Sunday, May 29, 2016


This week has been taken up with the tough paperwork exercises of re-writing the whole curriculum at the School of Jewellery to make it more dynamic and flexible. We've taken the opportunity to make the whole thing more craft-based, which is exciting. Needless to say, we've been working on this for weeks but the submission date is next week, so that is why it was so fraught. In between all that, it has been business as usual, however.

Finished the pendant for Rachael Colley:

Just 'Cos - 3

And have been working on the pieces for the ACJ show, "Choice!" which is touring the country later in the year, "Seven Macho Bracelets", which are my take on those ubiquitous and much-derided 1970s ID bracelets of the sort that hirsute lotharios might have worn:

Seven Macho Bracelets - WIP - 3

I have a strange feeling that my 'Gothic' phase might be coming to an end and I'm moving more into a process- and material-driven way of working, being led by the material. I've been viewing my recent chain-making works as "improvisations", where I start with an element and move outwards, responding dynamically to the elements which have gone before. I've been working with these bracelets in this way. As with all improvised artworks, I have a set of self-imposed rules to contain the improvisation: these, for example, will all have toggle-clasps which have gems set in them and will have no gemstones elsewhere.

Seven Macho Bracelets - WIP - 5

The excitement this week has mainly been the setting up of the graduate shows and seeing the works that the students have been completing for these shows.

Graduate Show 2016 - Set Up - 2

This is the laying-out of all the work for the BA Jewellery and Related Products final assessment. I'll be more dealing with the work being produced by my HND students and the BA Design for Industry Students:

Pocket Knives - Kate Hadden - 2
Pocket knife by Kate Hadden in Brass, Iron and Damascus Steel; elements water-cut, hand-fabricated and hand-polished.

Ship Tea-Infuser - Emily Frearson - 1
SIlver tea-infuser by Emily Frearson, partially-finished. Designed in CAD, partially 3D printed and cast, hand-fabricated.

Cocktails - Aaron Cumbers
Brass and wood bar-set and Cocktail Shaker by Aaron Cumbers; designed in CAD, partially manufactured digitally, hand-fabricated and finished. The shaker was hand-spun around a CAD-modelled form.
I'm so excited about seeing the shows finally up!

The other big excitement this week was exploring the strongroom in the School of Jewellery. When I arrived at the school, my colleague Toni Mayner gave me a box of teaching samples:

Metal Forms

Which led me to consider ways of making these accessible to the students in a more general way, so contacted the University archivists with a view to having things photographed and digitised; we had a few samples made and things were moving along... then one of the Readers, Ann-Marie Carey, contacted me and said that she had been interested in properly archiving some of the other collections within the school, including the basement strongroom. On Wednesday, Ann-Marie and I, with a proper archivist, Marion, and various interested others, including Frank Cooper, opened the strongroom to have a look at the scale of the job facing us.
I was particularly interested in finding a trunk of 19th Century French medals which Norman Cherry had told me about with a view to having some sort of an exhibition at the next medals symposium in 2017. We didn't find those, but we found a lot of other medals - not that the French medals aren't there, but Marion, the archivist, was understandably uncomfortable with us opening any more than just a few packages until we had a proper conservation plan in place.

School Of Jewellery Archives - 1 - Sir Whitworth Wallace Medals

School Of Jewellery Archives - 4 - Centenary Medal
Medal commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the School of Jewellery, by Robert Campbell-Legg. Silver, acrylic, titanium.
Rather excitingly, we also found the die and force for this medal:

School Of Jewellery Archives - 8 - Centenary Medal

By complete chance, an ex-lecturer from the school, the amazing Les Curtis, just happened to be about to give us a bit of background to the medals and we began the oral history:

School Of Jewellery Archives - 2

We also uncovered some work by one Phil Craze:

School Of Jewellery Archives - 10

About whom I can find no information. We also uncovered a phenomenal silver and silver-gilt chess set by Michael Lloyd. As a fan of modernism, I love this set and can't wait to see them cleaned up and on display somewhere in the school. Ann-Marie was equally enthralled...

School Of Jewellery Archives - 18 - Michael Lloyd Chess Set

School Of Jewellery Archives - 15 - Michael Lloyd Chess Set

School Of Jewellery Archives - 17 - Michael Lloyd Chess Set
The Bishop
School Of Jewellery Archives - 21 - Michael Lloyd Chess Set
Gilt pawns.
School Of Jewellery Archives - 22 - Michael Lloyd Chess Set
The whole Chess-set.
These pieces are incredible, being partially spun, partially raised, chased, engraved, etched, constructed and patinated. Oddly, they reminded me very much of the James Turner artwork for NIL.

Back to the gun for Boris Bally's project this week. I picked up the sliced chambers and barrel this week:

Walk Like A Man (Sex Crime) - WIP - 13

Walk Like A Man (Sex Crime) - WIP - 14

In case you're wondering where all this is going, here's the direction:

Walk Like A Man (Sex Crime) - WIP - 15

Supplied courtesy of Birmigham's own "The Diskery", purveyors of 'Good Disco Music'!

The Diskery: GOOD Disco Music

The Diskery, Birmingham, UK
Image by Royd Tauro on Flickr. Click to view more.

Diskery #3
Image by Gary Corbett on Flickr. Click to view more.

In Brighton for the bank-holiday weekend!

Pink Flamingo

I'll end with some more Divine: