The Goldsmiths’ Company’s annual Young Designer Silversmith Award 2007, now in its thirteenth year, was won by Leah Black of the Glasgow School of Art.
The Young Designer Silversmith Award scheme was started by Rosemary Ransome Wallis, Curator of the Collections at Goldsmiths’ Hall in 1994 as an initiative to encourage students to show their artistic individuality in silver. “The rationale behind the award was to encourage studio silver design”, explained Rosemary, “with the combination of a competition for excellence of design and an opportunity to perfect dexterity of craftsmanship being at the heart of the scheme.”
The winner of the award is placed in a leading modern silversmith’s workshop where, with expert guidance, he or she is able to transform their design into silver. The finished piece is then presented to the appropriate major museum nearest the college for its collection of contemporary decorative arts, which in Leah’s case is the Kelingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow.
The brief for this year’s competition, which is open to any student under 30 in the United Kingdom on a BA or Master’s degree course, was to design ‘two candlesticks which should interact with each other either by shape, movement, or reflection thus becoming a pair’.
The judges included Richard Himsworth, Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Grant Macdonald and Martin Dru Drury, both senior members of the Goldsmiths’ Company, Annamarie Stapleton consultant to the Fine Art Society in London together with artist silversmiths Rod Kelly and Alex Brogden. Rosemary Ransome Wallis said that Leah’s candlesticks were chosen because: “Leah’s design was sophisticated. The curved outlines look deceptively simple and combined with an innovative use of relief photo etching in the decoration of the base plates the overall effect is pure elegance.”
Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company Richard Himsworth presented Leah’s stylish silver candlesticks to Councillor Archie Graham, convener of Glasgow City Council’s Cultural and Leisure Services PDS Committee in a ceremony which took place in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow on Wednesday October 10, 2007. Leah was there to witness the handing over ceremony and was duly congratulated by both the Prime Warden and Councillor Archie Graham on her considerable achievement. She was also presented with her winner’s certificate for the Young Designer Silversmith Award 2007.
Leah Black’s elegant candlesticks are now on display at Kelingrove Art Gallery & Museum, in a special showcase together with last year’s award winning fruit bowl by Karen Simpson highlighting the Young Designer Silversmith Award.