Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
Time once more for the School of Jewellery Graduate Show, the chance for our students to stop being students and show off what they have done with their shiny new qualifications. It feels like a bumper year, too.
The graduate show ran for a week with two private views, one for "Friends and Family" and one for our industry partners, each having a very different character. The graduates themselves ran the first "Friends and Family" night with a band, a rather excellent bar (with sponsorship from local Purecraft Bar), band and introduction from our own starry Chancellor, Lenny Henry!
Lots of proud mums and dads, grandparents, partners, siblings and friends. An excellent night all round.
The industry night had a rather different complexion, it also being the night of our prize-giving when the jewellery, horology and gemmology trade, as well as designers and makers and supporting organisations generously give prizes for the best work in the show.
|Lorna McNaught being presented with a prize by Head of School, Professor Stephen Bottomley and Ellen McAdam, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust, our guest speaker for the evening.|
Over 42 prizes were awarded from the industry both locally and internationally, including from HS Walsh, The Birmingham Assay Office, Betts Metal Sales, Weston Beamor, The Association for Contemporary Jewellery, Regent Silversmiths, The Scottish Gemmological Association, The Birmingham And Midland Institute, Cartier, Maun Industries and many, many more.
|Horologist, Tyler Davies receiving a prize from the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers with Jeremy Hobbins, Course Director of the Horology Course.|
|Hayley Volkering accepting a prize from Maun Industries.|
Of course, in order to win these prizes, the work has to be exceptional and this year's show is very strong. Here are just a few favourites from some of our most interesting exhibits:
|Handmade clocks by Tyler Davies (left) and Kate Thomson (right) from the BA Horology course.|
|Work exploring "the abject" by Tilly Wright of the BA Jewellery and Object.|
|Brooches made as part of a photographic exploration. Zhixuan Liang of the BA Jewellery and Object.|
|Silver salt-and-pepper shakers by George Harrow of the HND Jewellery and Silversmithing.|
|Sketchbook work for fashion jewellery by Erica Laver. HND Jewellery and Silversmithing.|
|Objects by Jiru Weng. BA Jewellery and Object.|
|Silver and wood object by He Fei. BA Jewellery and Object.|
|Wearable object work by Lanyue Zhang. Graduate Certificate Jewellery and Related Products.|
|Fine jewellery work by Andrew Cowley. BA Jewellery and Silversmithing Design For Industry.|
|Fine jewellery work by Hon Chun. BA Jewellery and Silversmithing Design For Industry.|
|Jewellery by Elinn Yi Fang. BA Jewellery and Object.|
Overall, an excellent show.
Last week, we had a visit from the estimable Nicolas Estrada. I've been a fan of Nicolas' work for many years - I own one of his carved rock-crystal pendants, "Suffering" - and we've been in touch with each other for over a decade but have, to date, never met, so hanging out with him in the Jewellery Quarter has been a real pleasure.
He was in Birmingham to work with our MA Jewellery and Object students on their presentations for their final show and to speak at one of Sian Hindle's "Talking Practice" events.
It's been music galore here for me and I've been making the most of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire opening festival to hear new music and discover new composers. My new favourite composer is Jennifer Walshe, a woman who sings like a broken sampler and writes music for electronics, video and traditional instruments. She is personable and charming - seen above in conversation with Sean Clancy - but her music swings wildly between the humorous and the harrowing, indeed this sign was posted outside the concert hall:
Well worth hearing. Here is a video of her from YouTube:
On Monday, it was a whole afternoon and evening of Grahan Fitkin, largely in partnership with harpist, Ruth Wall. It was brilliant to turn up early for the main concert and to be treated to a guitar and harp duo and a percussion quartet in the foyer beforehand. The main reason for me to go along was to hear "Hard Fairy" live and I wasn't disappointed. What a thrilling piece! However, I also really loved the harp pieces too: one harp, two harps, four harps, prepared harps, harps and electronics, harp and saxophone... you get the idea.
Here is a performance of "Hard Fairy" from YouTube.
Coming soon... New Designers and the Royal College of Art jewellery Graduate Show.