Charmian Adams is an avid collector of applied arts and has been an active supporter of Contemporary British Silversmiths for a number of years. Her passion for silversmithing is exemplified by sponsorship of our annual New Designers Award which is presented to a silversmithing graduate with the aim of supporting the future of silversmithing. She talks here about why she enjoys the commissioning process: 

My interest in Applied Art centres on my attraction to objects that are handmade and of good design. It began over 25 years ago when I lived in Marylebone High Street where I regularly browsed a small gallery specialising in the work of applied artists. As my interest grew, I included the Crafts Council shop and after moving to Highbury and Islington the galleries and shops there which offered a vast array of applied arts.

Through visiting exhibitions such as Goldsmiths’ Fair, Chelsea Crafts Fair and New Designers I have continued to purchased and commission original work from a range of artists. The commissioning process came about through meeting and getting to know the makers. As I have always felt it extremely important to get to know, and to have a good rapport with makers buying a piece of existing work would often lead naturally to commissions.

For me the whole point of commissioning is the personal contact with the maker as well as the creative process. When I commission a piece I look at drawings or models, talk them over, and offer my views. This makes it a collaborative process especially as the choices I make allow me feel like I put a little of myself into the piece. A successful commission results in a final object that both the client and the maker are equally delighted.