Drawing her inspiration from our ‘lifestyles of convenience and throwaway’, Sheffield based silversmith, Rebecca Joselyn, designs stunning tableware which challenges perceptions of objects and their acceptance in society.
From a tuna tin sugar bowl to ‘tin can’ candlesticks, Rebecca creates everyday items in precious metal which make you think twice about items you see everyday.
Rebecca will soon be exhibiting at her sixth Goldsmiths’ Fair. We caught up with her to learn more about her career and to find out what the Fair means to her…
Rebecca in her workshop in her home town of Sheffield
I. Give us a potted history of your career – how did you get to where you are now?
I feel I have been very lucky over the last 8 years of my career. When I first started out, I won a number of awards including the Crafts Council Development Award and then a Graduate Stand at Goldsmiths’ Fair. This really boosted my confidence and got me off to a great start in my career as a silversmith. Since then, I have had a lot of press coverage including “FT How to Spend It” and more recently my work featured on the Channel 4 programme ‘Four Rooms.’ All of this support and encouragement has without a doubt helped me get to where I am today. I’m grateful for all of it.
II. Why are you inspired by the ‘throw away’ society in this country?.
I like to look at the items we take for granted and discard from day to day. By recreating these objects in a valuable material, I draw the viewer in for a closer look. It’s really nice to watch someone double take and then begin to smile when looking at my work. I suppose my customers want to create the same effect on their friends. Love or hate them – my designs certainly create a talking point!
III. What is most enjoyable aspect of designing and creating your pieces? What do you find the most difficult?
In the early days, it was quite hard financially as the material costs alone are high. Sometimes if I don’t make a lot of sales at an event, it can make me question my work and also if I’m doing something wrong. However, all that can be turned around with an amazing show. The excitement of creating a new piece of work definitely brings the most enjoyment. When it’s finished and I’m happy with it, I think to myself – this is what it is all about!
Sterling silver and gilt – ‘Tuna tin’ sugar bowl and spoon
Left to right: Silver oil container, Rebecca in her workshop, sterling silver and gold rope cord bag vases
IV. Have you had any interesting commissions?
Yes, a few years ago I made the packaging for the world’s most expensive coffee, which is now on sale in Harrods (main picture). I also made a large oil container which was on show in the Museum of Modern art in Kuwait (above).
V. Tell us why Goldsmiths’ Fair is important to you and how it has developed your business?
Exhibiting under the Goldsmiths’ Company name gives the customer confidence that you are good at what you do. The ‘seal of approval’ by the Company is key. I don’t just get sales and orders at the show, I continue to get commissions throughout the year which generate a large part of my income. A lot of press coverage I have received over the years has also been due to the Fair!
VI. What advice would you give to first time exhibitors?
Make sure you get plenty of rest before you go! You must be confident in your product, keep smiling and talk to your customers – they will be very interested in your pieces.
Rebecca’s latest work: Sterling silver Tea Caddy with Ring Pull Spoon