Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Heat Is On

Last week I was in London at 34 degrees, speaking at the Goldsmiths Centre as part of the ACJ's touring "20:20 Visions" exhibition, celebrating 20 famous jewellers who have been members of the ACJ as well as 20 current members who are active practitioners.

20:20 Visions at The Goldsmiths' Centre - 2

The exhibition is fantastic and is beautifully laid out in the Goldsmiths' Centre. It is a real pleasure as a member of the ACJ to see all the amazing makers who have been - and who still are - part of the organisation.

20:20 Visions at The Goldsmiths' Centre - 4

20:20 Visions at The Goldsmiths' Centre - 5

My own work, just inside the door, along with work by Kate Bajic and Jo McAllister. I was also really pleased to see work by my ex-student, Anne Walker:

20:20 Visions at The Goldsmiths' Centre - 6
Anne Walker, bangle at the front, left.
Here is the presentation I gave, for those who are interested.

Craftspace 30 Celebrations - 8

When I left Glasgow, one of the reservations that I had was that I wouldn't have access to the marvellous Craft Scotland any more. By utter chance, I fell in with Birmingham's own Craftspace, an organisation which fulfils a very similar role in the West Midlands. Over the last 2 years, I've become more and more involved with them and they are the most amazing organisation for promoting craft and all associated baggage that comes with that: education, 'craftivism', cross-cultural and cross-modal participation, exhibitions, sales and, of course, parties!

Craftspace 30 Celebrations - 5

This week saw their 30th Birthday party, held at one of the new, small arts-spaces around the city, Centrala. It was an exceptionally relaxed affair and only the stellar Deirdre made a speech:

Craftspace 30 Celebrations - 7

Deirdre has been with Craftspace for 25 of their 30 years and is one of those rare people who can see how the most tenuous links can connect to create dynamic and exciting projects, such as "Made in the Middle" or "Making for Change", both of which I am delighted to have been involved with.  A display of their posters from over the years gave an idea of the range of projects they've been involved with:

Craftspace 30 Celebrations - 1

And I think that they've earned their bragging rights...

Craftspace 30 Celebrations - 2

Off to London again after that for a meeting with an exciting new venue for my work, The Old Cinema in Chiswick, London.

The Old Cinema - 2

Although I think that this may have had an original role as a kind of antiques and junk shop, it now seems to sell a lot of reconditioned and - more importantly for me - reconstructed work. I have high hopes!

Time for the Royal College of Art graduate show too. It was particularly exciting this year as my friend and colleague, Jo Garner, is presenting her graduate show. Overall, it is a very exciting show and as I can't think on anywhere better to start, let's look at Jo's work!
I was delighted to see that she's gone for a political take on things and not only that has been making BADGES! Not just any old badges, it is true: hand-turned steel badges with enamels -

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - 24

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - 23

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - 22

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - 20

I'm particularly pleased that she's taken a pop at the vile Daily Fail and the impossible government immigration forms. It's good that she's just generally angry about everything.

The show overall is excellent and very varied, from tablewares by Isla Macer Law:

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Isla Macer Law -  10

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Isla Macer Law - 11

Through fine jewellery (yes! at the RCA show) by Jessica Pass:

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Jessica Paris - 6

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Jessica Paris - 5

There are meditations on Beauty and the Beauty Industry by both Sophie Swinton and Eva Melinka:

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Sophie Swinton - 27

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Eva Melnika - 28

Material explorations by Eleanora Kolosova:

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Eleanora Kolosova - 9

These are not just garden twigs! Made from metal and other materials.
There is amazing eyewear by Bhakti Moorjani;

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Bhakti Moorjani - 15

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Bhakti Moorjani - 12

Yiwen Shao has made the most wonderful wearables using vibrating pearls and latex:

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Yiwen Shao - 19

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Yiwen Shao - 17

It is a real pity I can's show you the video playing in the top shot. It is rather wonderful.

My favourite work at the show was, however, that of Lukas Grewenig, who has developed an amazing new process for engraving metal surfaces with hidden images. This piece here:

RCA Graduate Show 2017 - Lukas Grewenig - 31

When exposed to a beam of light from a mobile phone or hand-torch, reveals the most fleeting of hidden images:

Incredible! I can't wait to see where he takes this.

New Designers - 2017 - 3

It is not all over yet, but nearly! After this it was back to London again for the annual New Designers show of work by recent graduates. I have to say that this year's ND was a bit "limp", rather underwhelming in terms of jewellery and silversmithing. Yes, there was some nice work but not a great deal that utterly thrilled me, as it did last year. It is always good to go and meet people, however, and it took me an hour and a half to move from the School of Jewellery stand to the Glasgow School of Art stand - a mere 12 metres! - as I kept stopping to chat.

The work from the School of Jewellery I've blogged before, but it does look good in the new space, especially where students have got to expand their original displays, such as the one by Danielle Laurent:

New Designers - 2017 - 5 - Danielle Laurent

For me, the event of the night was getting to see my ex-student, Paula Sloan and talk to her about what she's been doing since she left my HND course two years ago, going on to study at Glasgow School of Art:

New Designers - 2017 - 7 - Paula Sloan

I was particularly drawn to the silverwares and blacksmithing this year, with rather wonderful work by Callum Partridge:

New Designers - 2017 - 20 - Callum Partridge

And also by Megan Falconer:

New Designers - 2017 - 33 - Megan Falconer

Megan explores place by making hammers from found materials and using the hammers to create the finished silverwares.

New Designers - 2017 - 34 - Megan Falconer

My ex-student, Stephanie Holt won the "One Year On" award, which was great:

New Designers - 2017 - 27 - Stephanie Holt

This is her UFO rings from last year, which she has developed as a commercial product:

Graduate Show 2016 - 15 - Stephanie Holt

Most interesting jewellery I saw there was these rather lovely enamelled locket pieces by Monique Jeffrey-Jones:

New Designers - 2017 - 22 - Monique Jeffrey-Jones

New Designers - 2017 - 21 - Monique Jeffrey-Jones

And some of the most intriguing jewellery was by Dan Russell:
New Designers - 2017 - 10 - Dan Russell

New Designers - 2017 - 11 - Dan Russell

There were also some technically amazing knives in Damascus Steel by Leszek Sikon:

New Designers - 2017 - 2 - Leszek Sikon

New Designers - 2017 - 1 - Leszek Sikon

These last knives have between 600 and 700 layers!

I've also managed to get back to the bench myself, developing some stock for the Old Cinema, as explained above:

NEXT WEEK... The ACJ Conference!