Sunday, March 20, 2016

Permission to Play

Everyone in jewellery and silversmithing knows the name of Georg Jensen, the legendary Danish goldsmith and silversmith. At the School of Jewellery, we have an annual programme where a small number of their apprentices come to the School to study applied design and silversmithing techniques that they might not be able to study at Jensen. This week we had a short talk from the apprentices about the work they do when they are in Denmark:

Georg Jensen Apprentices - 1

The work that the apprentices make is breathtaking and it is a real honour that they come to Birmingham to learn even more!

Georg Jensen Apprentices - 3

My new Birmingham neighbour and colleague, Toni Mayner had a small preview show of some restrained and thoughtful work she is making in response to research she is doing at the Foundling Museum in London which is about the tokens which were given to the parents of children who had been given up to the hospital. A similar token was given to the child so that if the parents could ever afford to return and collect their child, they could prove it was the correct child. (You can read more about these upsetting tokens here.)

Small Histories - 1

"Small Histories" is the result. Toni has created modern tokens which record the lives of some of the unclaimed children from the hospital.

Small Histories - 2

Small Histories - 3

As one considers these pieces and deciphers the meanings of each, realising that these are documents of the lives of real people, the impact of the exhibition grows.

Back in London again on Tuesday for the awarding of the prizes in the British Art Medals Society annual student competition. As you all know, I've been quite obsessed with medals recently and had been encouraging the students to take part in the competition and I'm delighted to say that the first prize went to Stephanie Holt for her "Weight of the World" medal.

British Art Medal Society - Prize-Giving - 17

British Art Medal Society - Prize-Giving - 13

British Art Medal Society - Prize-Giving - 5

We travelled down by train and met up at the Greenwich Maritime Museum for a tour of the extensive collection of medals there.

British Art Medal Society - Prize-Giving - 2

British Art Medal Society - Prize-Giving - 4

I took the opportunity of squeezing in a visit to the Earl of Bedlam for a first fitting of my "Tedwardian" suit, 'Mr Fox', a wonderful hybrid which plunders the history of British tailoring, roping in the 'Hunting Pink', the 'Teddy Boy' drape, some traditional Edwardian cutting (from whence the original 'Teds' took their name), a Victorian workshop waistcoat and a large dash of Bedlam genius (just wait till you see the back).

Buttons by Agnieszka Maksymiuk.

I've been reading about the evolution of the Teddy Boy in the UK and hadn't previously realised that there were 'Teds' before there was Rock and Roll, going back as far as 1948, and also that they were a peculiarly British phenomenon.

This week also saw our polishing 'guru', Stephen Goldsmith in to speak to the HND Level 4 students and to give them a class in polishing.

Stephen M Goldsmith

More on this later...

FlockOMania2 - 1

Thursday night saw the opening of Zoe Robertson's crazy playground, FlockOMania2.

FlockOMania2 - 17

Permission to play?

The event had been preceded by a symposium on performative jewellery which I wish I had been able to attend but the evening was wonderful and I had a long chat to David Roberts, our head of faculty, caught up with some of my ACJ colleagues and spoke to some of the Flatpack Film Festival people as well as enjoying the works and the performance with the works.

FlockOMania2 - 10

Although the performance is choreographed, the audience can get involved and it was the children in the audience who not only led the way but also stole the show: permission granted!

FlockOMania2 - 24

FlockOMania2 - 20

FlockOMania2 - 21

FlockOMania2 - 23

FlockOMania2 - 19

FlockOMania2 - 14

FlockOMania2 - 13

FlockOMania2 - 25

Assessment submission week for the Level 4 students and we have some cracking submissions from them... lovely work in their "Multiple Production" module, which is about casting. Here are just a few:

HND Level 4 Casting Project - 1

HND Level 4 Casting Project - 5

HND Level 4 Casting Project - 7

Note how well-polished they all are after their class with Stephen Goldsmith!

My old friend, Scott, was down for the weekend and we went to see the new film of one of my favourite books, J.G. Ballard's "High Rise". It is a long, long time since I was so excited about a new film (I think that Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream" may have been the last, strangely also with a Clint Mansell soundtrack).

Do not miss this. It is NOT the film of Ballard's book. It is, however, a brilliant take on it and a damning critique of neo-Thatcherite London. There are some startling casting choices and the performances are uniformly superb. I'll say no more.