Charlotte Dew
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Taking Inspiration - Five Online Collections to get your Creativity Flowing

Inspiration comes in many forms and can be found in a broad range of places. During lockdown I have kept my make-shift desk creative with arrangements of flowers, postcards, and ceramics. Fresh eyes and new circumstances have caused many of the domestic and decorative objects around me to appear anew.

However, I have undeniably missed the opportunity to be inspired by jewellery and silversmithing that putting on the Goldsmiths’ Centre’s exhibitions usually affords.

In the absence of the ‘real thing’, online collections have provided an unexpectedly satisfying fix of inspiring objects. Our apprentices and foundation students have also turned to online sources to stimulate projects and ideas, in particular those of the Victoria and Albert Museum; historic jewellery used as a stimulus for new designs, fit for the present day.

If you are seeking inspiration, here are five of my favourite collections online:

1) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Remember to search for ‘jewelry’, rather than ‘jewellery’. My last search returned 10,477 wonderful results: examples of jewellery from pre-history to the present day.

2) Crafts Council, London

The Crafts Council has been collecting contemporary jewellery since the 1970’s and holds just under 400 innovative, sometimes intriguing and often beautiful pieces. An advanced search, selecting ‘jewellery’ in the ‘category’ option will return the best results.

3) Museum of Design, Zurich

The eMuseum presents over 1,500 objects. If you opt for the ‘English’ version and search for ‘jewelry’ you will get a fantastic array of returns, including advertising and designs for jewellery, as well as the pieces themselves.

4) Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney

If you are interested in objects with stories from a diverse range of cultures, searching this collection should appeal, from Chinese funerary jewellery to pieces in buffalo horn by James Grove & Sons of Shropshire.

5) British Museum, London

The British Museum has just relaunched its online collections search facility and it is well worth a look. Exploring the term ‘jewellery’ brings results from all cultures and times.

Before lockdown we were enjoying meeting many of you, our Creative Links members, for Creative Inspiration Workshops in museums and collections across London and further afield. We hope that we will be able to programme these events again soon.

In the meantime, you might be interested to check out the collections at some of the places we visited over the last 18 months:

Chitra Collection, London

A wonderful private museum of historic teawares.

Crafts Study Centre, Farnham

An internationally acclaimed collections of 20th and 21st century British craft.

Museums Sheffield

An encyclopaedic collection that includes fantastic metalwork.

Museum of London

A collection that probably needs no introduction, but takes on a whole new dimension when you search the many objects that are kept behind the scenes, and are not usually on display.