‘Living Silver – Contemporary Silver For The Home’
In collaboration with
Contemporary British Silversmiths
16th November 2019 – 5th January 2020
Download the exhibition catalogue
At Augustus Brandt Gallery, Petworth
Press Release 2019
Augustus Brandt Gallery is very proud and excited to announce the launch of ‘Living Silver’, an exhibition dedicated to revealing the highly creative and technically skilled work of British silversmiths today, in partnership with Contemporary British Silversmiths (CBS). Britain leads the field in contemporary silversmithing in design and manufacture, and this exhibition will present a glimpse of some of this creativity. It will show how both contemporary and traditional homes can be enhanced by a beautiful piece of silver, handmade by a skilled silversmith and create the heirlooms of the future within the context of the home.
The silversmiths represented, many of whom have won multiple awards, are all members of CBS, the leading association for contemporary silver in the U.K. Uniquely for an exhibition of this kind, silver will be displayed both in cabinets and within the setting of the elegant Augustus Brandt interiors, providing a special opportunity to see how silver stands out in a home setting. The members represented have been hand-picked from across the country, with many makers represented in national collections and collected by private individuals and celebrities alike.
Alongside the exhibition, there will be limited edition silver Christmas tree decorations available to buy from the Augustus Brandt retail outlet. Each of these pieces are handmade in solid silver and bear the hallmark of one of Britain’s four assay offices. Designed as unique and special gifts, they can be used as Christmas decorations or given as christening and wedding presents. CBS has been producing this annual collection since 2002 and these pieces represent the wide variety of skills and techniques within the membership. Some pieces are hand hammered while others are decoratively embellished with materials such as shagreen and gold plate.
On Saturday 16 November Augustus Brandt will launch the exhibition with an opportunity for visitors to ‘Meet the Makers’.
A discussion with Chair of Contemporary British Silversmiths and exhibitor, Angela Cork, will provide insight into their craft in the 21st Century and will be followed by demonstrations of some of the different skills and techniques at the workbench.
Highlights of the exhibition include works from the following silversmiths:
Image: ‘Storm Bowl’ Sterling silver 30 x 30 x 30 cm
Hamish Dobbie designs and creates work that balances traditional craftsmanship and digital design from his workshop in Glasgow. Inspired by the landscape of Scotland, the rugged feel of the scenery heavily influences the shapes and textures of his work.
Dobbie’s work has been recognised by multiple awards as well as being exhibited in several public and private collections including The Pearson Collection and The National Museum of Scotland. He sells work in the UK and internationally. Dobbie comments:
“Inspired by the landscape of Scotland, the rugged feel of the landscape has heavily influenced the shapes and textures that I have implemented in my work. I have been combining hammering, chasing, engraving and 3D printing along with various precious metal plating processes to create the works to date. As an ongoing body of work, further experiments develop from these combinations and I have been exploring more direct combinations of digital and handmade elements. I create works that looks found not made but with a function.”
‘Storm Bowl’ is inspired by the flowing basalt formations of the Isle of Staffa in Scotland. The crashing waves and the deep dark colour of the basalt are created digitally through 3D printing to begin with and then are developed by hand and hundreds of components are put to create the final form. Techniques used include 3D printing, hand construction in wax, as well as casting. The piece is made from sterling silver and left with an oxidised finish.
Image: ‘Infinitude’ Sterling silver 21 x 30 x 30 cm.
Miriam Hanid offers a perfect mixture of poetic and musical lines to her work with a bold application.
Hanid’s work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions across the UK and internationally, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, KunstHalle Wurth, Germany and Liang Yi Museum, Hong Kong; ‘Collect’ at the New Saatchi Gallery; The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; Inhorgenta, Germany; Petronas Towers, Malaysia; and Häme Castle, Finland.
‘Infinitude’ is inspired by the sea and reflections on the sheer vastness of the ocean drawing on parallels with feelings of infinity within cosmic space. Hanid comments:
“The essence of movement in water is the main inspiration for Infinitude. I feel that water is synonymous with love in all its physical and metaphorical representations. In water there is an endless, never repeating range of forms and patterns, each with its own unique and intricate beauty, giving me an infinite visual language with which to express my ideas. Water makes up life – it flows throughout nature and is part of all living things. For me this also represents divine love, all-permeating and free-flowing among beings and the other boundless possibilities of life. Infinitude is my interpretation of the connectivity between all beings.”
Image: ‘Ease In/Out Cubic’ Britannia Silver 16 x 14 x 8 cm.
Mary Ann Simmons
Mary Ann Simmons is one of the UK’s leading design-led silversmiths. She specialises in clean, minimal linear forms and personalised future heirlooms.
Designed and made for the ‘Dark Side’ exhibition at the Goldsmiths’ Company, this pair was created to reflect the other’s shape whilst contrasting its colour: their soft surfaces, one of whitened silver, the other of luxurious, oxidised blackened silver. Simmons comments:
“Being a maker involves a close association with geometry, particularly when the starting point is box making. In this set, the straight sides of box making give way to an exploration of curves involving an interesting discovery; curves types have names. The curve making up this pair is called ‘ease in (out) cubic’. These vessels are exact replicas in shape and their placement by the user; aligned at their edges facing opposite directions or facing the same way, allows the user to create their own curved construct. Contrasting in colour, the tradition of high polished silver is exchanged for soft surfaces, one of whitened silver the other of luxurious, oxidised blackened silver.”
Image: ‘Unzipped Plates’ Sterling Silver 15cm diameter
Rajesh Gogna is the fourth generation of goldsmith/silversmith in his family who creates one-off pieces of functional and sculptural collectable art objects. He is a descendant of the Rajput caste who were goldsmiths to the Royal families in Rajasthan, India from the late 1800’s. He created silverware for the Government of India in 2005 inspired by historical artefacts. Rajesh has his work in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Cartwright Hall in Bradford.
From his studio in rural Leicestershire, he uses traditional handcrafted techniques to produce all of his work with the addition of his unique concepts to contemporise the ancient craft of silversmithing. He is interested in how silver ‘lives’ on furniture. Rajesh has established an impressive portfolio commanding interest both nationally and internationally through his unique approach to design
Gogna’s piece in the exhibition, ‘Unzipped Plates’ celebrates the fluidity of silver, with the zip feature capturing a sense of fabric and tactility urging you to want to hold the pieces in your hands. The Un-Zipped series explores the sophisticated invention of the zipper and juxtaposing it within an unexpected context of tableware. It also investigates the potential of silver to become interpreted as ‘cloth’. The pieces are handmade using traditional silversmithing techniques and the finest craftsmanship.
Image: ‘Hoopoe Sun Worshipper Bowl’ Sterling silver and glass 23 x 20 x 20 cm
Bryony Knox’s elegant work brings a hint of humour and glamour to the simple items used in daily rituals. Covering a wide span from the theatrical to the everyday, her designs cleverly combine figurative sculpture and functionality with a large dollop of wit. Each individual piece is brought to life using the techniques of repousse and chasing, often combined with glass, enamel or gilded details, creating contemporary functional silverware with a twist.
Knox’s piece, ‘Hoopoe Sun Worshipper Bowl’ is inspired by the stunning Hoopoe bird when it unfurls its wings to bask in the sun. This bird, with its distinctive plumage is found in the Mediterranean, Middle East and Africa and has inspired many world myths and fables. The silver wings are articulated and can be open and shut, as well as the entire sculptural lid being able to be removed from the glass bowl.