133 designer-makers were profiled in the six-week event which was borne out of the city’s historic Jewellery Quarter. The festival offered visitors 35 different exhibitions and events across 20 of the city’s key venues including mac, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and Harvey Nichols. International designer-makers from Tallinn also took part in a special exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
2010 marked a new decade for the festival and Birmingham City University graduate Li-Chu Wu was the designer-maker chosen to take it into its new era with her unique paper jewellery. Brilliantly Birmingham 2010 focused on the journey of jewellery and designer-makers through a range of exhibitions, seminars and workshops across the city.
Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, Councillor Martin Mullaney said: “Over the last decade, I’m delighted to have seen Brilliantly Birmingham grow into an internationally recognised contemporary jewellery festival, which not only celebrates Birmingham’s fantastic jewellery heritage but also showcases exhibitions from foreign designer-makers. This year’s combination of international, established and innovative rising talent has proved very popular with visitors, and has given our jewellery retailers and designers alike a real boost.”
In addition to the events across the city, the festival also saw the fifth annual FLUX. The Brilliantly Birmingham curated exhibition at the new gallery space at mac profiled new and emerging designer-makers providing a platform for them to display and sell their work. The top five designer-makers were also presented with a Brilliantly Birmingham Award of Excellence to commend their strength in jewellery design and production.
Brilliantly Birmingham profile designer-maker and FLUX exhibitor Li-Chu Wu said: “Birmingham is renowned for its jewellery heritage, which is one of the reasons why I chose to study at the Birmingham City University School of Jewellery. The city, as a whole, offers great opportunities for designer-makers and Brilliantly Birmingham is a prime example of this.
Being chosen as the lead profile designer for such a prestigious festival has provided me with a fantastic platform for my work and through my inclusion in FLUX I’ve received a large amount of interest in my pieces. I’m incredibly proud of my jewellery and was thrilled to be presented with the Brilliantly Birmingham Award of Excellence, and I intend to continue letting paper extend its value through my work.”
This year Brilliantly Birmingham also embraced the growing social media culture by holding seminars for FLUX designers and introducing an interactive, online jewellery treasure trail around the city centre.