Contemporary Silver


Opening 24th July 2009

News Release

The V&A Whiteley Silver galleries will host an exhibition spanning the development of contemporary silver from the last 30 years. Outstanding pieces of silversmithing and jewellery by such renowned makers as Rod Kelly, the master of flat chasing; Jane Short, the enamellist; Jacqueline Mina goldsmith and winner of the Jerwood Prize; Professor Hiroshi Suzuki; and Malcolm Appleby the distinguished engraver. It will also show work from silversmiths and jewellers now beginning to establish their careers such as Lin Cheung, Ndidi Ekubia and Angela Cork as well as younger artists whose work displays outstanding talent. The link connecting these artists is the Bishopsland Fellowship, based on the training workshop in South Oxfordshire where recent graduates spend a cloistered year learning their trade and acquiring the skills of professional practice. Hardly known outside the craft of silver, Bishopsland nurtures young talent and inspires a confidence and an artistic self-reliance as well as a vibrant community endeavour in the making of beautiful objects. This year the current gang have taken as their inspiration the outstanding Gilbert Collection, now magnificently displayed at the V&A. Some of the finest objects have been deconstructed, minutely redrawn and then recreated as contemporary objects, pirouetting cheekily before their olders and betters. Many of the Senior Fellows already have works on long-term loan to the V&A. On display will be the fine diamond-studded boat-shaped box by David Thomas of 1987 and Ndidi Ekubia’s exuberant punchbowl created for the Crafts Council collection in 1999. The earliest piece on show is Jane Short’s deeply coloured, mysterious vase for the V&A produced in the year she graduated from the RCA in 1979. It stands beside a recent work for the Weavers’ company, vibrant with life and colour, each piece gracefully complementing the other. Other artists have chosen to make a new piece for the exhibition, notably Ane Christiansen who delights in complex explorations of a single piece of silver, and Miriam Hanid, fast becoming renowned for delicate combinations of raising with engraving. Other areas of this exhibition display the many facets of Bishopsland. For most Fellows the priority is to set up their own workshop and to start to establish their career. Some prefer to take an MA first. Since its foundation in 1993, Bishopsland has had 116 silversmiths or jewellers through its doors and of these 39 have followed the MA route, 30 at the Royal College of Art. Presenting, displaying and selling work is a key element of the course and over the years Bishopsland has exhibited all over the UK, from Shetland to Powys and from London to Gateshead. Its roots though are firmly in the South Oxfordshire countryside where its course members teach in local schools, and maintain close and valued contacts with Nadfas and its founding Henley branch Hedfas.

Ends on December 10th

Entrance to the Exhibition is free, as is entrance to the V&A

Details on the opening times and directions to the venue, please visit The Victoria and Albert Museum website

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