Seven Smiths: new work in metal and silver

13 November - 31 December 2007

Seven Smiths brings together the new work of seven of the UK’s leading silversmiths. Each has exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally, and between them their work is represented in most of the major public collections. Blackwell, filled with exquisite handwork in wood, stone and plaster, provides the peculiarly fitting backdrop for these new examples of an age-old craft. Some of the pieces made for Seven Smiths have evolved as a direct response to the Arts and Crafts Movement, the house and its spectacular setting.

Winner of the 2005 Jerwood Prize for Metalwork, German-born Simone ten Hompel is currently Visiting Lecturer at Camberwell School of Art. She has worked with metal since the age of 11, her unique range of skills finding its basis in her early beginnings in locksmithing and blacksmithing. Her pieces are expressive and absorbing, reflecting her fascination with the domestic use of silver.

Michael Lloyd graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1976; he works largely to commission, having made many commemorative and liturgical pieces, such as the mace for the New Scottish Parliament and York Minster’s Millennium Chalice. Environmental awareness is at the core of his work, which celebrates the beauty and regenerative power of nature.

Having trained at Sheffield College of Art, Adrian Hope established his first workshop in Edinburgh. Hope now lives and works in Stobo, a hamlet on the upper Tweed; although he does not define natural forms as his inspiration, he admits that living without this rural setting would be a sacrifice. Hope aims to create work with qualities that make it “direct and approachable and tactile”.

Croatian-born Vladimir Bohm lives and works in London, having trained at London Metropolitan University. He works with precious metals, transforming spare vessel forms by applying the iridescence of glass enamel. “The act of making is crucial to my way of thinking. I try to use simple techniques imaginatively in order to push my chosen medium further and to compose visually the sense of intimacy...”

For thirty years Alistair McCallum has practised the 300-year-old Japanese metalworking technique of Mokume Gane, which was first used to decorate sword fittings. Having applied the technique to jewellery he felt that he needed “a bigger surface area to play with” and so developed instead a vocabulary of vessel forms.

Silversmith/designer Coilin O’Dubhghaill studied for a doctorate in Tokyo, where he mastered a range of techniques using coloured metal inlays, or irogane, which he now uses in combination to create vessel forms with an emphasis on surface pattern and colour. He is currently a research fellow at Sheffield Hallam University, researching the production and application of Japanese alloys, such as the copper/gold shakudo alloy, and their patination.

For Rebecca de Quin, who has taught design and metalworking for fifteen years, teaching has become an integral part of her own practice, a symbiotic relationship. Her work for Seven Smiths explores a new approach to creative thinking in metal, centring around the use of an industrial press tool previously used for repeat manufacture.

Image - Alistair McCallum, Container, photographer: Andra Nelki
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