Isabel Keim
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Little Gems 23 March – 13 May 2015

This March Galvanize Sheffield: Festival of Contemporary Metal will be showcasing Little Gems, a decade of commissioned work by 22 talented early career designer makers from Yorkshire Art Space in Sheffield, at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in Clerkenwell from 23 March – 13 May 2015.

Little Gems brings together the collection of contemporary precious metal artworks, commissioned through the Sheffield Assay Office’s annual competition from 2005 to 2015 and created by up and coming silversmiths on the Starter Studios programme at Yorkshire Art Space. This is the first time that their collective work has been shown outside of Sheffield and alongside a new collaborative design created between young talented designer makers: Jennifer Ricketts at Yorkshire Art Space and Ben Ryan / Rupert Todd at the Goldsmiths’ Centre. Their design encapsulates the longstanding tradition of metal skills and emerging silversmith talent in Sheffield and London as well as their common early career routes based in Starter Studios. 

The exhibition includes beautifully designed and made precious metal objects, which include tableware, cake stands, cheese boards, cutlery, decanters and cups to treasure boxes. Work is presented by the following makers: Katey Felton, Paul Butler, Rebecca Lawley, Owen Waterhouse, Victoria Kershaw, Amba McNamara, Maya Selway, Victoria Delany, Sarah Denny, Rebecca Joselyn, Christina Spencer, Sarah Stevenson, Charlotte Tollyfield, Stefan Tooke, Anne Davis, Andrew Sutherland, Sally Cox, Alexander Kerrison, Zoe Watts, Colette Bishop, Sarah Pasley, Jennifer Ricketts, Ben Ryan and Rupert Todd. 

Ruth Moir, Events and Exhibitions Manager explains: “The Goldsmiths’ Centre has supported emerging design talent through mentoring and fully-equipped and subsidised Starter Studios since it opened its doors in 2012. Hosting Little Gems has given us a unique opportunity to work with Jennifer, Ben and Rupert and commission a new design piece, not only showcasing their exceptional skills but also the strong links between the two cities.” 

“This display of Little Gems is priceless in terms of skills, ideas, design and vision. These elements all contribute to establishing very special craftspeople to making a career in silversmithing. I am very proud to have been involved in this unique project from the start” said Sheffield Assay Master, Ashley Carson. 

Rachel Dodd from Yorkshire Artspace comments “The Little Gems commission is an incredibly valuable opportunity for our Starter Studio silversmiths who are at a relatively early stage in their career. Not only does it allow them to explore new ideas and create new work but also gain valuable experience of the application process. At the end of their two years supported by us the majority of the makers continue to work as silversmiths”.  

Sheffield Assay Office and Museums Sheffield as owners of the collection are delighted to see the objects finally exhibited and wish to thank all the partners and sponsors: Galvanize Sheffield Festival of Contemporary Metal, Sheffield Assay Office, Yorkshire Artspace, Museums Sheffield and the Goldsmiths’ Centre.

Notes to Editors

Galvanize Sheffield: Festival of Contemporary Metal

Sheffield Assay Office

Established in 2007 as a partnership organisation to promote and celebrate all things metal within the city of Sheffield

Yorkshire Artspace

Established under an Act of Parliament in 1773 to test and hallmark silver, today the office tests and hallmarks Silver, Gold Platinum and Palladium and runs an Analytical Services Laboratory.  The company own a precious metal collection which is displayed across the city and loaned to other organisations. One of the largest and most established studio providers in the UK, currently offering affordable workshop space for over 140 artists and craftspeople in 4 buildings in Sheffield  YAS aim to be a centre of excellence for the support of artists and makers. Home to the Starter Studio Programme for silversmiths and jewellers sponsored by Sheffield Assay Office.

Museums Sheffield

Museums Sheffield Museums Sheffield is the charitable Trust responsible for three of the city’s museums and galleries: Millennium Gallery, Weston Park Museum and Graves Art Gallery. Our vision is providing inspirational museums and galleries where people can reflect upon the past, question the present and imagine the future. Sheffield's metalwork collection is one of the finest in the world. It contains the cutlery, flatware, tableware and personal objects that have made Sheffield famous, plus beautiful objects collected from every continent.

The Goldsmiths’ Centre

The Goldsmiths’ Centre is the leading charity for the professional training of goldsmiths. We bring together trainee and working goldsmiths and those interested in jewellery, silversmithing and the allied trades in a unique community that works and learns together to create a skilled workforce, boost the economy and promote craftsmanship in the UK.