Controlled heat

Chloe Minihane Slater of Spearworks Jewellery trained in the UK and Cyprus. Inspired by structure and organic forms co-existing balance.

Her signature reticulation techniques, geometric patterns and pyramid shapes highlight this tipping point in a contemporary fashion. Reticulation in jewellery making is a heat based technique that creates ripples and ridges across the surface of the silver. Working with a flame and a natural material means that sometimes the results can be unpredictable its this knowledge and how to articulate the effects that gives the jewellery its flowing but yet controlled edge.

The addition of exquisite pearls, amethyst and jade creates a full stop in the textured silver landscape. Truly beautiful accessible pieces.

Chloe states that ‘The enjoyment of handmade is one that I always cherish’ and a visit to the studio on 23 and 24th November will provide you with an insight into the techniques she uses and how pattern and shape informs her practice.

The studio is listed as having an address on Warstone Lane but the entrance is on Vittoria Street just up from The School of Jewellery. The workshop will be clearly marked, Spearworks shares the space with Charlotte Lowe who we featured earlier in our blogs.

Natural Flow

The passing of time and the marks that it makes whether on wood, in a flower bud or on our faces is what informs the practice of Dovilė Jewellery. Celebrating the changes that come only with time be it in seconds, days or years means noticing details that we can often miss.

Using the dark ebony appearance of bog oak and combining this with the golden glow of amber gives each piece a natural flowing conversation. Hard versus soft, dark versus light.

In 2019 Dovilė’s work has been exhibited in China, Lithuania and here in the U.K. its fun to think of these pieces adding to their own timelines as they move around the globe.

A visit to their workshop space at the back of Artisan Alchemy will show the process behind the materials which whilst informed by them needs a skilled artisan to bring them back to life. Also on show will be the new Silver Flow collection that echoes the shapes and forms of the bog oak and somehow “holds the pose“.

Open on 23rd and 24th on Caroline Street

From the earth

Run by Michele White, Artisan Alchemy Gallery seeks to combine the best in fine furniture and fine jewellery. An antidote to mass production both the furniture and jewellery use elements of the natural world to both enhance and direct.

But why would a jeweller with over thirty years experience in the trade think that furniture would be a good fit for Caroline Street? You need look no further than the Artisan Alchemy logo which is a ginko leaf, chosen by Michele because of her love of trees. There is a synergy between the natural landscape of picture agates and the wood grains in the bespoke furniture on display. An early career as a ceramics teacher also shows its influences in her work. There’s something quite interesting about using materials from the earth on display here.

Michele has played an active part in the Jewellery Quarter community over the years, being part of Centrepiece a jewellery collective formed in 1997 to create opportunities for designer makers in the Jewellery Quarter to showcase their work. A member of Royal Birmingham Society of Artists she was also president of the Society for a number of years. The collective side of her nature continues today at Artisan Alchemy in the workshop spaces and shared benches at the back of the gallery which has enabled designer makers to run their own businesses from the heart of the Jewellery Quarter. Current residents Dovile Jewellery and Elizabeth Anne Norris will be opening their workspaces during Jewellery Quarter Open Studios weekend.

Artisan Alchemy will be open on Saturday and Sunday.

In the beginning

We launched the Jewellery Quarter Festival Guide last night and as Jewellery Quarter Open Studios runs alongside the festival this year we are part of the programme, so be sure to pick up a guide real soon.

JQ Open Studios participants turned up to support the launch and one that has links to many of the workshops that will be opening on 29/30th June, namely The School of Jewellery. Founded in 1890 the red brick façade hides a contemporary world renowned school that provides courses in jewellery design, horology, silversmithing, gemmology and lots more in between. Many of the makers you will encounter over the festival weekend will have started their careers and training right here.

Part of the Faculty of Art, Design and Media at Birmingham City University the skills taught here mean that graduates can go on to work for famous names in the trade or set up on their own and begin to create fantastic collections and inspiring designs.

The School will be open on Saturday 29th June exhibiting alumnis work, running regular demonstrations in their on site workshops and as this is also the date of their Student Open Day they will be welcoming potential students. If a visit to the School inspires you to start your making career or sparks an idea to retrain staff will also be providing information about their night school courses which are run on site.

The Schools Design for Industry course provides practical skills alongside new technologies, at Artfull Expression you will be able to see just how many makers have completed this course and are now successfully working as professional jewellers.

Look out for posters around the school showing the Open Studios that have links either as teaching staff, previous students or current working relationships. A visit to the School is not to be missed !

June 29th – 30th – we’re back!

Hi there! It’s great to be back bringing you news of all the makers, artists and small manufacturers that are taking part in our first Jewellery Quarter Open Studios of 2019. This year we are again running alongside Jewellery Quarter Festival so along with visiting us to see making from the contemporary to the heritage there will also be lots of other activities happening around the Jewellery Quarter on 29th and 30th June.

You’ll see from the logo that we have changed our colours to tie in to Jewellery Quarter Festival so do please look out for their advertising campaign that will begin in earnest on 1st June.

We’ve got some fantastic makers on the trail this time and we are pleased to see many new faces joining us. Two new additions, Pavlov Ceramics and Odox are just a few minutes walk away from each other so if “new” is you then be sure to start your trail here.

The map will be published by the end of the week on this site and will be downloadable but for now take a look at the makers listed on the site for a flavour of what we have to offer here in the Jewellery Quarter where we remain “a community of makers”.

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