Inspiration: Richard Long & Pamela Rawnsley

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Last week I attended the first of what will, hopefully, be many lectures in the memory of Pamela Rawnsley, an inspirational jeweller and silversmith who died last year.

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Vessels by Pamela Rawnsley

 

She was very much driven by her love of the landscape, something that comes through very clearly in her work and for that reason when the Contemporary British SIlversmiths association organised the lecture they asked a favourite influence of hers, artist Richard Long, to speak.

The first piece of his work that I ever saw was probably his most iconic:

Richard Long, A Line Made by Walking, 1967
Richard Long, A Line Made by Walking, 1967

A Line Made by Walking. Simple, utterly effective and a distinctly human thing on the landscape.

It seems to be the thing that’s gone on to influence many of his other pieces, over and over, through the years. He said at the talk that ‘replicating his walking and his line making [over time] has formed a point of view‘. His endless walking and making and leaving of lines has come to define him, to build the work of his life. Apparently it didn’t seem like much at the time, just a sculpture that was made, like so many others, while he was out walking, but returning to the essence of it so many times over the years has given it deep significance.

Richard Long, A Line in Bolivia, 1981
Richard Long, A Line in Bolivia, 1981
Richard Long Road Stone Line, China, 2010
Richard Long Road Stone Line, China, 2010

Alongside lines he builds circles:

Richard Long A Circle in Antarctica
Richard Long A Circle in Antarctica

both starkly (like this white one in Antarctica) and in beautifully subtle ways like these circles in South America:

Richard Long ACONCAGUA CIRCLE Argentina, 2012
Richard Long ACONCAGUA CIRCLE Argentina, 2012
Richard Long, A Circle in the Andes, 1972
Richard Long, A Circle in the Andes, 1972

These are probably the ones that I like best, because they dare you to believe that they occurred naturally and make you re-evaluate the landscape that you’re seeing and your place in it.

To find out more about the Memorial Fund, or to donate to it. click here.

Fit for Purpose – Contemporary British Silversmiths at the V&A

When I was in London for Jewellery Week I made some time to sneak down to one of my favourite parts of the city – the Victoria and Albert Museum. Over the summer it’s hosting a show for the Contemporary British Silversmith‘s Society entitled ‘Fit for Purpose‘.

At the back of the silver galleries is a delicious little case filled with contemporary silverware:

The show has an interesting concept given that, in the last century or so, the market for silver has changed so radically and the ‘purpose’ for which most silverware is now made has shifted. Gone are the days of large firms making household, utilitarian silverware and the market is now much more dominated by studio makers exploring the craft for private clients and small retailers.

The work on display is varied, from that clearly designed for a more traditional purpose – like Louise Mary‘s salad servers (utilitarian, but no less elegant for being so) to the intentionally conceptual pieces of Rajesh Gogna.

There’s also a beautiful piece of Kevin Grey‘s laser welded work, a stunning set of angular beakers from Mary Ann Simmons and a wonderful sculptural tray from Alex Ramsey, which bears her distinctive and delicate cut patterning spread across a form I’ve not seen before.

For a small case it’s a wonderful collection of work that’s well worth a visit – the show continues in the V&A silver galleries until the 16th of September 2012.