Crawford Building, Level 4
20th – 28th May
The plethora of colour and diversity of materials that await the viewer within the Jewellery and Metal Design degree show exhibition space pays testament to the superfluity of opportunities on offer to the students of this discipline. Although traditional jewellery, woodworking and silversmithing techniques underpin the majority of the work on display, the use of more modern practices such as laser cutting and 3D printing have allowed students to push the boundaries of their abilities and imagination. The sheer range of materials incorporated into the work on display is remarkable; saw-pierced sterling silver and gemstones glisten and shine amongst polypropylene, industrial steel mesh, ceramics and LED lights. Furthermore, the variety of products produced is not only restricted to jewellery; lighting and tableware are also on display.
Throughout the three years that students commit to this course of study, traditional practices are introduced to provide a foundation for future design and experimentation. Saw-piercing, soldering, folding and gemstone setting techniques are all evident within the degree show exhibition and provide a basis for students to develop their own individual style and practice. It is encouraging to see that silversmithing is amongst these cherished skills. Alice-Marie Cairns has developed her own hand-raising tools to create silver-plated copper vessels of the most bizarre and elongated shapes, providing an exploration of the traditional forms we associate with silver vessels. Adhering to more traditional forms, the work of Iona Hamilton translates botanical specimens into metal in a delicate and mesmerising fashion.
The influence of nature is evident amongst the work of many of the soon-to-be graduates. Possibly the most arresting example of this is a collection entitled ‘Exoskeleton’ by Ellen Whealing. Ellen aspires to enter the world of costume design and film, and her beetle-inspired neck pieces and gloves certainly add drama to the exhibition. Lustrous colours and hydraulic-pressed aluminium convey the structure of elytra, the protective wing cases of these insects. Repeating units and kinetic appendages add to the illusion of an army of beetles scuttling along to greet the viewer.
Both the beauty and savagery of nature are also highlighted in a collection of wax cast rings by Marija Liasenko, which contrast the lustrous appearance of silver with striking blood red and bright yellow gemstones and textured forms. Marija’s work is a perfect example of the craftsmanship we expect from a jeweller, with each piece highly polished and well finished.
Narrative and fine art jewellery are well represented within the exhibition, with Stewart McKenzie’s geometric neon and mirrored laser cut creations shedding light upon the artist himself, and the ceramic collages of Hannah George lamenting upon the often skewed perception of women in the media. The wanderlust of Eileen Catriona Pottle is explored within her collection of modular jewellery, entitled Pic ‘n’ Mix. The beautiful pastel shades and little cast metal figures can be arranged as desired by the wearer, perhaps reminiscing upon one’s own travel experiences.
There is no doubt that the diversity of work on display in Jewellery and Metal Design provides a fascinating insight into the creativity of the students studying this degree course, but it also provides a rich narrative of how we use and interact with materials ranging from metals to wood, plastic and even light and water. These materials and how they are used not only provide us with beautiful adornments for ourselves and our environments, but they also tell a fascinating story of how we interact with the world around us.