Last week kicked off to a glorious start with the Goldsmiths' Company Craft and Design Awards, held in the opulent surroundings of Goldsmiths' Hall in London. About 20 staff and students from the School of Jewellery jumped on a coach to London at lunchtime for the awards ceremony in the evening as students from the school had won so many prizes in the competition which seeks to celebrate the very best in the craft and design of jewellery and silverwares. We had taken so many awards that we won the prestigious College Trophy.
Gaynor Andrews, our ex-head, flew back from Portugal to collect the trophy:
Although we did well in a variety of categories, it was in the digital area that we really cleaned up, with winners from our BA Jewellery Design for Industry course featuring prominently. The team posed for photographs, of course!
|Left to right: Programme leader, Claire Price; students Becky Wilkes and Katy Tromans; tutor, Andy Howard; tutor/technical expert, Keith Adcock.|
The standard of the work in the show overall is breathtaking and I can highly recommend a visit.
Next up was a collaboration between my own students and the students on the BA Illustration course. This came about as the result of a coffee-table discussion between my colleagues, Jo Pond and Jo Berry-Firth at a staff-development event last summer. Hastily thrown together, it proved to be really successful, with students looking at the history of the Jewellery Quarter together, the illustrators providing illustrations which were then printed onto aluminium and made into jewellery by my jewellery students. The resulting exhibition was very successful:
The illustrations were absolutely beautiful:
Which led to some excellent jewellery. I'm particularly fond of this little wearable model of the Quarter, made by Ruth Hallows:
Unfortunately, I bumped the Georgian house at the front out of alignment!
This week, of course, sees the 2017 International Women's Day and the BA students were involved in a project with the students on the BSc. Criminology students, looking at crimes against women and the results are quite amazing. I've only managed to photograph a few this week but there will be more next week. In the meantime, you can read about the project here.
The BA Level 6 students were presenting their sketches for their final degree shows and they are looking very exciting. I was particularly taken with the work of Lois Wiseman:
And by Maria Walmsley.
Can't wait to see what everyone finally comes up with.
Busy night on Thursday as our "Talking Practice" series of lectures continued with Sabina Stent giving us a talk about the importance of women in the Surrealist movement.
This was immediately followed by a reception at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, celebrating 25 years of the institution and the opening of an exhibition of work by the photographer Verity Milligan. It was also an opportunity to meet with some of the people who work there and to think about setting up some new projects between the school and the museum.
Finally, the weekend! It proved to be very wet indeed but not enough to stop me going to the CBSO Centre twice, once on Saturday and once on Sunday for two very, very different concerts. The first, on Saturday, was by the Neil Cowley trio who, for the first half of the concert, were not a trio but a quartet, performing their brilliant album "Spacebound Apes" complete. A fairly standard line-up of piano (Cowley), bass and drums, supplemented by synths, the mystery fourth member played various effects and processing: the difference between this and the second half, the unsupplemented trio, was notable with the first half being altogether more 'serious' than the second. "Spacebound Apes" is a multimedia project - the illustration above by Sergio Sandoval being part of this. The music is one element and this is all we had but still stands by itself. Referencing rock and pop - I felt I detected the ghost of early-70s David Bowie in there - minimalism and the classic jazz trio sound: combined with the more well-known work of the second half, a great night.
You can hear "The City and the Stars" from the album here:
On Sunday night, it was a very different beast, with music by Elliott Carter, Peter Maxwell Davies, Pierre Boulez and Helen Grime, all expertly performed by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. The star of the show was undoubtedly Helen Grime with a premier of her new Piano Concerto, written for her husband, Huw Watkins. I remember hearing some of her solo piano works many years ago, played by my friend Simon Smith in Edinburgh but she hadn't really figured in much of my more recent listening: indeed, I bought a ticket for this concert on the strength of it featuring works by Elliott Carter.
Helen's piano concerto is virtuosic but is not a concerto in any general sense: the chamber players all have their role to play and although the piano is often the most prominent instrument, it is never flashy or superfluous and equally demanding parts are given to other players. The piece focuses on the unbelievably lovely middle movement and is scored for effectively three groups of players: piano, crotales and harp; clarinet and flute and; cello and violin, none of whom really share materials.
As ever, the BCMG, conducted by Oliver Knussen, were fantastic.