Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Islands? Archipelagos?

This week kicked off with a flying visit by two wonderful jewellers from Chile, Nano Pulgar and Claudia Betencourt of WALKA Studios in Santiago.

I was introduced to them by Anastasia Young and as soon as I knew about them and their work, determined that they would have to come to the School of Jewellery to talk about their work. Fortunately, my colleague, Sian Hindle, runs an occasional lecture series, "Talking Practice" in which people connected with jewellery and jewellery-related arts talk to the students and she agreed that it would be excellent to have them come to talk as part of this series.

We rattled together a poster and hastily made all the travel arrangements and were so pleased to have done so.

WALKA Studio Talk - 3

The work that Nano and Claudia make is poetic, political and moving.

I spent the evening on Monday reading up on Chilean history, only to be reminded of the shameful situation when Margaret Thatcher sheltered Pinochet from extradition to Spain, where he was wanted for trial for war crimes. Another dark moment in British history.

It was "Spring Fair" time in Birmingham and that meant that loads of people I know were in town. I took the opportunity to meet up with my friend and photographer, Andrew Neilson - if you follow this blog, you know his amazing work photographing my jewellery - who had taken a stand at the NEC. We went out for dinner and a cold, clear night gave me the chance to take some photographs of the new New Street Station Building.

Grand Central/New Street Station - 1

Grand Central/New Street Station - 1

Grand Central/New Street Station - 4 - Abstract

We've been somewhat spoiled this week at the school by having TWO "Talking Practice" lectures - first was WALKA, detailed above, the second was Michelle Jessop who is researching methods of displaying jewellery and who - as all good researchers should - left me asking more questions than she had answered.

Michelle Jessop - 2

The annual ACJ show is looming again and this year there is no theme and it is a selling show. I've been racking my brains to think on what to make for it "a collection of 6 - 10 pieces" is a tall order, especially as I have two other exhibitions looming at the end of the year, so I decided to get started. Digging through my bag of scrap metal, I found a broken Weisslock connector, which I set about repairing...

Seven Macho Bracelets: 1 - Weisslock Repair - WIP - 1

And so was born my new series, "Seven Macho Bracelets", a take on the 1970s "ID Bracelet" of which I am sure we have all melted and scrapped dozens!

Seven Macho Bracelets: 1 Weisslock Repair - WIP - 3

The students all finished their medals for the British Art Medal Society's annual student medal competition and I am really proud of their achievements. Here are a couple of them and clicking them will take you to Flickr where you can see them all:

British Art Medal Society - Student Competition Entries - 7 - Mahroz Mirzahekmati

British Art Medal Society - Student Competition Entries - 17 - Agnieszka Maksymiuk

British Art Medal Society - Student Competition Entries - 18 - Stephanie Holt

Friday saw the "Jewellery and More" symposium for the BA Students. A collective of previous students, known as the Continued Collective, gave talks and brought along their pre- and post-School work. I was teaching and couldn't make it to the talks, but the exhibition was great.

Continuing Collective Symposium - 1 - Exhibition

Continuing Collective Symposium - 11 - Peter William Clark

Continuing Collective Symposium - 12 - Peter William Clark

Continuing Collective Symposium - 15 - Francisca Onumah

The reason for the late posting of last week's news is that I've been busy getting ready to move into my new house in Birmingham. It may be a sparse post next week!

Sunday, February 07, 2016

A Quick But Packed Post!

I've genuinely been run off my feet for the last couple of weeks, what with the change in modules for the students, my usual commitments as well as getting the new house ready to move into, so this is just going to be a super-fast resume of what happened this week...

First up was the last of the four "speed projects" for the BA Jewellery and Related Products at work. This week they were looking at 'Speculative Futures' and imagining the type of technology they would like to see in the future. Because this was a speculative project, it felt a bit less confident than the others but there were still some marvellous outcomes.

Speculative Futures - 2 - Maria Walmsley

Speculative Futures - 3 - Junzi Yang

Speculative Futures - 8 - Denan Tucker-Richardson

Yesterday, I was in London for an ACJ board meeting and took the opportunity to catch the "Bejewelled Treasures" show at the V&A before going.

Bejewelled Treasures

This is a rather wonderful show which highlights the interchange of styles and technologies which have happened between Indian and European jewellery over the last few hundred years. From the point of view of a maker, the use of table-cut diamonds and foiling is very interesting and it is worth waiting to see the films about the contemporary production of jewellery in India. There are a few of them online here:

Met up with Jo Garner before the meeting to have a look at the work she has been developing as part of her MA course at the Royal College. She's been looking at tools, quite literally and has produced these rather lovely objects:

Jo Garner - 1

Jo Garner - 2

After the meeting, it was off to meet with Mark and Caroline at the Earl of Bedlam to commission another suit, drink tea and eat delicious biscuits. Always a pleasure.

I shall say no more than "Tedwardian" and that this is NOT the jacket I am getting...

Earl of Bedlam Jacket