Manifest: celebrating 40 years of the Designer Jewellers Group

Incredible as it seems, the Designer Jewellers Group (DJG) which I belong to is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year! Originating as an offshoot of the Society of Designer Craftsmen, which was itself founded by William Morris (amongst others) in 1887, the DJG has great heritage.

I’m told that in 1975 when it started there were few outlets for contemporary jewellery. The DJG set out to change this, promoting the best of studio jewellery to the public. The group’s first exhibition was in Goldsmiths’ Hall in 1977. We’ve continued to have strong links with the Goldsmiths’ Company as many of us have exhibited at Goldsmiths’ Fair, and in 1994 the group held a retrospective exhibition at The Hall. In addition the group has exhibited at venues including the Design Centre, Liberty, Harvey Nichols, a number of galleries, shops, fairs and public arts centres across the country, as well as in Japan, Dubai and the USA.

We’ve been exhibiting at the Barbican Centre in London since 1984, and now exhibit there twice a year. Each year (since 1996) we visit the New Designers exhibition to select six of the best new graduates to join us for our winter show. This scheme aims to give the chosen designers not just an opportunity to exhibit and sell their work in a top venue, but also to gain skills and contacts through participating in the running of the show, alongside regular members.

I was selected as a New Designer in 2007 through this scheme, and like many other New Designers went on to become a full member of the group. What I like about it – apart from the obvious opportunity to exhibit at the Barbican, which I love – is that it’s great to be a member of a team. As craftspeople we so often work alone, and being a member of the group gives me colleagues and a peer group, as well as the chance to contribute towards making something better for all of us. We have no paid staff, and members of the group all have to take responsibility and pitch in to make things happen: that’s great.

So I’m glad to be joining the others in ‘Manifest‘, an exhibition to celebrate our fortieth anniversary. For this we were each invited to design and make one piece of jewellery for the hand. I chose to make a ring, others also chose bangles, cufflinks, bracelets, cuffs and a hand flower or Haathphool.

The resulting exhibition will be touring. It’s first venue is the Waterperry Gallery in Oxford. Other venues this year will include The New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham, and the Craft and Design Centre in Leeds.

I’ve included images of a few pieces from the exhibition in this blog post. You can see more of the pieces on the DJG website, and in due course I’ll also write more about my piece and how I designed it. But best of all would be to see the show and associated pieces of jewellery live:

Manifest will be open daily from 16th July – 16th August in the Gallery at Waterperry Gardens, Near Wheatley, Oxford OX33 1JZ.


Visiting Bovey

Just had a lovely day in Bovey Tracey at the Craft Festival. Good to see fellow Designer Jewellers Group​ members Henrietta Fernandez and Ulli Kaiser exhibiting, and Kelly Munro, one of our New Designers from a couple of years back. All their stands looked great.

I couldn’t resist buying some formica and silver earrings from Emily Kidson, and a painting by textile artist Dionne Swift, and so have come home very happy!

It was also good to see an exhibition of Jan Truman‘s sculptural textile pieces in the Devon Guild of Craftsmen Gallery, just round the corner in Bovey Tracey town. I’m very familiar with Jan’s stunning jewellery, which I’ve sold so much of at the Barbican, but this was on a completely different scale!

A bit of a buswoman’s holiday, but most enjoyable!

The Craft Festival is on for the rest of the weekend, and has recently (deservedly) won Devon’s tourism event of the year, so do get along there if you can!

PS Thanks to Dionne for the image of her painting which I swiped from her website: I’m sure her photo is much better than mine.

Back at the Barbican

Yes, the Designer Jewellers Group annual Winter exhibition is now open for business again at the Barbican Centre in London.

designer jewellers A5 Flyer V3-1 designer jewellers A5 Flyer V3-2

As usual, set up was both hard work and good fun: it’s always great to meet up with such a lovely bunch of people, and to feel part of the team.

My shelf at set up: bear in mind that I will be bringing in new pieces during the show though!

Christine Kaltoft jewellery

New Designers 2014

Nearly forgot to share this blog post I wrote for the Designer Jewellers Group about our visit to New Designers 2014 and the wonderful new makers we selected to join us at the Barbican Centre this winter! Looking forward to exhibiting with Mirka Janeckova, Sheila Roussel, Jelka Quintelier, Harriet Knight, Mireia Rossel, and Esme Parsons.

But rather than just leaving it there: a mention for some of the other great artists and makers we found.

I loved these stitched images of kitchen equipment, by textile artist Cathy MacTaggart. Each was machine embroidered onto a series of jam pot covers, in memory of her mother.

Cathy MacTaggart Textile Artist

Top Jupp made covetable ceramics: I particularly loved his porcelain lampshades.

This year we visited the Royal College of Art’s graduation show as well as New Designers. An Alleweireldt and I had fun with Youjin Nam‘s series of pieces ‘Mirror Mirror on the Wall’. We progressed from selfies, to taking photos of each other, to taking photos of each other wearing the same piece at the same time! Great fun, but unfortunately not quite right for our cabinets at the Barbican!


Back to the Barbican!

Well we’re all set up for our winter show at the Barbican now – it’s so nice to be back there – feels a bit like coming home!

My shelf at the Barbican

It was a bit of a quick dash: up to London for the day by coach, setting up my jewellery and fitting in a visit to Hatton Garden, but good to be pacing the London streets again. And especially lovely to see my Designer Jewellers Group colleagues!

DJG winter flier front

As usual, we’re showcasing the work of six great new designers, carefully selected at the New Designers show. Their work really does look fantastic this year, so do check it out!

DJG winter flier back

One thing you really should be aware of: this coming Monday, 18th November, is the private view evening for the show. We’ll be offering a 10% discount on all jewellery, all day, so if you can get along then: do!

DJG PV flier 2013