Aiming High

Mountains, skiing and tradition are some of the influences used by The Little Workshop to create affordable silver jewellery.

“In the early morning before the sun has had a chance to rise above the beautiful peaks, the snow has this glistening, shimmering light that is crisp and sparkly.” The textured pendants in the collection perfectly reflect this special light.

Handmade, using traditional jewellery techniques and tools, passed down from generation to generation whilst The Little Workshopp is one of the newest members of the Jewellery Quarter Open Studios family they are certainly already telling the story of their art.

A love of the the mountains is also reflected in the studio location which is on the top floor, be prepared for steep stairs but just like climbing up a snowy peak once you get there the view is fabulous.

Open 23/24 November 11-16

Resident Gems

Its been a busy year for Rhiannon Lewis who has completed a masters in business at BCU alongside running her jewellery practice.

Rhiannon designs and hand makes all of her jewellery from her own studio and workshop. Working predominantly in gold and silver, Rhiannon uses bold recurring forms of arcs, curves and teardrop shapes, creating striking and elegant jewellery. A qualified gemmologist Rhiannon incorporates the highest quality gemstones in her jewellery, using various cuts to reflect the graphic lines featured in her designs. Each piece is made to the highest standard with the precious metals treated to a matte surface finish.

Rhiannon is currently artist in residence at The School of Jewellery based at Birmingham Assay Office bringing her skills and knowledge to the students based there alongside continuing her practice.

Visit Rhiannon on 23/24 November to see her latest collections, talk gems or commission a piece of fine jewellery with considered stones.

One ring to rule them all

Whilst many designer makers work alone in their workshops the way they were trained is quite different. The School of Jewellery has been training jewellers since 1890. Originally set up by the trade itself to create additional training it has remained on the same site in Vittoria Street since then. But if you look closely at the map you will see that this time for Jewellery Quarter Open Studio there are two sites. Yes “the school” as we know it around here is now in two buildings in the Jewellery Quarter.

The School of Jewellery is part of Birmingham City University and they have an open day in 24th November this ties in well with Jewellery Quarter Open Studios (we planned it!). On 24th at the new St Paul’s site you will be able to learn about the postgraduate offer whilst being part of their opening ceremony. Open from 11am there will be speeches at 3pm and an official opening event. It’s really an exciting time to see the school expand and to hear first hand about their ambitions for the future.

The original site in Vittoria Street with its traditional Birmingham red brick facade holds a warren of making spaces. Whether your interests lie in horology, fine jewellery or enamel there is something to view and learn. As well as taking part in the BCU open day on 24th this space will also be open on 23rd with demonstrations, workshops and the chance to see the building from the inside, it’s quite different to what you would expect!!

Many of the designer makers in the Jewellery Quarter started their career at the school so a visit to see the biggest open studio of them all is a must!

Vittoria Street open 23/24 , St Paul’s open 24th only

A Stitch in Time

Tina Francis Tapestry

Working with stitch gives you a different perspective on time, Tina Francis measures her days in inches not hours. Using second hand wool in her stitched work Tina continues the history of those that used the wool before her.

Unable to blend colours like a painter Tina relies on resonance to bring depth to her work. Colours that maybe have no place together soon fall into line when part of a larger design.

Tapestry needlepoint kits are where Tinas heart lies, bold bright design with a touch of 1970S caravan mean that these kits look great in today’s modern homes. Over the last year Tina has been writing a book on Bargello stitching and so many of her new kits and designs use this fast growing long stitch.

Tina believes that “craft builds community” and so runs workshops to share her skill from her Jewellery Quarter studio, a beautiful space where the warmth comes from the people as within it as much as the colour that surrounds it.

Open 23/24 November entrance is on the junction between Vittoria Street and Regent Place.

Environmental Elements

Elizabeth Ann Norris Jewellery

After a 16 year career in environmental science Elizabeth Ann Norris decided to follow a passion for design and train as a jeweller. The influences of their former career can be seen in the shapes and textures found in the silver pieces that won Lux Life magazine best eco jewellery brand in 2018.

Luxury in the everyday is something that Elizabeth Ann looks to put into every piece of jewellery “My jewellery aims to bring an ‘everyday extravagance’ to the wearer.“

As well as continuing to create wearable nature inspired pieces Elizabeth Ann also runs one to one jewellery making workshops in the Jewellery Quarter. Traditional skills using traditional tools and techniques means that students Gain a well rounded experience with skills that will last a lifetime.

Visit Elizabeth Ann Jewellery in the workshop space behind Artisan Alchemy on 23 and 24 November to see and learn how multiple careers can create beautiful results

Sentimental Journey

Charlotte Lowe

Charlotte Lowe’s collections of handmade jewellery celebrate today’s special moments with the memories that will always matter. Inspired by the joys brought to us through the simple moments in life, Charlotte’s uniquely styled silhouette designs depict precious memories shared with family and friends to evoke sentimental feelings from within.

