Finding a new and exciting identity
Mary Ann Simmons MA(RCA) works from her studio in Swansea South Wales. She is a Liveryman of the Goldsmiths’ Company and Technical Instructor at the Royal College of Art.
Her work is held in the Goldsmiths' Company Modern Plate collection, and various private collections.
"I took over as Chair under our new identity ‘Contemporary British Silversmiths’, I had helped find a graphic designer to brand our newly named association and had I wanted a logo that could be a strong ‘stand-alone’ image with a specific link to our material.
As exhibitions have always been a priority for our membership I had worked hard with Chair, Julie Chamberlain to help organise the CONNECT Symposium and the anniversary exhibition ‘TEN’. ‘CONNECT’ and ‘TEN’, with their focus on a theme rather than a collection of objects, proved very popular with our membership taking us out of our usual, personal works to engage in other thought processes and take ourselves out of the usual.
I have always enjoyed making links and connections and I was keen to try to work with other silversmiths.
Shortly after I became Chair we began developing another theme ‘Side x Side – Edge to Edge’ which, thanks to an excellent exhibitions committee, grew into a 75-piece show, and thanks to Richard Fox and his close ties with Kultukeskus Oy, helped us join with silversmiths from Finland.
Kultukeskus provided each silversmith silver to produce our work. ‘Side x Side – Edge to Edge’ travelled from the UK to Finland and back again moving from one gallery to another and facilitated by local members. Just the kind of cooperation I found exciting.
It’s difficult to describe the experience of taking on the role of Chair - it might feel very scary but knowing you’re simply a cog in a larger wheel and you’re helping to further the objectives of the association, it can be wonderfully exhilarating.
I love the community, which I found supportive. So, although working as Chair can be daunting especially taking over from so many ‘greats’ you realise you’re not alone at all.
The committee is there to support you and you’re carrying on tasks already in place, and handing over tasks you may have begun to the next Chair. What I enjoyed was working with other members who bring a diversity of ideas, experiences and connections which, when shared, strengthen and further the development of our association’s aims and objectives in a fluid and meaningful way."