So, Christmas and new year approach and, like most right-thinking people (Left-thinking, I mean!), I won't be sad to put this miserable 2016 to bed. Still, it is also the time of year when people wear silly hats and bad jumpers and it was the week of the student Christmas night out, to which my colleagues, Kate and Jo were invited too:
In case you are interested, "Rudolph" on the left is actually Andrew Cowley who did so well in the recent World Skills event and which I blogged about here.
A great bunch of people.
The main event of the week was the retirement from the School of Jewellery of our Head, Gaynor Andrews. I owe Gaynor a lot: it is down to her that I am employed at the School and she was even responsible for finding me the house I am now living in in Birmingham! She always went above and beyond the job description to ensure that the School thrived and developed in new ways and she will be missed enormously.
Gaynor started at the school as a student in - I think - 1974 and never really left! She has been involved in the School for 40 years and during that time has worked closely with the industry, keeping absolutely up-to-date with all the newest technology and shaping the curriculum of the School to do likewise. It was a testament to her popularity and success that the atrium at the school was packed and that all the current staff and a good number of ex-staff turned up to see her off:
People had flown in for the evening and had travelled across the whole country to be there. As a retirement present, the current staff bought her a pen by one of her most successful alumni, Jack Row (who was also there, of course!):
There was also a book of her time at the School, with some very well-known faces on the front and back covers:
But Zoe Robertson's pages sum up Gaynor's time at the School:
We still don't know who is taking over her role, a difficult job at the best of time but one which Gaynor personalised and made her own.
This weekend I went to see the impressive Centrepiece show at Symphony Hall in Birmingham. Centrepiece is a collective of jewellers who are based in or around Birmingham and who have an annual selling show at Christmas. My friend and colleague, Kate Thorley, helps to organise it and the quality of the work is superb.
It was good to see interesting, wearable contemporary jewellery presented in this way.
Just in case you've not had enough of it - unlikely I know - here's a picture of a giant, ugly Santa, taken in the centre of Birmingham:
It reminded me of the Sketchy Santas website, which always amuses.
Holiday time on Tuesday! Can't wait.
I may get another post in before New Year, but don't count on it. Have a great time over the festive season, however you spend it.