A selection of gold jewellery from leading British artist-goldsmiths' featured at the exhibition
Award-winning Scottish goldsmith Andrew Lamb who trained at Edinburgh College of Art and graduated from the Royal College in 2004, exploits the extreme ductility of gold, which can be drawn into a wire 100 km long from a single troy ounce (31.103 g).
By ingeniously entwining lengths of very fine 18 carat gold wire he creates jewellery which shimmers and ripples as it moves when worn on the body. Inspired by the lines and patterns that appear in nature and textiles Lamb gives a new expression to the illusionism of Optical Art.
Like curled strips of ripped paper, or part of a dried leaf, these earrings turn something commonplace, fragile and fleeting into something precious, bold and permanent.
After training first at the Central School in London and then at Lincoln College of Art and Design Eley worked alongside the enameller Fred Rich before setting up her own workshop and studio in 1989.
Her success as a jeweller meant that she could afford to start experimenting with gold, exploring its matt sheen and sculptural possibilities that continue to fascinate her.
This 18 and 22 carat gold necklace is made using the Japanese braid making technique of Kumihimo. Originating from a form of finger-loop braiding, which appeared around 550 AD, Kumihimo became increasingly complex and sophisticated over time.
Catherine Martin is the first westerner to graduate in the technique. She embraces the idea of continuing an ancient craft tradition, and giving it relevance to a modern audience, connecting East and West, past and present.
This piece was commissioned by the Goldsmiths’ Company. Martin is a member of the Craft Action Network a group of maker educators who incorporate teaching, leading workshops and creating participatory activities as part of their professional practice.
A graduate of London's Middlesex Polytechnic, and Sir John Cass School of Art, Krinos established her own workshop in London in the early 1980s. She has become well-known for her signature finish which is matt, restrained and celebrates the texture of gold, shunning over-decoration and disguise in preference for bold simplicity.
She loves the colour of gold which reminds her of the sun of her homeland, Greece. Her varied sources of influence come from a hybrid of cultures, everyday structures, and contemporary motifs.
The gold she uses is nearly always recycled from old pieces of jewellery, which is transformed phoenix-like from the crucible, into work that evades the straightjacket of categorisation.
“My jewellery is not entirely planned before I start making it," she explains. "I need to experiment with the materials rather than work to a detailed drawing. I let the materials I choose inspire the design of a piece of jewellery."
David Poston is British, but was born in Moscow, brought up in Cyprus and England and has spent considerable time working in Africa. These global Influences are reflected in his bold use of colour, form and textures.
This gold bracelet is a very unusual example of David Poston’s work which is more frequently, and very deliberately, made from non-precious metals and a variety of other materials. However its shape, form and structure follow his principles of design, which as he bluntly states, 'is not lead by the value of the material, but the relationship it establishes with the wearer's skin and the bone structure it adorns’.
The bracelet is constructed from 0.3 mm gold sheet over a wooden core by means of laser welding. He describes his work as ‘strong, restrained, uncluttered and functional‘.
His pieces combine bold forms with delicate and subtle intricacies which are influenced by his eclectic career, which began as a jeweller, then diverted to design and sustainable development, and has more recently returned to jewellery.
Jacqueline Steiger‘s 18 carat gold brooch evokes a woven city scape, crossing and connecting urban and rural, man-made and natural, art and craft, in a single bold sculptural statement.
This piece clearly reflects her training and experience; she studied painting at Edinburgh College of Art and now works as a sculptor, jeweller and medallist. The scale of her work varies from large pieces of sculpture to small intricate jewellery, from public projects for universities and churches, to private commissions for individual clients.
She does most of her own casting, a part of the making process which fascinates her, using the lost wax technique. It provides the opportunity to explore texturing, which has become her distinctive creative signature.
Danish born Kamilla Ruberg graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 2002. Gold is the first metal that she reaches for when translating her concepts into jewellery.
She captures complex geometric form, by drawing a line in gold and turning it into a three-dimensional presence. This brooch combines precision working with a soft touch, inviting the eye into a web of constantly shifting geometry, like the patterns read in Islamic tilework.
Her work has an architectural resonance, but one that is intimate, and echoes eternal harmonies. Like the mathematically inspired prints of the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972) this brooch explores infinity through the two dimensional plane of tessellation.
Such simplicity is the product of mastery of the metal.
Ramshaw is one of Britain’s leading contemporary designers, renowned for her jewellery, which she has more recently translated into large scale public art. She studied illustration and fabric design at the Newcastle-upon-Tyne College of Art and Industrial Design.
After study at Reading University she went to the Central School of Art and Design to pursue post-graduate study. When asked about her work, she explains that it is based on the geometry of the circle and the square, ‘about complication and how far you can push an idea’.
This gold brooch which is hand-pierced and soldered is representative of her ‘gold drawings’, where filled and empty space provide both strength and delicacy held in a harmonious equilibrium, it is both art and craft.
Jacqueline Mina studied jewellery at Hornsey and the Royal College of Art, was the Winner of the 2000 Jerwood Prize for Jewellery, and is one of Britain’s leading artist-goldsmiths.
She thinks of her work ‘as art in gold. I’m more interested in expressing an idea than creating a decorative object’. This handsome bracelet combines the rich lustre of strip-twisted polished gold (an ancient goldworking technique) with the enriched matted fabric-like quality of its upper panel. It sums up her fascination with form and texture, and is achieved by working directly with the metal rather than via intermediary drawings and designs.
The result is a striking immediacy and emotional engagement with gold, creating something which is both ancient and modern. The play of angle, curve and line define the presence of an absence, the impressed circle a memory of a departed object.
After completing a degree in jewellery design at Middlesex University, Kate established a business in the heart of the world famous Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. She was approached by Goldsmiths' Company to create a special piece for its Modern Jewellery Collection following her exhibiting at the Goldsmiths’ Fair.
Once the design for a seemingly simple 'collar' had been approved, therein lay the real challenge, how to make it work. Many models later, and with help from the renowned skilled maker, Charlotte de Syllas, she created laser welded hinges that remain invisible from the front.
The outside edge features her trademark 'serrated' detail, achieved by drilling tiny holes, in addition to texture through careful filing. So whilst the collar is a perfect circle, it looks organic, as if details had 'just happened'. Approximately 50 diamonds are set throughout the neckpiece, adding subtle sparkle and glamour to compliment the rich colour of the 18ct gold.
Like Grinling Gibbons the seventeenth century woodcarver who proved his skills by making a lace cravat in limewood, Tom Scott has turned metal into fabric, demonstrating the goldsmiths’ alchemical art of transforming one material into another.
Gold which is one of the heaviest metals (heavier than lead) has been turned into a light pleated scarf in a bravura demonstration of technical ability, an example of virtuoso chasing.