Isabel Keim
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Silver Speaks: Form at the Goldsmiths’ Centre

Silver Speaks: ‘Form’ is an exhibition of work by members of Contemporary British Silversmiths. It offers a behind the scenes look at the techniques that enable makers to create work in silver, while exploring their relationship with materials, processes and tools. It is part of Silver Speaks, the year long programme of events celebrating the exceptional level of creativity and skill in British silversmithing today. Running from 1st June until 23rd September 2016, it will take place at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London.

The exhibition will provide an insight into the processes behind the making of objects and what is used to create them. Showcasing 33 works alongside the makers’ tools, original samples and drawings.

The silversmiths selected were those whose designs successfully interpreted one of the themes outlined in the brief, listed below, as well as simultaneously exhibiting excellence in design and craftsmanship.

  • Strike – concerning the use of tools to form and manipulate silver to create objects
  • Construct – relating to building objects using construction techniques such as scoring or folding
  • Enrich – enhancing an object with decorative finishes such as engraving or etching
  • Colour – the application of colour to an object through patination, enameling, inlaying or gilding
  • Innovate – concerning new technologies such as rapid prototyping or the use of traditional techniques employed in new ways

Karin Paynter, Director of Silver Speaks, comments: “Form is all about celebrating the making process, demonstrating the importance of tools and materials for individual silversmiths and showcasing the breadth of craftsmanship in British silversmithing. Through the Silver Speaks programme, Contemporary British Silversmiths is putting silver on the world stage to show how beautiful pieces can be created to enhance contemporary living, architecture and fashion.”

Awarding winning multidisciplinary designer Anne Kernan will be working alongside Contemporary British Silversmiths to design the exhibition.

This exhibition complements Silver Speaks’ current V&A exhibition ‘Idea to Object’, which traces how a work in silver is brought into being from the design concept through to the final piece.


A celebration of silver in contemporary life

Exhibitions | Events | Conversations

March 2016 – July 2017 

Silver Speaks is a year-long series of events being held around the country to celebrate the exceptional level of creativity and skill in British silversmithing today. The spotlight will shine on some of the most exciting artists and designers – exploring the diverse applications of the material, from the experimental to the traditional, the sculptural to the functional. It will showcase the remarkable uses of silver and how works can be commissioned to enhance contemporary living, architecture and fashion.

The programme of events has been organised by Contemporary British Silversmiths, the leading association for design-based contemporary silver, which is sponsored by the Goldsmiths’ Company.The focus of the programme, Silver Speaks: ‘Idea to Object’ and the supporting public symposium ‘Silver in Contemporary Life’, are produced in collaboration with the V&A.

All of the following come under the umbrella of Silver Speaks:

‘Idea to Object’, curated by Corinne Julius

8th March 2016 – 2nd July 2017 (tbc)

Silver Galleries, V&A

Silver Speaks: ‘Idea to Object’traces how a work in silver is brought into being from the inspiration, through sketches, models, material experimentation and construction processes, to the final piece. The selected designs in this free display at the V&A encompass a variety of beautiful and intriguing objects – both sculptural and functional – created using a range of different processes, from the traditional to the most cutting edge.

18 of Britain’s leading silversmiths, all of whom are members of Contemporary British Silversmiths, were selected by curator and critic Corinne Julius. On display are specially commissioned works at the V&A’s Silver Galleries from 8th March 2016 – 2nd July 2017. The featured craftspeople include Rauni Higson; Kevin Grey, a car-maker who helped make the Sultan of Brunei’s series of unique Bentleys and Juliette Bigley, a health care manager for the NHS – who all went on to train as silversmiths.

This event celebrates the joint 20th anniversaries of Contemporary British Silversmiths and the V&A’s Silver Galleries.

Silver Speaks: ‘For the Nation’

Launch of the latest commission of the Silver Trust

8th March 2016 – 31st January 2017

Silver Galleries, V&A

Celebrating 30 years of commissioning contemporary British silver for its collection, The Silver Trust has unveiled its latest exciting commission at the V&A.

The Silver Trust, a registered UK charity, was founded in 1986 with the goal of supporting and showcasing the talented silversmiths working throughout the United Kingdom. Its work has been showcased through a loan of the collection, mostly to 10 Downing Street, where the pieces were conceived to be used for government entertaining. During the 30-year history of the Trust, the collection has been seen around the world through a series of exhibitions. The Trust is honoured to work with many of the greatest silversmiths in building the collection and often partners with Contemporary British Silversmiths.

