This year the annual Three Choirs Festival returns to the city of Worcester for a glorious week of music in the historic Cathedral.
The Worcestershire Guild of Designer Craftsmen will, once again, be celebrating the event by hosting a contemporary craft fair in the Cathedral grounds, presenting a selection of work from local designer makers.
Alongside the Worcestershire Guild will be members of the Cotswold and Herefordshire Craft Guilds, both of whose home cities also play host to the Three Choirs Festival, on alternate years.
The show opens on Saturday 26th July and runs until Saturday 2nd August, opening from 10am to 8pm each day.
I recently spent the weekend at Desire in London surrounded by a wonderful collection of jewellery and silverware from some of the finest makers in the country. In the heart of Kensington the event has just moved into, hopefully, a new permanent home where it can grow and build up quite a following.
Besides the jewellery on show it was encouraging and inspiring to see so much silverware represented – British Silverweek brought a considerable amount of new talent with it to sit alongside more established makers like Andrew MacGowan and Esther Lord.
Showed a sumptuous little selection of her neat, smoothly curving vessels, off set by their jagged tops and beautifully tactile in form.
Brought this little vessel along – just look at the beautiful, intricate detailing on the lid:
it makes what could be quite a heavy piece feel delicate – and makes a lovely feature of the hinge.
and I had a quick chat with Kathrine Hinton who makes use of some wonderful new technologies (computer modelling, digital hammer blows and some very fine rapid prototyping) to produce tiny, detailed vessels and jewellery with surfaces that you just want to hold and explore:
Today I set my work up at Birmingham’s annual selling exhibition of contemporary jewellery and silverware. Centrepiece, now in it’s 15th year is a showcase for some of the best makers in the Jewellery Quarter and well worth a visit (though I say so myself …)
This year some new and guest designers have joined the show bringing in ideas about ethical gold, recycled work and some inventive use of new technologies. Here are a few of the highlights:
and a sneaky peak at what’s in my cabinet:
The show is open from Thursday 15th November until Sunday 23rd December from 10.30am – 8.30pm (or later) everyday and is staffed by the designers – so you just might be buying work straight from the hands that made it!
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.
The newcomers section at this year’s British Craft Trade Fair was an especially vibrant and lovely place, filled with exciting ideas and makers keen to talk about their work and how their businesses are developing.
Emily Knight trained up in Glasgow and her work has a beautiful emphemeral quality about it. She displayed her distinctive silver and enamel pieces against hand drawn sketches – which looked so wondefully natural that you can’t help feeling that the walls were an extention of her sketchbook.
She’s got a wondeful eye for setting colours together without the enamels looking harsh and the fun, quirky details (like the little silver bicycles) makes them wonderful and light.
Then, just down the aisle from me was this lovely stand:
featuring work from Maneggi, who, well – has a thing for ribbons … and wonderfully sculptural things she does with them too. With a really sensitive eye for colour she combines ribbons and pearls into little wearable structures:
They have quite a soft, vintage feel which is given a classic edge by her use of the pearls and other beads that give form to her pieces.
And just one aisle over was the work of Karen Fox, another recent graduate with a passion for neat, structured pieces built up out of layers of texture. Her larger scale ruffle pieces (like the collar that you can just see on the left) wouldn’t look out of place at the ballet and have a defnite theatrical, Elizabethan flavour that makes you want to layer them up into giant sculptures.
The whole show catalogue is online here for you to get a flavour of just how much craft work was on show.
It was a truly stunning collection of work from new and established makers alike which gives me a lot of hope for the future of the creative industries in the UK – it’s really wonderful to be working in so vibrant a marketplace.