The Goldsmiths’ Company recently gave two awards at New Designers 2010, the annual showcase of work from Britain’s leading graduate designers representing the best in contemporary design. As well as presenting the two awards the Goldsmiths’ Company also sponsored the Jewellery and Precious Metalwork Zone at New Designers for the eighth consecutive year and had a stand in the centre of the zone offering students information on technology assistance and hallmarking requirements.
Peter Taylor, Director Technology and Training, said: “We are delighted with our continued association with New Designers. It is a vital showcase for emerging British designers and the Goldsmiths’ Company strongly believes that without the continued encouragement and development of creative talent the future of the craft in theUK will be in jeopardy.”
The two Goldsmiths’ Company awards were granted for excellence – one for jewellery and one for silver. The criterion for both the awards is to identify excellence in design and craftsmanship. The winning pieces have to show superlative design, originality and sales potential. Judging the awards were Lorna Watson, Creative Director of Astley Clarke, jewellery industry professional and silversmith Mary Ann Simmons with Peter Taylor Director Technology and Training the Goldsmiths’ Company and Karin Paynter, Assistant to Director Technology and Training.
This year’s winner of the Goldsmiths’ Company Jewellery award is Elizabeth Humble whose collection of silver jewellery, entitled The Fragile Landscape explores the relationship between humans and their landscape – be it urban or rural and how people form attachments to certain places. For example her striking Vulnerable ring is inspired by the craggy rocks of a cliff top – beautiful but potentially treacherous. Elizabeth’s Fragile Landscape collection is a sophisticated range of highly original and wearable necklaces, rings and brooches.
The Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company Mr Michael Galsworthy presented Elizabeth with a prize of £1,500, made up of a cheque of £1,000 plus precious metal to the value of £500. In addition this year’s jewellery award includes a mentoring programme with the highly esteemed and successful on-line jewellery boutique Astley Clarke*. Elizabeth will work with Astley Clarkes’s experienced design team, headed by Creative Director Lorna Watson, to develop an exclusive range of jewellery which will be sold online at AstleyClarke.com.
Not only will she be supported in the design process but she will also receive guidance in other areas such as pricing, PR, marketing, photography and branding. Lorna Watson said: “Elizabeth Humble was selected as the winner of the Goldsmiths’ Jewellery Award winner at New Designers because her work demonstrates a refreshing combination of exploration and refinement in materials and technique and shows tremendous potential for further development. We are thrilled about our collaboration with the Goldsmiths’ Company and Elizabeth on this forthcoming mentoring programme and very much look forward to working together on these exciting next stages.”
Elizabeth said; “I am totally overwhelmed to receive the award and feel hugely honoured. I am really looking forward to working with the design team at Astley Clarke as it will be the most amazing platform to help me launch myself into the jewellery world. I am also very excited about developing some key pieces into a commercial range as up till now all my jewellery pieces have been one-offs.”
Elizabeth studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design of Dundee University. Peter Taylor said: “This year we are particularly pleased to be collaborating with Astley Clarke as this fits in with the Company’s aims to continue to develop our training and awards in partnership with industry. I am sure Elizabeth will benefit immensely from the fantastic experience she will gain from her time at Astley Clark. If this initiative proves to be successful we hope to identify a similar partner to work with our silversmithing award winner in future years.”
Silversmith Michelle Clare, who studied metalwork and jewellery at Sheffield Hallam University, was the uncontested winner of the Goldsmiths’ Award for silver. The judges were particularly taken with her silver sake warming jug which they felt more than surpassed the criteria of the award in demonstrating superlative craftsmanship and innovative design. Mary Ann Simmons said: “I loved the smooth tactile form of Michelle’s cleverly designed sake Jug. Her use of the natural conductive properties of silver and the skill with which she made the piece shows a good understanding the material. Her plans to enter a career in silversmithing have got off to a great start and I look forward to her future work.”
Silversmithing is Michelle’s second career, she previously worked as a sub-editor in the publishing industry. She said; “Winning this award has given me a huge boost of confidence and it has already proved invaluable in getting me noticed!” She plans to set up her own workshop in Sheffield. Michelle’s silver range comprises a series of silver vessels that explore the different elements that make up an object: the functional, the aesthetic, the material and the emotion. Michelle uses the traditional technique of hand-raising her vessels. She explains; “Raising can be quite a restrictive technique in that it is predominantly used to produce cylindrical forms but I enjoy the challenge of pushing the boundaries and discovering exciting new solutions.”
As well as their cheques both Elizabeth and Michelle have automatically be given places on the Goldsmiths’ Company’s annual graduate business course Getting Started, which takes place in January each year. They will also be invited for a guided tour of the Assay Office London and an introduction to its services, plus a ten year registration of their sponsor’s mark at the Assay Office London, their first sponsor’s punch made free of charge and £200 worth of hallmarking services. * Astley Clarke – Launched in 2006 by Bec Astley Clarke, AstleyClarke.com is an online fine designer jewellery boutique selling contemporary, designer and fine jewellery collections from over forty British and International designers. Bec Astley Clarke, Founder and Managing Director of AstleyClarke.com is passionate about discovering the finest jewellery designers from the world’s most influential and exciting creative talent.
In particular she believes that it is of the utmost importance to carefully seek out and nurture young jewellery designers; graduates who display outstanding technical ability and a unique eye for contemporary jewellery design and who can easily become lost while trying to compete against the bigger and more established names in the industry. With this in mind online jewellery retailer AstleyClarke.com have pioneered a jewellery mentoring program that provides graduates with hands on design and commercial experience with the opportunity to showcase their jewellery online to an international audience.
Getting Started, at Goldsmiths’ Hall 17 – 21 January 2011
The Goldsmiths’ Company’s annual graduate business course will once again take place at Goldsmiths’ Hall. This highly popular course, which is offered free to delegates, is designed to provide recent graduates of jewellery, silversmithing and allied trades, with an introduction to the industry and the career opportunities on offer. Whether the individuals are planning to work for a company or to establish themselves as a self-employed designer-maker, the course is equally relevant. Recent graduates interested in a place on the Getting Course should either download the application form to be found on www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk/supportforthecraft or contact the Technology & Training Department on Tel: 020 7606 7010 or email: