived on Friday immediately after seeing my graduates officially graduate at the Dundee University graduation ceremony in Caird Hall. Here are Inness and Anne getting additional honours from Desperate Dan:

DJCAD - BDes. (Hons) Jewellery Graduation - 17

The actual ceremony was very good, with excellent speakers, which makes a change for these sorts of events.

DJCAD - BDes. (Hons) Jewellery Graduation - 14

The workshops were packed up on Thursday, which I always find a melancholy process. I finished the last piece on the bench, a bracelet made from old keys, silver, sapphire, ruby, garnet and tourmaline.

The Navy-blue Ghost Of Mr Belaker - 3

The Navy-blue Ghost Of Mr Belaker - 1

On Saturday it was up to London for the "Best of Britannia", an exhibition of makers who make work entirely in the UK. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but I knew that several of my own favourite makers were going to be there, Susannah Hall and Cravat Club.

Best of Britannia - 9

Best of Britannia - 6

I hadn't really expected this to be a networking event, but it turned out to be exactly that and I got to meet with some very interesting and exciting people. The first person I spoke to was Denise of deni-deni leather, maker of top-quality leather goods:

Best of Britannia - 1

I loved Denise's confidence that she would be able to tackle any project in leather and discussed with her customised leather jewellery bags and a couple of wallets. The next most exiting discovery I made was that there is still a company in the UK which is making watches by hand, movements and all. I've been pretty disappointed to discover that a lot of the "British" watchmakers are buying in movements from abroad - China, Switzerland - and fitting these to British-made cases, so it was a pleasure to meet the people at Garrick Watches who not only make everything by hand but will also make movements to order...

Best of Britannia - 3

I rather wish that I had known about them before I had started on my recent "Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat" watch and chain as I would definitely have worked with them rather than use the off-the-shelf movement I used.

My favourite object in the whole show was this chair:

Best of Britannia - 5

Made from bicycle tubing and Brooks' saddle leather, the Randonneur chair by Two Makers is incredibly comfortable and although admittedly rather costly, the makers are working on ways of bringing the price down. I may be tempted!

There were a number of jewellers there and I had a long chat to Andrew English about his work, as well as all manner of other things, including politics, economics and philosophy:

Best of Britannia - 7

Best of Britannia - 8

All of these "Mobius" pieces are hand-carved from wax and then cast and he has been working for a while on the multi-coloured matt finish which is reminiscent of the colour-fades in some of Niessing's work.

I also had a long chat to Karl, jeweller and owner of the newish gallery, "London Rocks Jewellery":

Best of Britannia - 10

I have high hopes of this gallery being a possible outlet for the work of some of my graduates.

Holiday at last!