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UCA alumna celebrates contemporary silversmithing with V&A exhibition

Silversmithing graduate Karin Paynter – who studied at one of our founding colleges, the Kent Institute for Art & Design – has worked with Contemporary British Silversmiths (the leading association for designer silver) to create a programme of events celebrating silver in contemporary life. In collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), the Goldsmiths’ Company and London Craft Week, Karin has created a unique series that features as its highlight an exhibition curated by design critic and journalist Corinne Julius – Silver Speaks: Idea to Object. This exhibition is running at the V&A until 2 July 2017.

Since graduating in 1995, Karin has worked on a number of large-scale projects. In her first venture into the professional world of silversmithing, she worked as a jewellery and accessories designer for Tateossian London, where she also managed the production of a jewellery collection for the Millennium Dome with Branson Coates Associates. She then joined the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths as Assistant to the Director, Technology and Training, where she gained unique insight into the needs of the industry and designer makers.

With this experience, Karin decided to begin working for herself in 2011 – when she was immediately asked to consult for Contemporary British Silversmiths. In 2015 she began working on the Silver Speaks project – developing the programme, overseeing the brand direction, creating partnerships, securing funding and sponsorship, and championing the exhibiting makers to get their work seen, enjoyed and commissioned by the public.

As Karin explains: “The idea of Silver Speaks came from a conversation in 2012 with Eric Turner, Curator at the V&A, where we talked about how we could show the talents of today’s silversmiths. Throughout the year-long programme we have created, Contemporary British Silversmiths is putting silver back on the world stage to show how beautiful pieces can be created to enhance contemporary living, architecture and fashion.”

The Silver Speaks programme comprises exhibitions, talks, demonstrations, workshops and a public symposium all designed to showcase the work and breadth of skill of today’s silversmiths in the United Kingdom. 

You can find out more about the Silver Speaks programmes here. Also, why not explore the range of crafts courses we offer at UCA – including Silversmithing, Goldsmithing & Jewellery; Contemporary Jewellery; Glass, Ceramics, Jewellery, Metalwork.