British Silver Takes Centre Stage “From Songsmith to Silversmith”

A Fusion Of Midlands Arts and Creativity

Birmingham turned out in force to meet the best artist silversmiths in Britain today at the Launch Event of British Silver Week which took place at St Pauls Gallery, in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter on Monday 7th June.

The Silversmiths were delighted with the reception they received from the knowledgeable Birmingham Guests and sales of exquisite contemporary pieces on the night were an added bonus.

The three week selling exhibition is being staged at St Pauls Gallery, in Northwood Street, located a short walk from The Birmingham Assay Office in the Jewellery Quarter. It is the largest commercial art gallery in the UK outside London. The stunning silver pieces took centre stage against a backdrop of music art and sculptures, providing a fusion of two and three dimensional art media – proof if any were necessary that the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter is the jewel in the crown of the Midlands thriving artist community.

The Birmingham Assay Office has been the key facilitator in promoting the British Silver Week event in Birmingham and itself, successfully gained support from the Arts Council England and the National Lottery for the Silversmiths to assist with the promotion and set up of the selling exhibition.

Prior to the launch, Assay Master and Chief Executive of The Birmingham Assay Office – Michael Allchin was interviewed on BBC Radio WM’s Drivetime show to promote the British Silver Week event in Birmingham. ITV News – Central, broadcast a feature on British Silver Week and presented two local Birmingham Silversmiths – Andrew
Macgowan and Theresa Nguyen on launch day itself. Also on launch day, the Curator of The Birmingham Assay Office Dr Sally Baggott spent the morning at BBC Radio WM and talked about the history of the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, hallmarking in general and the British Silver Week exhibition on the Breakfast show – Mornings with Joanne Malin. Andy and Theresa were also featured during the radio broadcast and took along some of their pieces to describe to the listeners.

During the launch an exciting announcement was made by the Birmingham Cultural Partnership which includes Birmingham City Council, the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham City University School of Jewellery and The Birmingham Assay Office. The Cultural Partnership has agreed to fund a new silver commission and invited Silversmiths working in Birmingham to submit designs that draw on the history and heritage of Birmingham’s splendid Jewellery Quarter. For more information about the Jewellery Quarter Silver Commission Tel: 0121 554 3598 or email lauracox@birmingham.gov.uk

St Pauls Gallery kindly donated a sterling silver Pink Floyd pig and a prize draw was held during the launch event. The winner was Victoria Emmanuel from the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter.

Silversmiths exhibiting: Andrew Macgowan, Jemma Daniels, LJ Millington, Louise Chesshire, Theresa Nguyen, Mana Sarabhai Brearley, Mark Andrew Powell, Martyn Pugh, Wally Gilbert, Rachel Gogerly, Ryan McClean and the Precious Metal Clay Artists.

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