It really seems incredible that this is the end of my first academic year at the School of Jewellery. So much has happened!

Singing Bird Automaton - 1

Over the last week, we've been setting up the shows and the incredibly talented engine-turning expert, John Moorehouse - of whom I have blogged before - has blown us all away with his piece for the part-time show:

He's working away on something else now: a piece of engine-turning so fine that it has interference-pattern iridescence!

Rose-engine Turning

John Moorhouse At Work

There was a hectic buzz about the place last week as everything was set up and all looked serene on Friday night as the building closed.

Preparing For Grad Show

A complete contrast to the same scene almost exactly 24 hours later!

Graduate Show 2016 - School of Jewellery - 8

This was the "Friends and Family" Private View (we have two PVs, the second on Tuesday next week is for the industry contacts) and it was great to see all the proud students, delighted parents and - best of all - relaxed staff... I didn't take a shot of the staff all night where they are not laughing and happy:

Graduate Show 2016 - School of Jewellery - 2
Claire Price and Andy Howard, BA Design For Industry tutors

Graduate Show 2016 - School of Jewellery - 17
Anna Lorenz and Drew Markou, BA Jewellery and Related Products tutors

Graduate Show 2016 - School of Jewellery - 4

Graduate Show 2016 - School of Jewellery - 4

Bridie Lander (front), MA Jewellery tutor; Rachael Colley and Anna Lorenz, BA Jewellery and Related Products tutors

Graduate Show 2016 - School of Jewellery - 3
Jo Pond and me, HND Jewellery and Silversmithing Tutors

It might seem a bit odd that I've not published anything about the exhibited work but I have decided to wait until next week to allow me to photograph things properly. All I have to say is that it is a strong show and that if you want to visit, it is open to the public, 10am - 6pm from 13th - 17th June inclusive. Details here.

Graduate Show 2016 - School of Jewellery - 13

On Tuesday night, I headed off on my bike after work, riding through torrential rain and a thunderstorm, to Cannon Hill park to take in a concert at the Midlands Arts Centre, affectionately known as The Mac. Cannon Hill Park is lovely and with a pleasing touch of the surreal:

Swan Pedalos

The concert was by a jazz trio, "In Love With". The trio is led by percussionist/drummer, Sylvain Darrifourcq with Théo and Valentin Ceccaldi on Violin and 'Cello respectively.

In Love With - 3

In Love With - 4

They performed some of the most thrilling music I've heard in a long time. Intense, complex and absolutely tight, sounding quite unlike anything I've heard before. It was sad that there were only about a dozen people in the audience. This is definitely music to hear live: it is fine on recording but live there is a real energy between the trio and it is brilliant to see the "extended techniques" they all use to get the most enormous variety of sounds out of the instruments (ice-cream dishes on drums, playing with a coathanger...).

Here is a sample:

Other than that, I've managed to get a little bit more work done on "Seven Macho Bracelets" and hope to have them finished next week:

Seven Macho Bracelets - WIP - 10

More on the work and shows next post!

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Comment by The Justified Sinner on June 13, 2016 at 9:23am

Brilliant! And uncommonly witty for a Presbyterian minister, mostly a humourless and closeted bunch.

Comment by Brigitte Martin on June 13, 2016 at 9:17am

Those kilts are very cool!

My husband once asked a Presbyterian minister if there were electronic chips implanted in all bagpipes because to his ear they all played the same repertoire, Scotland the Brave and Amazing Grace. To which the minister replied in the thickest brogue, "Yes, and Highway to Hell."

Comment by The Justified Sinner on June 13, 2016 at 9:04am

I think that bagpipes are easy in principle and impossible in practice. I do love a good bit of Ceol Mor, the great music of the highland pipes!

This is Howie's place -

If you really do want an introduction, let me know. As to the Junior Conservatoire, I was more thinking that it would be an introduction by email some time in the future rather than something immediate.

Comment by Brigitte Martin on June 13, 2016 at 8:52am

I agree that the apron would be much more incendiary than anything else. In addition my son's not even remotely Irish (Scots-Irish at best, and even that's a stretch) and that's, of course, why he said it in the first place. The comment oozes with sarcasm because that's what teenagers excel at. Putting a fine point on the ridiculousness of it all - on so many levels. Good for him. That's my boy.

He is part of a classical orchestra but they have their jazz combo travel with them as well. Thank you for the offer to connect them with the Junior Conservatory, I will pass it on but I worry that it might be too late at this point, they are leaving on Tuesday.

Thank you also for the offer to connect him with a kilt-maker! Now THAT would be something he would totally do! He already said he'd love to learn to play the bagpipes...and we all know what a slippery slope that is.

Comment by The Justified Sinner on June 13, 2016 at 1:57am

How annoying that I won't be able to meet him when he is here. Unfortunately, I am at a conference in Oxford all weekend of the 24th/25th. It sounds like a brilliant experience and I really hope he enjoys it: there is no doubt that he will have a great time while he is there. Is it a youth jazz orchestra or do they play more classical stuff? I could put you/him/his tutors in touch with the head of the Junior Conservatoire here in Birmingham or the equivalent youth jazz orchestra - email me if that would be of interest.

You can tell the fussy mother that "spaghetti straps and short shorts" would be considered modest by most 16 year-old Glaswegian girls... I think that your son's apron might raise more eyebrows! If he is after a kilt, however, I can put him in touch with my favourite kilt-maker, Howie at 21st Century Kilts.

Comment by Brigitte Martin on June 12, 2016 at 5:21pm

Good to hear the first year went well, not that I would have doubted it.

I don't know if I told you, but my son - whom you may not remember all that well but who vividly remembers YOU cutting onions in our kitchen a few years back - will be going to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland for the next 2 weeks with his Youth Orchestra. They are leaving Tuesday June 14 and will be in Ireland for the first week and a half (Dublin, Cork, Westport, Derry, Belfast,) then crossing into Scotland with performances in Glasgow on June 24 and 25 and another one probably in Edinburgh on June 26. They play almost every night and do touristy things during the day. I heard breakfast and dinner is included, so we'll see what tales he'll come back with. He's looking forward to it like you wouldn't believe!! I wished I could join him, but that would spoil his fun...

Here's a story for you:

Last weekend, there was a parent meeting for the whole orchestra group and one very anxious American mother asked for the organizers to reiterate what the proper dress code is for teenagers walking around Ireland and Scotland. She was adamant that no girl should be allowed spaghetti straps and short shorts... She asked these attire-rules be repeated loudly TWICE and people started to roll their eyes (ok, only one person did that: ME,) which prompted my 16 year-old son to raise his hand and ask if it was appropriate for him to bring his "Kiss me, I'm Irish" apron with him.

(Smartassery. He gets it from both sides.)

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