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.


Goldsmiths’ Fair 2010

Brooch by Kayo Saito

Great to visit Goldsmiths’ Fair last week – some fantastic work there as usual. I particularly love the work of Kayo Saito and Vladimir Bohm: I find something very calming and meditative about their work.

Bowl by Vladimir Bohn

It was great to see Maria Militsi at Goldsmiths’ for the first time with her wonderfully quirky collection.

Rings by Maria Militsi

Looking forward to visiting again in week 2 (5th – 10th October).

Tough chic?

I discover I’ve been quoted in an article in the Financial Times: ‘Black Gold: bling overtaken by tough chic and Gothic’!

They’d noticed that blackened precious metals are currently becoming more popular, and as a Goldsmiths’ Fair jeweller who uses them I was asked to contribute my view.

Very nice to see that my answer has been used as a conclusion to sum up the article!

Back home again!

Well after working for months towards Goldsmiths’ Fair and Origin, they’re finally over! Hard to believe.

After being out for a continuous 14 adrenaline-packed days, it’s really good to have a day back at home again. Lots of tidying and sorting to do to get the studio properly operational again, and catching up with emails and post fair admin. Plus making: commisssions and preparation for Lustre!

It was really good to have a comfort-food lunch (spinach soup and goats cheese toastie) in ‘Good for Food’, my favourite local cafe today.

A last minute report


Oops – been a bit busy recently and haven’t had time to blog! Week 2 of Goldsmiths’ Fair starts on Tuesday, and set up is Monday, so it’s pretty full on here.

I went to see the week 1 exhibitors earlier this week: helps to get in the mood! I’m on the stand that Vicki Ambery-Smith has had for 5 years now and she likes it, so that’s good. I’ve lots of new work to show so it’ll be good to get some feedback and hopefully some sales!

Goldsmiths’ continues till Sunday 11th October, and then we set up for Origin on Monday 12th! No time to fill any gaps in my stock or revise the display, so I have to do all the preparation for both shows now.

I’ll be showing more new work in Origin too, including silver pendants. One of pendants is shown above, along with some stud earrings. The image is my new postcard (yet to arrive!)

If you’re able to please come and visit:

6th – 11th Oct: Stand 5, Goldsmiths’ Fair, Goldsmiths’ Hall, Foster Lane, London EC2V 6BN

13th – 18th Oct: Stand I1, Origin, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

It’d be lovely to see you!

Movement necklaces


This week I’ve been working on test pieces for new necklaces I plan to make in gold for Goldsmiths’ Fair.

My big catalogue piece for the Fair is called ‘One Day I’ll Waltz’. It was inspired by a Viennese evening some months back: the culmination of a series of dance lessons. On the night our community hall looked the part, bedecked with garlands, candles, and our very best cardboard and silver-paper ‘mirrors’.

The orchestra was fantastic, the food amazing. But oh dear the dancing was hard! Whilst in my mind I whirled, spun and floated across the floor, in reality it was all toe crunching and knee bumping.

This neckpiece was created for the dance floor of my dreams, the vision rather than the reality.

The necklaces I’m working on now are more discrete, more ‘meander’ or ‘hop, skip and jump’ than waltz, but they’re still about portraying a sense of movement and mood. Photos later!