Silver Speaks: Idea to Object

July 8, 2016

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‘Adraste’ Bowl by Abigail Brown

Silver Speaks is a year long series of events to be held around the country to celebrate the exceptional level of creativity and skill in British silversmithing today. The spotlight will shine on some of the most exciting artists and designers – exploring the diverse applications of the material, from the experimental to the traditional, the sculptural to the functional. It will showcase the remarkable uses of silver and how works can be commissioned to enhance contemporary living, architecture and fashion.

The programme of events has been organised by Contemporary British Silversmiths, the leading association for design-based contemporary silver, which is sponsored by the Goldsmiths’ Company. The focus of the programme, Silver Speaks: Idea to Object and the supporting public symposium Silver in Contemporary Life, are produced in collaboration with the V&A.

Silver Speaks: Idea to Object traces how work in silver is brought into being from the inspiration, through sketches, models, material experimentation and construction processes, to the final piece. The selected designs in this free display at the V&A encompass a variety of beautiful and intriguing objects – both sculptural and functional – created using a range of different processes, from the traditional to the most cutting edge.

18 of Britain’s leading silversmiths, including many Goldsmiths’ Fair exhibitors, were selected by curator and critic Corinne Julius. The featured craftspeople include Goldsmiths’ Fair exhibitors; Abigail Brown, Adi Toch, Angela Cork, Clive Burr, Hamish Dobbie, Hazel Thorn, Juliette Bigley, Kyosun Jung, Nan Nan Liu and Rebecca De Quin.

Curator Corinne Julius commented: “British silversmithing is at the forefront of contemporary craft and Britain is the world’s centre for modern studio silver. Silver has become a medium of choice for the expression of ideas. Silver fell out of favour but is now being rediscovered and enjoyed by a new generation. When Contemporary British Silversmiths asked me to curate an exhibition, I wanted to show not only what an extraordinary material silver is, with its myriad qualities, but also how silversmiths use a combination of head, heart and hands to produce their work. The idea behind the object, how that is developed, the story it tells and the processes used in its making, are inherent components of the final work.”

Many of the works from the exhibition are now on sale in the V&A shop – you can find work from Abigail Brown, Angela Cork, Juliette Bigley, Hamish Dobbie, Anna Lorenz, Mary Ann Simons and Adi Toch.

The exhibition is on display at the V&A until 2nd July 2017 >

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