The RBSA’s Craft Gallery has established a reputation as the leading Midlands outlet for contemporary craft. Through its programme of creatively-themed exhibitions, the RBSA showcases designer makers from across the UK; exploring contemporary approaches to traditional craft-making techniques and materials.
Each exhibition is a feast for the senses as well as the mind. The inventive is exhibited alongside the functional, allowing you to explore the endless possibilities of contemporary craft.
Confirmed exhibitors: Annie Cracknell; Charlotte Lowe; Claire Malet; Dagmar Korecki; Elaine Cox; Helen Smith; Imogen Belfield; Leila Swift; Mabel Hasell;Malin Winberg; Olivia Schlevogt; Rebecca Birch; Rebecca Steiner; Rikke Lunnemann; Ruth Wood; Shirley Smith; Sian James and Tanya Krackowizer.
The RBSA’s Christmas exhibition ‘Five for Silver, Six for Gold’ is a treasure trove of original craftwork, with a strong emphasis on contemporary precious jewellery. Displaying work from both emerging and established designer makers, the pieces highlight the innovation and creativity taking place across studios in Britain today. Look out for designs by selected new graduates of 2010, who are exhibiting their work for the first time in Birmingham!
Featured Designer Makers
Having been awarded a grant by the Arts Council for business and product development last year, Ruth Wood has been busy in her Leicestershire studio creating a range of solid 18ct gold rings. Her jewellery is inspired by ancient artefacts, treasures and irregular forms. She focuses on the textural qualities of eroded and weathered materials, such as rock formations in caves. Working with silver, gilt and 18ct gold, gemstones and diamonds, Ruth’s ‘Cave’ collection combines irregular abstract metal shapes with unique one-off stone set pieces. Appearing as though pulled fresh from the ground, her work questions the aesthetic qualities of these organic forms.
Cardiff-based ceramicist Sian James creates delicate, yet functional, slip-cast porcelain tea sets. Having graduated from the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff earlier this year, Sian has been working hard to develop her collection further. Concerned with ideas of beauty, fragility and functionality, Sian’s ceramics are painted with opulent gold lustre to mimic the decorative elements we associate with precious chinaware. The flower impressions on the surfaces of her work emphasise the fragility of the medium, and contrasts with its practical use as a tea set.
Shirley Smith’s jewellery collection is influenced by found objects. A self-confessed beach combing addict, Shirley’s current work reflects her fascination with the eclectic detritus found on the shore-line. Pebbles, fragments of shell, strands of seaweed and other finds are translated into ranges of jewellery including rings, pendants, bracelets and earrings. Working mostly in silver, she also integrates various carats of gold for colour and detail. Textures are added using techniques such as roller printing and sand blasting. The pieces are then either oxidised or polished for a more traditional finish.
Inspired by the colours and cuts of precious stones, new graduate Mabel Hasell’s jewellery collection explores unconventional methods of stone-setting. Using pewter, silver and 18ct gold, her ‘Floating Gems’ collection features elements of conventional setting techniques, with a contemporary twist. Mabel’s jewellery is formed using lost wax casting, which causes the gems to move and cluster together randomly in the molten metal. The spontaneity of their movements are integral to Mabel’s final design.
‘Five for Silver, Six for Gold’ – attracting the magpie in all of us! Price range: £20 upwards.
15 November – 7 January 2011
Where: RBSA Gallery, 4 Brook Street, St Pauls, Birmingham, B3 1SA
Admission: Free. Gallery Open: Mon – Fri 10.30-5.30, Sat 10.30-5.00, Sun 1.00-5.00