Laura Knowles has been interning with us for a couple of weeks to get some work experience on her year out from Glasgow School of Art, we tell you all about what brought this gem to us.Read More
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.
M E E T | A M Y D U N N A C H I E
VI | What’s your background (where are you from, what did you study)?
AD | I grew up on the Isle of Jura and then made the voyage to Glasgow (as a wee young thing!) to do a portfolio course at the Glasgow School of Art. I was then accepted to do Silversmithing and Jewellery there too.
VI | What brought you to jewellery making?
AD | I had always really enjoyed making things, but it was after doing my portfolio course that my eyes were really opened to what Jewellery and Silversmithing was all about, as we had access to the studios on campus. Jewellery as an object to me is about sentimentality, discovery, curiosity and conversation, as is the making and designing process. I think when I wondered into the jewellery studio for the first time it was all of those things, complete with a proper sense of community too.
VI | Who or what do you take your inspirations?
AD | I am particularly interested in our childhood memories and how we “create” our own nostalgia, and therefore our own happiness. All those fondly remembered antics of DIY rope swings, building dens full of coconut scented gorse bushes, rowing around the bay in ‘borrowed’ wooden dingies, first kisses behind the village hall, prank calls to the red telephone box… it’s these types of wee stories that inform the materials I use, the colours and the construction.
VI | What do you use/how do you make your work?
AD | I like to use salvaged objects such as wood, screws, nuts, lenses, material and metal such as copper, brass and silver. I use photography in all areas of my work too, right from the start (recording themes and memories) and composing in sketchbooks with samples, to actually using them as a texture and colour on the material itself. I work intuitively with materials and playfully put materials together with screws, rivets, wrapping and tension.
VI | What do you enjoy the most about making?
AD | Collecting things at the start, and also I love putting physical elements together to discover what works well – that experimental stage just before settling down to finish a piece of work. I love it!
VI | What don’t you enjoy?
AD | Emery-ing…
VI | What are your aspirations?
AD | To be at a point where I can make a living from being a maker – from boosting and encouraging creativity in my local community through workshops and sessions to collaborating with other artists for projects out with.
VI | What’s your favourite piece you have created?
AD | My favourite piece was a magnifying glass I had made for my degree show called “The Looking Glass”, made from an old salvaged camera lens and brass and was on a simple brass chain. It was the last thing I had made and really completed the collection as a whole, with its playful functional side as well as being an interesting object in its own right. I have since sold it on to a new friend who has moved to Jura from New Zealand, absolutely falling in love with the place.
VI | Who’s work do you admire?
I love the work of so many makers, writers and artists that I feel bad for only picking out a handful! That’s the start of my list anyway!
Children's book by Mac Barnett. He talks about his writing here "Art can get us to that place, that place which you could call art or fiction. I'm going to call it wonder.”
This is a massive inspiration to my approach in making and designing, that anyone can have a snippet of wonder in their lives through a good story, whether that’s through words or materials. You can watch a Ted talk by Mac Burnett here.