Goldsmiths Fair 2011

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Goldsmiths Fair 2011

I find it hard to describe Goldsmiths Fair to my non-silversmithing friends. The closest I’ve come so far is saying that it’s like New York Fashion Week. There are hot new designers, old favourites stunning you with their new collections, new heights of genius and always some starring talent that you somehow missed on a previous visit who’s ready and waiting to astound you now.

I suppose, in reality it’s just a fair, like any other, but somehow it manages to eclipse all those others and shine as the countries finest annual gathering of silver and jewellery talent.

I love it. The thought of aspiring to it terrifies me, but I love it all the same.

It inspires me and makes me realise again just how passionate I am about this industry.

Some of the things I saw which made an impression on me this year are:

Samantha Moore makes small silverware, she’s a lovely person and was happy to spend some time showing me her wonderful little tea infusers. The two halves of these snick together so easily, look so neat and are so beautifully funstional that I was awed.

I first saw William Lee‘s work at Collect a couple of years ago, the photographs of it totally don’t do it justice. All those little stripes on the surface are tiny verticle rows of hammer marks and vase itself is almost the size of a beachball. You know, one of those giant stripey ones you had as a kid?

Looking into it is marvellous, it’s hard to image how the thing was raised – just turning the weight alone must be a challenge, but clearly one that’s worth it.

Then, way down on the other end of the scale, is Vicki Amberley Smith. Her work is exquiste, all precise detail and clever use of materials. All her work is wearable, which is an unusual touch in something inspired by something so three dimensional.

So that was Week One at the Fair. I can’t make next week, sadly, which means I’ll miss seeing work like this:

but then there’s always next year …

Photographing Jewellery (playing with the light tent)

Photographing my work is something that I really struggle with. When you work in such a visual medium it’s very easy to be let down by poor photographs – and I’m always paranoid that mine don’t do the details my work justice.

In the past I’ve taken my own (which I can never get a perfect white background on) and paid for photography (some of which I love, others of which I was horribly disappointed with). So, it’s a very tricky thing – made more difficult by the highly reflective nature of silver.

Then I spotted this blog by the lovely Eileen Moylan  , an Irish Silversmith, who’s been using a light tent to photograph her work  . It looked like the ideal solution so I headed on over to eBay sharpish and bought myself one for the princely sum of nine pounds ninety-nine.

It looks like this:


Cute no?

Images of it in use on Amazon seemed to suggest that you needed high power photographers light too – but I just shone my daylight lamp through the top of it and the effect seems remarkably similar:


It came with lining sheets – presumably to provide a nice smooth white background but I struggled to iron the creases out of them and instead opted for lying a good old fashioned sheet of card inside the tent:


and, after a little photoshopping the images came out a lot whiter than I’ve achieved before:


it’s by no means perfect but I reckon that a little more work on Corel (and maybe just snipping the item out of the background too) would get these magazine ready.

What I really like about the tent is the little ‘door’ for the front with the slit in. It cuts down on the chance of the work reflecting your surroundings (and, in my case, reflacted my bright green camera too) and gets the tone nice and even across the object.

Photographing my necklaces was a little more challenging – in hindsight I probably should have turned the tent on it’s side and photographed them from above – but contructing a necklace hanging trapeze type structure was bags more fun:


though I’ll try the other angle soon to improve the results:


Today in the workshop …

… has been a day of experimenting with some new ideas. It’s always an exciting time and, chances are these will evolve into something totally different, but here’s what I got through today:

a little drawing

some press form making

followed by press forming


and assembling

to be followed shortly but some etching, texturing, and maybe even a little drilling …