The Goldsmiths’ Centre in London has launched a new talent initiative called Getting Started: Stars in the Making that will jettison emerging jewellery designers and silversmiths into the global spotlight.
The designers and makers were chosen from this year’s participants in Getting Started. The annual initiative run by The Goldsmiths’ Centre aims to give bright new talent a week-long intensive crash course in all they need to break out in the jewellery world, from how to structure their businesses to marketing themselves in the press and on social media.
Due to the pandemic, Getting Started was a purely virtual event this year, which opened up the free course to a wider range of makers. This resulted in more than 100 participants from diverse professional and educational backgrounds signing up.
From this wide pool, only a few have been selected for Getting Started: Stars in the Making. Jewellers and silversmiths had to apply to be part of the talent programme, and entries were judged by an expert panel that included staff from The Goldsmiths’ Centre, communications specialist Nyasha Daley, and journalist and co-founder of The Jewellery Cut, Rachael Taylor.
“It was an honour to judge The Stars in the Making initiative,” says Nyasha, who was a director of the Women’s Jewellery Network, runs her own communications agency Living Content, and is the founder of IDNetworkUK for Black business professionals. “In these exceptional times, it was especially inspiring to take note of the emerging talent that the UK jewellery industry has to offer.
“All participants should be proud that they made space and took the time to enter their beautiful pieces into this initiative. The designs chosen from a highly competitive field were focused across a number of considerations, including design quality, technical prowess, commerciality and, of course, expression. The high standards of entry, contextual motivations and breadth of design approach, made the judging challenging and all the more enjoyable.”
Winners of Getting Started: Stars in the Making will have the opportunity to take part in online meet-the-maker events organised by The Goldsmiths’ Centre and be featured on its Instagram channel. They will also receive further business skills training tailored to their needs.
The first cohort of Getting Started: Stars in the Making has now been announced. Read on to discover who impressed the panel enough to succeed, with commentary from The Jewellery Cut’s Rachael Taylor on what exactly it was that excited the judges about each designer.
Meet the winners of Getting Started: Stars in the Making
“It was the clever use of an alternative – and sustainable – material that drew us to the work of Isla Cruickshank. These brooches star an inlay made using eggshells. This beautification of what is essentially food waste talks to me on so many levels, and the resulting design brings to mind those fascinating cracks on porcelain.”
“The texture of Agata’s work is inspired by ancient buildings, and plays on the balance of beauty between the rough and the smooth. This connection to the ancient, be it amulets or architecture, is a strong trend in fine jewellery and her collections struck us as an excellent execution of this – wearable, sellable and beautiful.”
“Alice likes to explore our perception of value through her work, mixing precious and inexpensive materials. This Blue Rock ring uses an unusual combination of silver and blue niobium and the ancient techniques of chasing and repoussé. The colour immediately jumped out at us.”
“The attention to detail that went into creating these multi-layered jewels caught the attention of the judges. There is something inherently relaxing about gazing at a repeating pattern, and this design by Kristina Smith finds inspiration in Middle Eastern architecture and the Alhambra palace in Spain.”
“I absolutely love the sense of both softness and permanence that these brooches exude. The technique of embossing – using a hydraulic press – was used to create the shapes, which look as if they are trying to emerge from beneath the gold and silver. A set of beautifully tactile brooches.”
“This precious interpretation of a conifer cone is a piece of technical mastery. Each individual element has had to be carefully cut from Tahitian mother of pearl – a notoriously fragile material. The design is given shape and security by a hidden chain mail structure.”
“Designer Georgie Orme-Brown is the queen of texture. I love the way that she mixes high polish with textured metal, seamlessly blending the two to create what almost feels like an optical illusion. Her inspiration comes from footsteps left in sand, and each design has a subtle beachy vibe.”
“There is always more than first meets the eye with Ruby’s jewels. Each one tells a story, often underpinned by historical intrigues or complex social observations. Her skill in lost-wax carving lends itself so well to her roster of characterful mini sculptures that add to the sense of drama and artistry.”
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“What I really liked about Sarah’s work at first glance is that unless someone told you, you would have no idea what you’re looking at is silver. Her eye for colour and form make her work feel incredibly contemporary. The patterns are achieved through sgraffito – a technique that calls for hand-scratching the surface of dried enamel before firing.”