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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Design Week 2011: The Best of the Independent Jewellery Fairs

During September and October 2011, London was the playground to a host of wonderful jewellery fairs and exhibitions in conjunction with London Design Week. I spent a few leisurely days checking them out.

Written by Miranda Williams

Sian Bostwick Forget Me Not Necklace by Tilly

Sian Bostwick Forget Me Not Necklace by Tilly Wright

The first of my visits was to Gabriel’s Wharf on the South Bank. Nestled amongst a handful of gift shops and cafes is the Jianhui London jewellery shop. However, from 17th – 25th September, the shop was also home to the Jewellery Designers Collective, or JeDoCo, and featured the work from independent jewellers including MODICA, Jessica De Lotz, Zelda Cave and some amazing statement, tubular cuffs from Rosemary Lucas.

The small shop was crowded with jewellery, and felt like a treasure trove. A super friendly attendant turned out to be Sian Bostwick – a JeDoCo designer. She was a brilliant tour guide around this Aladdin’s cave, but her work also deserves merit. Sian produces her jewellery from a workshop in Kent, and has a feminine and soft signature style.

Forget Me Not Ring by Sian Bostwick

Forget Me Not Ring by Sian Bostwick

It was her Forget Me Not pieces that caught my eye. A combination of brightly anodised Titanium in dazzling blue, paired with delicate silver, in elegant and simple shapes. The Forget Me Not pendant is delicate, yet striking, as the vibrancy of the blue Titanium catches the eye. When I first spotted her work, I thought instantly of Alice of Wonderland – the blue of Alice’s dress, the ever-present background of nature, the flowers. I later read that the story was an inspiration for the collection.

Linnie McLarty’s silver rings caught my attention before I entered the shop, displayed in the front window cabinets. Linnie comes from a fine art background, which I think you can see quite clearly from the collection Take Me I’m Yours, to which her layered silver wire rings belong. The silver wraps beautifully around your finger, but the individual sterling silver strands add depth and interest. Linnie is also comitted to working ethically and responsibily, using 100% recycled silver and gold that is officially certified as fairtrade, which is fantastic.

Take Me I'm Yours Rings by Linnie McLarty

Take Me I’m Yours Rings by Linnie McLarty

Running from the 21st – 25th September was Composite, at the superb Two Columbia Road furniture shop, and on the same road that hosted another great independent jewellery show. I was invited along by designer Bethan Laura Wood, whose work I have been avidly following for a while now.

Bethan Laura Wood Pivot and Push Rings by Janneke de Jong

Bethan Laura Wood’s Pivot and Push Rings by Janneke de Jong

Bethan deserves her own post on Amelia’s Magazine (which I hope to provide one day soon), but briefly she studied at the RCA, and has since set up her own practice, WOOD London, designing and producing a range of beautiful creations from jewellery to furniture. Her work is based on the idea of rediscovering and exploration of aspects of the usual and everyday objects – focussing particularly on colour and pattern.

Bethan Laura Wood Particle Bracelets by Miranda Williams

Bethan Laura Wood Particle Bracelets by Miranda Williams

Bethan was showing her new Pivot and Push ring collection. I was really happy to see that Bethan was on show space duty that day, and she passionately talked to me about the new collection, from conception to the final product. The rings are like delicate snowflakes, in shades of metallics – gunmetal, gold, bronze and rose gold.

Bethan Laura Wood's Pivot and Push Rings

Bethan Laura Wood’s Push and Pivot Rings, photo courtesy of Ella Dror PR.

The rings shimmered below their glass case, tempting me to try them on. Bethan explained the ‘push’ and ‘pivot’ technique was to create interaction between the ring and it’s owner. And as Bethan kindly let me have a trying on session, I found myself enchanted with their movement and design. They are stackable, versatile and for me, utterly desirable.

Push and Pivot Ring by Miranda Williams

One of Bethan’s Push and Pivot Rings, photo by Miranda Williams.

The weekend was over, but enjoying a day off in the week, I went along to see the work of another familiar face. I have been aware of Ros Millar’s work for about a year and half now – finally getting to meet lovely Ros at this year’s Treasure exhibition. Ros was showing her work at 2 different spaces – the Pitzhanger House in Ealing, and also as part of the Bobbles & Bling Pop Up Shop in Clerkenwell, from the 27th September to 1st October. I really like Ros’s work, specifically because I’d wear it. The rings from her Nugget collection are like natural rock formations – rich in colour, and really cool. She was showing these at the Bobbles & Bling shop, where for one week, Modica Jewellery, Amanda Li Hope and Ros, had created a mini boutique. It was based in the Craft Central Corner shop, and showcased new work, aswell as some other special pieces. Ros was showing both her Nugget and Black & Rose collections.

Ros Millar Necklace by Cathryn Nicholson

Ros Millar Necklace by Cathryn Nicholson

Over at the Pitzhanger exhibition it was great to see some diversification in her range with the specially produced One Off pieces. Originally the home of Sir John Soane, who the saw the Pitzhanger manor as an architectural ‘portrait’ of himself, and the house as a reflection of his personal style, from the 21st September – 12 November, it was home to Portraits in the Making. It featured the work of 17 designers, Craft Council award winning artists, who were invited to find new ways of making portraits in their fields of glass, textiles, woodwork and jewellery, with the influence of the design and architectural details in the Pitzhanger Manor. Ros’s large necklace, made from lichen, sponge, rope, silver and bronze, was a great contrast to the work of hers that I had previously seen.

This exhibition was in conjunction with the Hothouse scheme, run by the Crafts Council, which provides a programme of skills and creative development for designers starting out in their careers. It is a fantastic programme, similar to that run by Camden Council which I wrote about a few months ago here. I hope that these schemes, and those similar to them, continue to nurture and develop the talents of these designers, so that I can explore and enjoy the creations of our local designers as I did that weekend a few months ago.

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