Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Hammering Silver at Goldsmiths …

I saw that Goldsmiths was having an exhibition of silver, entitled ‘Renewal … and thought how wonderful I can go to London and check out other exhibitions … well no: I was thwarted – this particular event would be held in Dundee, Scotland …

The advert for the Exhibition
I just checked and it’s 550 miles from here … but when I first googled - what popped up was 16,870 kilometres (over 10,000 miles) to Mount Duneed, Geelong, Victoria, Australia – something’s wrong I thought! 

Google’s guesswork (prescriptive interpretation?!) for my ‘Dundeed to Eastbourne’ … !!  (I might have put the extra ‘d’ in … but who’s counting – common sense should rule – I guess AI hasn’t got there yet!).

17th C Goldsmith -
hammering away

Fortunately later on Goldsmith’s exhibited the winning pieces at their Design Centre in Clerkenwell, near Smithfields in London: so I was able to see their amazing work.

Hammer and Silver don’t seem to be compatible ‘word partners’ … but here they are: the HammerClub is a forum for silversmiths from across Europe … who get together to showcase their workings, in conjunction with the year’s exhibition.

Showing the forging of the 'common bowl'
at the Hamburg 2018 HammerClub forum

This is the first year the Club has come to Britain - the highlight being the communal forging of ‘a common bowl’ by the silversmiths, at which the public were invited to attend … so I was sorry to have missed that.

The new V+A Museum at Dundee's waterfront -
designed by Kengo Kuma: considered to be the
quintessential Japanese architect of today.
(he is also designing the Tokyo Olympics stadium 2020)
The Victoria and Albert partnered with Dundee to open their first V+A Museum outside London … then in conjunction with Goldsmiths of London and Edinburgh, invited the HammerClub to hold their ‘Renewal’ event as part of the regeneration theme for Dundee’s waterfront.

Fragments from treasure
found at Traprain Law,
East Lothian  found in a
Roman era pit
Silver has always been renewed, re-used … probably in pre-history, though more recently since Roman times when ‘hacksilver’ became a way of life … nibs, clips and scrapings were ‘silently’ accrued through exchange, payment and barter for goods along the trading routes.

Small bowl of two - fine silver hand raised by
Carsten From Andersen, Denmark 2019

Silver has never been mined in Scotland … yet in the first millennium AD, silver was the precious metal of choice.  The Roman army’s influence spread as far as the Pictish tribes from marching north, or plying the seas …

1st and 2nd prize winners - the two bowls won first prize,
while 'Breath' by Yuki Fernadendsen, Denmark is of Sterling
Silver, Hand raised, Arare decoration

This is how silver became a symbol of status and Roman favour.  Vessels, tableware and other objects were ‘hacked up’ – to be turned into bullion – fragments carefully cut to standard Roman weight measures and then often folded into handy packages to be used as gifts, bribes or payment …

… unlike coins, 'hacksilver' was designed to be reused and remade.

Larissa Thiel's 'Bolle III' - this was made from a 'thank you
gift' from 2018 ... see here for her story ... about
the leaves ... 

Throughout history precious metal has been bartered, stolen, confiscated for nefarious means … greed, raising funds for war … buried for safety …

Drawn Connections: 3rd prize by Peter Musson
Silver and vitreous enamel

… and in our day – when the archaeologists either rue past generations pillaging any treasures found, as historical research is then almost impossible, or delighting in being able to bring to life a small part of our heritage through the finds.

The few exhibits on show were exquisite both in beauty, creativity and design … reflecting our next generation’s social, cultural and economic influences.

'Lost in Space' - three small playful patinated objects ...
by Cecilia Moore, Dublin - see more hereon renewal and childhood ideas

It was wonderful to learn about the re-use of materials, also to know innovative and emergent technologies were being explored, as well as thinking forward.

A selection of objects created for the 2019 Hammerclub

Renewal in all its forms should be considered and remembered so that change can improve things leading to economic renewal. 

It was a treat to visit Goldsmiths to see the HammerClub prize winners and exhibits …

Cecilia Moore's interview is very interesting ...  

Goldsmiths HammerClub information ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
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