Goldsmiths' Fair - London 2018
Goldsmiths’ Fair. The majestic and magnificent Goldsmith Hall in London banking district, is the perfect setting for a fine jewelry gathering. Every year, it welcomes 138 artists, amongst the very best contemporary designer craftsmen working in gold and silver.
The theme of the exhibit “The Nature of Silver”, explores the relationship between artists and nature (a theme explored in fashion by the V&A in its exhibit “Fashioned by Nature” which I reviewed in a previous post).
Objects from nature are gilded and beautified with silver, gold, rutilant stones. Or they are “imitated” through the use of mesmerizing techniques that can re-create to perfection the crevices of a wood bark, the wind in the branches or germinating seeds.
Showing here Boyd Nautilus Cup, 1968 by David Thomas - Unicorn Horn Balance, 1966 by Louis Osman - Coconut Cup, 1961 by Gerald Benney (courtesy of Goldsmisths’ Fair).
Although most of the jewelry presented is of rather traditional style, my eye was caught by a small group of contemporary jewelry artists that push the envelope when it comes to techniques, inspiration and story telling. Here is my “Best Of” selection:
Jonathan is based in Glasgow and his conceptual practice is heavily inspired by his environment. He uses complex lost wax casting techniques to tell you the story - of a walk around Glasgow depicted on this brooch; of his numerous train journeys back and forth to London where he teaches - he made this necklace on the train and has the train tickets to prove it!
I fell in love with this brooch, so delicate and full of poetry.
Always full of surprises, Jed yet again created a strong collection with a multitude of elements: sterling silver ribbons, strings of pearls, burned olive wood and the glass domes, tubes, boxes that encase her imaginary world. A delicate palette of greys and off whites gives it all great elegance. Can you see the strands of oxidized silver on this monumental necklace?
Lucy Martin plays with movement, cuts, colors, asymmetrical arrangements and angular structural shapes. The risk of such diversity creating a chaotic piece is averted by her mastery of colors and balance of the shapes – somehow it works and very well so. Her pieces are joyous and the delicate articulation brings it to life in symbiosis with the body.
It’s impossible to resist Stephanie’s U.F.O – Unique Finger Ornaments. They are astonishingly comfortable to wear and intriguing all the same. Intensely colorful resin elements shaped like rolling waves, are encased in gold mounting that wrapped themselves around and over your finger to take over the best part of your hand. Others resemble spikes, drops or chopped off pyramids.
Confined to a wheelchair and unable to handle her tools herself, Romilly’s pieces come out of her mind fully formed. Using a specific “language” they have developed over the year, she verbally guides her makers to make the pieces exactly as she wants them. Romilly is fascinated by antique metal objects or fragments found on beaches with metal detectors – medieval buckles, roman coins, bronze buttons. She transforms them into almost mythical objects while preserving their historical roots in the design. The result is an other-worldly collection that transports the mind to far away shores – she calls it New Found Lands.
John’s pieces are living objects. Movement is fundamental to his practice – from a small pair of earrings inspired by bird wings to hugely oversized blade-like necklaces, fully articulated, sitting on your shoulders to frame your entire persona. Mechanical pieces is what comes to mind first – however, the clever mechanism incorporated in each piece makes it espouse the body and converts it into true body ornament. A genius mind.
When sculpted pieces of wood trick you into thinking you are looking at gems. Many artists use wood in their jewelry – few do it as skillfully as Cristina Zani. I love the fact that it is the wood elements that screate the value of the piece rather than the precious metal. Totally playful, gloriously oversized – it’s a very empowering piece.
I have to finish with Emmeline whom I have followed for several years. She never ceases to impress and delight. It is evident her background in sculpture gives her a unique approach to jewelry – each piece looks like a wearable sculpture. The embedding of the precious metal scales in the Perspex materialises a very raw, almost reptilian ombré, made irresistible by its preciousity.
I hope you enjoy these stories. If any of the artists has touched your heart, feel free to send drop them a line and tell them so - it is a wonderful way to support their work. Of course, it’s even better if you commission a piece from them. It’s easily done even from far away.