Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
Another busy week, starting early on with the first stirrings of the performance-making-piece "JUNK: Rubbish To Gold" by Jivan Astfalck in which 650kg of junk jewellery will be reconfigured and auctioned off for charity. Jivan, Laura Bradshaw-Heap and Rachel Darbourne had a photoshoot this week and we got to see some of the junk materials. I will be taking part in this in November, so there will be more postings on that.
I also finished the commisson piece, "Old Jack's Charms" (the title comes from a Marc Almond song about a tattooed sailor) using found iron from the beach at Dungeness, silver, gemstones and the customer's own locket - which contains a photograph of her grandmother - and a broken gold, silver and ruby brooch:
While I can't even pretend that the beautiful Edwardian brooch is "junk", it is nice to think of this as a preparation for the performance in November! (In fact, this is almost a reverse in that I added junk to a piece of fine jewellery...)
On Wednesday, we had a visit from Stephen Bottomley, head of jewellery at Edinburgh College of Art with some of his BA and MFA students and with my colleague, Zoe Robertson, went out for dinner after visiting The Dual Works, home to Zoe and the fascinating Sellotape Cinema, with whom she has worked and collaborated. I love Zoe's work as it bursts with humour and a real joie-de-vivre which is so refreshing and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be able to see some of her drawings laid out for her next work:
We also got to play with one of the "drawing machines" which are used by Sellotape Cinema:
A couple of videos: first from Sellotape Cinema and second; from Zoe Robertson -
So that was all very exciting!
Unfortunately, after a very rich dinner of barbecued jackfruit, I had to cycle home.
(I have, however, spent a good part of this weekend trying to find jackfruit as it is a rather remarkable stuff, actually having a texture not unlike that of meat.)
Friday brought us to the evening event of a show of work by one of the School of Jewellery's most well-known graduates, Fei Liu. Fei is a remarkable character: ebullient, garrulous, charming and outspoken and it was an absolute pleasure to meet him and listen to his advice on how I should handle my HND class for the best results: as he employs many graduates of the School of Jewellery, I suppose he actually does know better than I do at the moment!
Fei was the first student from China to attend the School of Jewellery and he graduated 10 years ago. He stayed in the UK and set up his business in Birmingham, now exporting all over the world.
Part of the event included an auction of some of his jewellery and this was conducted by our oratorically-inclined Dean of Faculty, David Roberts, aided by Gaynor Andrews, our head of school:
Here, he's being told off - as only jewellers would do - for calling a 'mallet' a 'hammer'!
This is one of the pieces being auctioned to raise money for the Birmingham Children's Hospital:
For me, the highlight of the show was the incredible tanzanites in this collar:
The unspoken highlight of the show was the specially-designed holders for the champagne flutes, designed and made by our basement genius, Paul Evans:
It might surprise you to know that I also did some teaching, which is the real reason I'm in Birmingham.
Here the students are working on a "design thinking" exercise which I'm pleased to report came up with a viable commercial proposition.
Fairly relaxing weekend. I picked up my box of foods from The Real Junk Food Project this weekend and set to roasting half of them:
These would have been dumped if it hadn't been for the project collecting and re-distributing them. More from TRJFPBrum very soon...