It's been a busy few weeks at UCA with friends and family coming to visit the degree shows. We share our show with the Contemporary Jewellery students as, although their course and skill set is slightly different to ours, we still cross over in many areas, including sharing lectures and some projects. It may be goodbye to UCA undergrad life for these students, but it is in fact hello to their professional life. Some already have plans for the future while others are still weighing up the opportunities available to them.
Here is a selection of work at the Silversmithing, Goldsmithing and Jewellery, and Contemporary Jewellery Degree Show.
Ang Li is a Silversmithing, Goldsmithing and Jewellery student, and this blue creation (which is inspired by a trip to Barcelona) won an award at the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council awards earlier this year. Proving that silversmithing doesn't have to be traditional, we can be contemporary too. The design for this headpiece was created using CAD, and then made using a 3D printer and powder coated to finish with this amazing blue.
"651.47“ is a collection of vessels by Eleanor Rooke based around the lids of existing domestic objects. Each vessel has a volume of 651.47 ml, meaning that the circumference and height of each to be dictated entirely by the size of each lid, the height increasing as the lids get smaller. Handcrafted techniques have collided with utilitarian aesthetics to create objects simplistic in their form but complex in their thought process. This is such an interesting collection, I love Eleanors conceptual work and her attention to detail. I have learnt the hard way that objects which may seem 'simple' to make are in fact usually the most difficult. They are very unforgiving and show every little mistake so you have to get them perfect. These are made of a mixture of copper and gilding metal, which is then oxidised to give this dark finish.
Eleanor will be adding to this collection by making two more vessels ready for the New Designers Exhibition, this time in silver. Thirds years get an opportunity to make their designs in precious metal thanks to a bursary from Goldsmiths. For larger items during our degree we usually use either copper or gilding metal as it is exactly the same process as using silver, but a fraction of the cost. I've seen her working away in the hammer room and they look amazing and I can't wait to see her work (along with all our other graduates) on display at New Designers.
These necklaces were created by Mary Temz (Contemporary Jewellery student) using metal with enamel. We have a great selection of enamels to use here and last month were lucky enough to have a two day masterclass with Jessica Turrell. Enamel is something that didn't appeal to me, but since the masterclass and seeing just how versatile it is I've been obsessed and have even started spinning my own bowls so I can experiment with enamel techniques. The masterclasses are fantastic for giving you a taste of new techniques with a professional, and Jessica certainly knows what she is doing with enamels.
Here is a bowl I made using the spinning technique (sort of like wood turning, but with metal) then added various layers of enamel to the inside to create this effect. I actually used a sink strainer as a stencil, proving imagination is more important than expensive equipment.
Another Silversmithing student is Jay Wilde who used silver with gold, and also titanium and niobium. He could create various colours on the latter metals using an anodising technique. He did explain it fully, but I'm not very scientifically minded so the gist is you get this effect using electric water.
The degree show isn't just a place to show off your degree work, but also a good place to start networking and getting your name out and about. As Jay found - he received five commissions from members of the public who came to view the show. Although he has a workshop at home he is considering setting up a co-operative with other graduates, so who knows what the future will hold? Last years graduates seem to be doing very well within the silversmithing world and I have no doubt that this years crop are sure to follow in their footsteps.
Buse Aksay is a Contemporary Jewellery student, and she uses wood and plastic to create a collection colourful necklaces and brooches. I love how she has attached the chain, such an effective solution.
A table in the middle of the room has a selection of students sketchbooks and test pieces, so you can see where they found their inspiration, the thinking behind the work and how they arrived at their final designs.
I can only imagine how the third years are feeling at the moment. Probably a mixture of relief and sadness to have finished the course, with excited apprehension of what the future will bring. And I can't help but think of my own university experience; it doesn't feel like two minutes ago that I walked through those doors for the very first time. And now I only have one year left - crikey! Time certainly flies when you are having fun...