Celebrating their 10th Anniversary this year a new collection called “Moments like this” brings a collection of precious moments under beautiful blue skies.

The beauty of the process used by Charlotte means that you can commission your own favourite moments to be captured from photo image to jewellery. A real way to carry those you hold dear around with you always.

So a big congratulations to Charlotte Lowe who will be opening her studio for the first time With us on 23/24 November 11-16. Take a visit and create your own special memory.

Fine Craft Skill Share

Down a secret alley way that leads to Key Hill Cemetary you will find the workshop of B18 Leather maker of small fine leather goods with innovative surface designs. The workshop is the perfect place for you to see how different creative trades are as much at home in the Jewellery Quarter as the more traditional metal ones. Infact their own words express it perfectly.

“For me traceability is paramount – each piece I produce has a visual narrative. You will see its journey from raw cut pieces through to the finished article. Most of the designs are made in house in the Jewellery Quarter with some pieces made in Walsall, West Midlands – the heart of the leather industry in the UK. I have built relationships with manufacturers that I treasure – just like a precious gem.”

Education is at the heart of what owner Deborette is all about, in the workshop you can learn how to create leather goods on one of the many short courses that take place throughout the year. There’s nothing better than a handmade heartfelt gift and the bonus of learning a new skill along the way. Many people return again and again to improve their skills.

New this year at the workshop is Hockley Made an initiative run by Deborette which enables young people to design, create and sell Craft products. Costing your time is really important when setting up any business and for makers this can often be one of the hardest aspects so with Hockley Made Deborette is sharing the ability to run a business alongside learning and feeling pride in the products you have made.

Hear more about the story behind each aspect of B18 leathers journey and buy into it with a fantastic small leather good on 23 and 24th November

We have a story to tell

Now that all the summer and autumn Open Studios events around Birmingham have successfully come to an end, its time for us to begin telling you our story and inviting you to “come see what we do”.

The 23rd and 24th November will see over 15 makers open their studio and workshop doors to show you that here in the Jewellery Quarter we continue to uphold the makers traditions that have led to this special part of Birmingham being at the centre of Jewellery making, manufacturing and education for over 200 years. Whilst the jewellery trade is still strong we also have many skilled craftspeople building the community with textiles, leather, fabrication, ceramics and more.

Alongside established Jewellery Quarter Open Studios members we also have a good selection of new makers for you to visit. It’s really exciting to welcome Charlotte Lowe (pictured) who celebrate their 10th year in the trade this year alongside Spearworks Jewellery who shares the space. Brand new to the Jewellery Quarter is The Little Workshop who will be setting up both their website (to follow) and workshop ready for the event.

Collaboration and support go hand in hand in this part of the city and you will find many makers sharing their spaces to spread the community that little bit further (also it is quite cold at this time of year!). Holly O’Meara from CraftyBun Studios will be setting up to demonstrate all things print at No.Peg.Studio a new workshopping space. Artisan Alchemy supports makers with workbenches and studios and two makers will be exhibiting their work here Dovile Jewellery and Elizabeth Ann Norris they both have fascinating stories to tell about their work and their Craft careers. Katherine Campbell Legge , a founding member of Centrepiece which has helped many jewellers and designer makers over the years, will be exhibiting her own work in her traditional jewellers workshop. Also in a traditional space Rhiannon Lewis will be joining us again.

Using our hands to tell a story is something we do a lot being skilled artisans, see how this translates into products at Pavlov Ceramics and Dual Works and how these skills can be shared in community projects with Tina Francis Tapestry and B18 Leather. B18 leather will also host Solv and Kopper and you will be able to hear about Hockley Made a young people into employment initiative.

New to the Summer Open Studios Odox have continued to host fantastic exhibitions the latest is collaboration between Zoe Robertson and Rebecca Coley called JIMS (jewellery in my space). We have Jewellery in all spaces here in the jewellery due in no small way to The School of Jewellery being at our heart, they will be running their biannual open day on 23rd November so you can visit the biggest open studio of them all!

Phew! Be sure to watch the website and blog over the coming weeks to get to really know our designers, makers and creators.

Helium, Beryllium and Nitrogen and Oxygen

Or so the song goes about the periodic table which lists all the elements, but what about the ones that have been discovered since the song was written? Actually we don’t have time to dwell on this because the weekend is nearly upon us when we open or workshop and studio doors and invite you to “come see what we do”.

Makers, artists, designers and small manufacturers make up our table of participants this time, you can see them all here and to stop you walking around like a stray atom we have a downloadable map with amendments here plus if you only have time to visit a few studios you little free radical we have grouped the studios together in handy bite sized pieces check it out here

So there we are we can’t do anymore than assure you that you will receive a warm welcome at each of our studios and that we will be in our element (that’s enough now!) showing you what we do and why we remain a community of makers in the City of 1000 Trades.

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