It dawned on me that I have been attending New Designers for 10 years, 11 if you include my own year that I exhibited way back in 2007. Known to showcase the best of graduate designers, it's ideal for us to have all graduating jewellers and silversmiths under one roof.
Things have changed since then and I really noticed it this year to the point that I am questioning whether to attend next year.
Over the years the jewellery section of New Designers (which is always the part we are most interested in of course) has been getting smaller and smaller. First they introduced a cafe, offering stands to corporations, courses being cut left right and centre and some not being able to afford to attend. Is this something we should be worried about? Is this a cause for concern regarding our industry. It would be interesting to open a discussion about this and perhaps this is another blog post but for now I would love to share my highlights from the show.
Having attended the show for 10 years running I have seen many graduates work and it's things that are different that catch my eye. Jesmonite seems to be a popular material this year but the work of Heidi Carthew really stood out.. Perhaps it was the giant diamond shape that caught my eye, or the fact she was making vases and stands and was in the jewellery section that helped her stand out.
Cleverly crafted and beautiful, that's really what I'm looking for and Heidi has captured that in her work. Would certainly love to have one of her pieces in my house. Check out the rest of her work here.
Sara Chyan's work takes a minimalistic approach to conceptual support. Sara's latest collection really stood out from the crowd in One Year In. It is inspired by her obsession with heat, using low melting point metal - bismuth to tell the story, exploring the possibility of using temperature to access one's emotional state.
Anna Jane Younie's work is inspired by her home land of Orkney. Huge vessels that are craggy and textured making them incredibly tactile. I have discovered a love for ceramics recently and Anna's work really stood out, she was also awarded the Craft Scotland Graduate award and you can see why. Translating the beauty of Orkney into large vessels and vases.
Created by scoring, folding and forming sheet silver, the Veer series from Silversmith Alex O'Connor is inspired by a season of walking in wintertime through the raw, rural landscapes of Cornwall and Wales. Drawing on the sensory experience of place, the visual weight and overall balance of this elegant, grouped collection reflect the artist’s physical encounter with slanted rain, driving wind, and the untameable outdoors.
I was drawn to Alex' work due to the simplistic forms but what often hides behind simplicity is a complex process. We are opening The Smiddy - A Centre of Excellence for Silversmithing and Jewellery later in the year and my appreciation for Silverwear and it's complex nature has grown.
"I take inspiration from Glasgow's architectural quirks with my main focus given to the chimney tops which live above the city having no real purpose anymore. Chimneys are in some cases key to holding a building together and if removed incorrectly the building could collapse. I mimic this idea in my work building structures with both wire and sheet which if not cared for especially in the making process could meet the same fate." Rachel Hardie talking about her graduate collection that I first saw at the GSA Degree Show earlier in the year, if I remember it then they've done something right. I love the use of the black and gold and the quirky nature of her designs.
I was first attracted to Jack Durling's older work because of it's black and gold and it's tactile nature, but then it drew me in further as I could sense he was trying to say something more than the beautiful objects they were. Jack seeks to create emotive work thats brings focus upon conservational issues that are of an often ignored and complex nature. Subtle hints are incorporated to address greater problematic issues in the world in which we live today such as animal welfare concerns and pollution. Jacks compassion for wildlife protection has led him to create his latest body of work 'Cloaked Cetacea' to express the beauty and value of these species.