New Designers 2008

By Shona Marsh

Taking place on the 3rd to 6th July, New Designers showcased recent graduates from the country’s jewellery and silversmithing courses.

On first impressions the overwhelming ratio of jewellers to silversmiths is, as always, a little disappointing but once I started mingling amongst the show cases I was more than happy with the quality and imagination of the silversmiths that were there. Not only was the work interesting but the graduates were approachable, friendly and quite vocal about their work, and this will stand them in good stead in the future.

One of the first to initiate conversation was Kirsty Eaglesfield from Edinburgh College of Art. Not only was I impressed by the quality of the work but the amount that she had actually produced for her final show compared to her colleagues. Inspired ‘by the way the sea weathers and erodes objects, changing their texture and shape’ she used a variety of techniques to a high standard such as riveting and hammer forming. I was particularly impressed with the way she managed to successfully combine found objects in her work without overpowering the silver. There was a confident consistency of ideas running through her pieces. Kirsty will be heading over to the Netherlands from September to take part in a ten month silversmithing programme called ‘Silver in Motion’, where I am sure she will flourish and will soon be showcasing her work on the circuit back here in the UK.

Kirsty Brown from Birmingham City University also impressed me with her work and attitude. A rough and loose approach to enamelling gave the silver a different look altogether. Using lace as a template to dust on the enamel left a shadow of a pattern that evoked memories of finding objects buried away that were faded and damaged. Kirsty also found this surface a practical one as she explained that the marks gained from use and tarnishing only enhanced the surface textures, so no laborious polishing for these pieces. Kirsty was also keen to develop her skills by applying for Bishopland.