Silver Speaks: ‘Silver in Contemporary Life’

Public Symposium

Date - TBC

The Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre, V&A

Tocomplement Silver Speaks: ‘Idea to Object’, there will be a one-day public symposium at the V&A. The focus will be on the role of silver, its unique properties and how it has shaped British culture from the past to the present. Leading cultural commentators, designers and silversmiths will explore silver across craft and design practices. This symposium is in partnership with Contemporary British Silversmiths and celebrates the joint 20th anniversary of Contemporary British Silversmiths and the V&A’s Whiteley Silver Galleries. The date will be announced on when it is confirmed.

Related Events

There will be a number of smaller related events, including selling shows at high profile retail outlets and galleries. Please see Silver Speaks website for more details.

There will be an opportunity for bespoke items of silver to be purchased from the V&A shop.

Booking information on all the events can be found on the Silver Speaks website:

Notes to Editors

The programme of events Silver Speaks has been organised by Contemporary British Silversmiths. For all event information please visit the website

Event:                         Silver Speaks

Dates:                         March 2016 – July 2017



Silver Speaks events include:

Event:                         Silver Speaks: ‘Idea to Object’

Dates:                         8th March 2016 – 2nd July 2017

Location:                    Silver Galleries in the V&A, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL

Telephone:                 +44 20 7942 2000

Opening Hours:         Daily: 10.00 – 17.45

Friday: 10.00 – 22.00 Friday

Admission:                 Free

Underground:              South Kensington – Circle, District and Piccadilly lines

More information:



Event:                         Silver Speaks: ‘For the Nation

Dates:                         8th March 2016 – 31st January 2017

Location:                    Silver Galleries in the V&A, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL

Telephone:                 +44 20 7942 2000

Opening Hours:         Daily: 10.00 – 17.45

Friday: 10.00 – 22.00 Friday

Admission:                 Free

Underground:              South Kensington – Circle, District and Piccadilly lines

More information:



Event:                         Silver Speaks: ‘Form’

Dates:                         1st June – 23rd September 2016

Location:                    The Goldsmiths’ Centre, 42 Britton St, London EC1M 5AD

Telephone:                 +44 20 7566 7650

Opening Hours:         08.00 – 18.00 Monday to Friday

Admission:                 Free

Underground:              Farringdon – Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City Lines

More information:


Event:                         Silver Speaks: ‘Public Symposium on Silver in Contemporary Life’

Dates:                         TBC

Location:                    V&A, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL

Telephone:                 +44 20 7942 2000

Opening Hours:         10.00 – 16.30

Admission:                 Full Price: £35, Concession: £30, Student £15

Underground:              South Kensington – Circle, District and Piccadilly lines

More information:



About Contemporary British Silversmiths

Contemporary British Silversmiths is the only professional body exclusively representing UK silversmiths both nationally and internationally. The association was set up in 1996 with the aim of raising the profile of the unique craft of silversmithing through public exhibitions.

In promoting the design and creativity of the silversmith, it has worked closely with institutions such as the Goldsmiths’ Company, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Christie’s London and the Silver Trust Collection at Downing Street to create bespoke exhibitions that support its aims of promoting contemporary silver to a global audience.

About The Goldsmiths’ Company

One of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of LondonThe Goldsmiths’ Company received its first Royal Charter in 1327. The Company’s Assay Office has been responsible since 1300 for testing the quality of precious metals.

The Company is the principal patron of modern jewellers and silversmiths, continuing to play an important role in support of the craft, funding apprenticeships and assisting with the technical training of aspiring designer-makers. 2012 saw the opening of The Goldsmiths’ Centre in Clerkenwell, a state-of-the-art home for the Goldsmiths’ Institute comprising workshops, exhibition space and conference facilities. The Company supports a wide range of other charitable causes and pursues a number of educational projects with schools.

The Goldsmiths’ Company’s private collection of silver is one of the largest in the UK, comprising 8,000 items dating from 1300 to the present day. Its contemporary collections are world renowned.


About The Goldsmiths’ Centre

The Goldsmiths’ Centre is the leading charity for the professional training of goldsmiths. Founded by The Goldsmiths’ Company in 2007, it is a charitable enterprise with a specific purpose: “To advance, maintain and develop art, craft, design and artisan skills, including in particular but without limitation, those pertaining to goldsmithing.” It does this by providing managed workspace, education and training for public benefit; fostering promoting and extending public interest in art, craft, design and artisan skills; and providing a knowledge base and community for those engaged or interested in these skills. For further information on the Goldsmiths’ Centre, visit