Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Summer of Silver Spreads Across the UK

St. Paul’s Gallery in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter will host a display of work from leading silversmiths as part of British Silver Week 2010.

The exhibition, jointly sponsored by the Birmingham Assay Office, St Paul’s Gallery and The PMC Studio, will take place from 7 to 27 June. Silversmiths from Birmingham and across the Midlands region will participate in the three-week exhibition, alongside artists from across the UK, giving the general public the rare opportunity to see – and buy – exciting, contemporary pieces of exquisite silverware.

St. Paul’s Gallery, situated just a short walk from The Birmingham Assay Office is a commercial art gallery, the largest in the UK outside London, and is a suitably modern setting for the contemporary silverware on show.

Theresa Nguyen, one of the ambassadors of British Silver Week 2010, will be providing a stunning centrepiece for the St. Paul’s Gallery exhibition. Other silversmiths participating include Andrew MacGowan, L J Millington, Louise Chesshire, Martyn Pugh, Rachel Gogerly and Ryan McClean.

Now in its third year, British Silver Week is aiming to promote contemporary British silversmithing to an even wider audience in 2010. This year, there will be more than 15 selling events held in galleries and specialist shops across the UK, taking place from 7 June. Every exhibition will give the public the chance to see the best in British design talent using one of the most precious of metals: silver.

Modern silversmithing in the UK is enjoying a renaissance unparalleled since the 18th century. Contemporary design in silverware is crossing the boundaries between art and functionality – stylish, statement pieces of silverware that reflect modern living. Visitors to exhibitions will have the unique opportunity to ask silversmiths and retailers questions about the specialist and technical art of silversmithing, and most of the pieces on display will be available for purchase.

The British Silver Week launch event will take place at London’s Pangolin Gallery on 27 April, with selling exhibitions being held across the UK from 7 June. More than 100 of the best in British silversmithing talent will participate in this year’s exhibitions.

Three silversmiths have been chosen to be the ambassadors of British Silver Week 2010. Olivia Lowe, Theresa Nguyen and Clare Ransom all agree that it is the joy of making a beautiful piece that inspires them to create pieces in silver. “It’s the enjoyment of sitting back and looking at a finished silver piece; and then it comes to life with flowers,” says Olivia Lowe. Recently qualified from the Royal College of Art, Olivia became excited by interesting forms, design and a love of making.

“I use photography first and then start sketching.” Her father was a keen gardener and Olivia was drawn to the perfect mathematical forms of dahlias and chrysanthemums. “Beauty is in the detail, a very small difference can make visual sense.”

Theresa Nguyen has a passion for making and she says that working in silver is a real adventure. She says: “Directly hammering and manipulating silver enables forms to be organically evolved.

The objects should invite people to enjoy both tactile and visual experiences.” Her small beakers have a playfulness about them, while her most recent work is highly influenced by natural form and in particular leaf forms of Camellia Japonicas, resulting in elegant vases and bowls.

Clare Ransom is in her second career, having qualified originally as a woodwind instrument maker. Following her Bachelor of Arts qualification in Metalwork & Jewellery, Clare has enjoyed a meteoric rise, winning the New Designers Goldsmiths’ Company Award and prestigious awards at the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council Awards, which recognises excellence in craftsmanship and design.

“The passion is in the material; there is something in the quality of fine silver. The metal itself is fluid and malleable. This is not so much an intellectual exercise but an artistic one. There is great beauty in the world and I seek to reflect it.”

For regular updates and more information, visit www.britishsilverweek.co.uk. A launch party for the St Paul’s Gallery exhibition will be held on 7 June.

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