Sunday, February 12, 2017


There is a lot of sellotape in this post.

This week saw Birmingham host Spring Fair, the largest jewellery and giftware fair in the UK. Quite aside from being the largest collection of utter tat I have ever witnessed in one place, the jewellery and watch section of the fair is always interesting and over the years, I've made a few visits here. This time around, we decided to take our entire cohort of HND Jewellery and Silversmithing students as a number of them had won some quite prestigious prizes from the jewellery industry.

Every year, we, uniquely, set up a number of industry-sponsored and industry-judged design and make competitions as part of the HND, giving the course a grounding in the challenges of the jewellery industry. These competitions are quite varied and this year saw the start of our association with Rofin/Coherent - who make laser welding and marking equipment - as well as the continuation of our long association with the CAD and casting company, Weston Beamor.

Rofin sponsored prizes for the best use of laser technologies in jewellery.

Spring Fair - Rofin - 1

The winners this year included some fine jewellery, some small siverwares, some costume pieces and some kinetic pieces and the winners variously received cash prizes and work-placements in industry.

Spring Fair - Rofin Weston Beamor - 10
Winners! Left to right, Ophelia Stoker, Poppy Middleton, Sarah Parry, Daniel Bollard and Yuying Hu.

Spring Fair - Rofin - 9
Most of the HND students with the teaching staff, along with the staff of Rofin, on the Rofin stand.
The afternoon was the prize-giving for the CAD project set by Weston Beamor, to come up with a contemporary take on a "halo" engagement ring with a matching wedding band.

Spring Fair - Weston Beamor - 12

The fantastic thing about this project is that the chosen pieces are made up and are included in the commercially-available Weston Beamor range. We were particularly thrilled as PatrickFuller, owner of the company, took the time to come and speak to the students and award them their prizes.

Spring Fair - Weston Beamor - 13
Patrick Fuller with Hwai-Jen Shiau.

Spring Fair - Weston Beamor - 14
Patrick Fuller with Bethany Ross.

Spring Fair - Weston Beamor - 15
Patrick Fuller with Ruth Hallows.

At the Parkside building this week, I discovered an amazing installation made by first year students on the BA Visual Communications course alongside students on the BA Theatre Design course. It was made in one week, using only brown-paper and sellotape and is a magical exploration of the world of Roald Dahl:

Roald Dahl - Paper Installation - 1

Roald Dahl - Paper Installation - 2

Roald Dahl - Paper Installation - 3

Roald Dahl - Paper Installation - 4

Roald Dahl - Paper Installation - 5

At the School of Jewellery, as we have a large cohort of students from China, we decided that we would have a celebration of the Chinese New Year, with Chinese food, tea and... Sellotape Cinema!

Sellotape Cinema - Chinese New Year - 1

The students used a variety of printed images and old slides, transferring the images to sellotape which is then processed and linked together into long reels for projection.

Sellotape Cinema - Chinese New Year - 3

Sellotape Cinema - Chinese New Year - 4

Sellotape Cinema - Chinese New Year - 2

The students loved this process and while we broke for food, Steve and Steve of Sellotape Cinema patched together the final product.

Sellotape Cinema - Chinese New Year - 6

Sellotape Cinema - Chinese New Year - 7

The end result is fascinating and it is incredible that such an apparently unco-ordinated experience could produce such an interesting result.

Sellotape Cinema - Chinese New Year - 13

Sellotape Cinema - Chinese New Year - 14

If you are interested, there are more films on the Sellotape Cinema Vimeo site.

Finally, a musical outing to hear a BEAST (The Birmingham Electro Acoustic Sound Theatre) presentation of works by the EMS - Elektron Musik Studion - from Stockholm. Introduced by the charmingly funny Mats Lindström, we were treated to a marvellous selection of live diffusions, live digital performances and his own spectacularly visceral "Low Fidelity", performed on malfunctioning electronic devices:

EMS Stockholm at BEAST - 2

EMS Stockholm at BEAST - 1

There is more about the EMS Studios here: