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
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

42 comments:

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Wow, some of those pieces are beyond-words-gorgeous! What an interesting exhibition. I may have to look up the Dundee one and see if I can make it there (even within Scotland, it can be a trek!) YAM xx

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Silver over gold.
That museum is one wild looking building.

Liz A. said...

Yeah, that would be a bit far to trek. But it looks like an interesting exhibition.

lostinimaginaryworlds.blogspot.com said...

Beautiful work, we are so capable of making these exquisite things. Wanting to be produce sculptures in bronze, and not having the wherewithal to do this, I made papier-mâché sculptures, not quite the same, but satisfying when people appreciated them enough to purchase them. I shall always remember the lady in a wheel chair who was the first to buy something, Hilary, and I thanked her, told how important thisbwas to me and gave her a hug 🤗

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Now Hilary, I am quite sure that you will have been unable to resist the temptation to purchase for me a fine piece of this silver work, and I shall be eagerly greeting the mailman each day to see what he brings. It will have a bird motif no doubt, finely hammered and intricately worked. How exciting this is going to be!

Elephant's Child said...

My father taught us to appreciate silver. (He worked with it and made some beautiful pieces.)And to this day we all do - and prefer it to gold. Gorgeous lustre.
How I would have loved to see the exhibition, and I am so grateful you shared some beautiful shiny snippets.

Anabel Marsh said...

I never heard about the Dundee exhibition, even though i’m on the V&A’s mailing list. I might have gone!

Fil said...

What beautiful work - thanks for sharing it Hilary. I love silver and would have it over gold any time - even my wedding and engagement rings are a pair in silver from an artisan jewellery maker.
It'd be amazing to own one of those modern pieces.

DMS said...

I realized reading this that I didn't know a lot about silver! I enjoyed not only learning about it, but the pictures too. So many gorgeous pieces. I have always preferred silver over gold. Thanks for sharing.
~Jess

Denise Covey said...

Silver is so beautiful and it was great to learn some of its history. Had to laugh. 'Dundee' - google went straight to Crocodile Dundee.' Priceless.

Hels said...

Thank you, thank you!
Gold and silver art was always my passion in art history, particularly the work of the Protestant Huguenot silversmiths who had been expelled from France in 1685. They set up their silver studios in Protestant cities, especially London, and created art objects that still warm my heart today.

Thanks for the link
Hels
https://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com/2018/02/london-silver-vaults-my-favourite-site.html

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Yam – I’m sorry this was in May/June … while the London exhibits were in August and September. There’s an exhibition in Edinburgh in November … ‘Elements’ … looks interesting: Goldsmiths, Turnbull and Lyon auctioneers…

@ Alex – I’d rather have gold … but just love wonderful jewellery – and I agree the new V+A looks to be an amazing museum to visit …

@ Liz – it certainly would have been a distance …

@ Carole Anne – our creative artists are just amazing … and I wish I had the capacity to be able to be artistic … perhaps writing, but not producing. You are amazing that you can create papier-mache sculptures … and how wonderful when that lady bought your first piece … no wonder you were pleased, as she would be too: something light for her to look at and hold.

@ David – I would love to have been able to purchase an item or two … and one for every commenter – sadly no … but there’s an artist from Edinburgh, who produces the most beautiful bird items: Byrony Knox – Silversmith.


The Scottish agency – Deadline News has a very good article on the event and an excellent image of Byrony’s work … I hope you get to look … as her work is amazing!! Sorry – nothing in the post!

http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2019/05/28/first-uk-visit-for-hammerclub-will-reconnect-dundee-with-silver-heritage/

@ EC – how interesting your father was a craftsman … and taught you to appreciate silver … fabulous that you and your siblings still work with silver and prefer it over gold, I imagine watching an art work come to fruition as the silver is worked. I’d love to have that talent.

The link – Deadline News – I’ve put into David’s reply above … has the most exquisite silver bird …

@ Anabel – I think you probably need to be on Goldsmith’s list … which is where I came across it … as I love visiting their Design Centre in London. I think the Dundee V+A would be wonderful to visit sometime …

@ Fil – it’s staggering work … at one stage I preferred silver over gold, but now prefer gold … your wedding and engagement rings sound delightful, especially being made by an artisan jeweller. I so agree – I’d love to own some of their work … quite exquisite.

@ Jess – I don’t know much either … but when I write these posts I try and add extra snippets in – so I can understand more. Their work was just extraordinary …

@ Denise – there’s so much history linked to so many subjects sometimes I don’t know where to start … or how much to look into things – I wanted to learn about Dundee’s port/harbour … but never really got there – but there were always ‘visitors’ – Romans, Vikings and on …

I know – so funny when I saw Google’s link to down under – Crocodile Dundee land … I hadn’t put that connection together …

@ Hels – your knowledge of history and so many subjects staggers me – I learn so much from your posts … and yes the Protestant Huguenot Silversmiths in London opened up the trade here. Thanks for the link to the Silver Vaults – I still haven’t visited … and definitely should soon!

Thanks so much for your interesting comments and additional snippets – gold and silver always entice … I started out loving silver, then moved to gold … now I have small items of both … just exquisite workmanship though … but interesting it appears most of you love silver more … cheers Hilary

Jz said...

Omigosh, those bowls are stunning!
I've always been a silver over gold kind of person so these are lovely to see.
(But I think I would have used the excuse to go to Dundee and absorb all the maritime history, as well...)

Joanne said...

I would have liked to join you at that exhibit. Oh, Hilary - there are just too many exhibits and museums - it's mind boggling, but does keep us busy. I've always loved silver and silver art. I didn't know as much about some of the history. As always, your post enlightens and delights.

Jacqui Murray said...

There are times, Google is an annoyance! I've switched to Duck Duck Go but I would like it to have some of Google's nice stuff (and not the annoying stuff, like trying to think for me).

Gorgeous pieces. It reminds me why we-all had silver as the perfect wedding gifts.

Chatty Crone said...

Interesting exhibit. Years ago everything was in gold. Now silver. I think I like silver the best.

Christine Rains said...

Oh my! What beautiful work. I've always favored silver over gold. I chose to have a silver band in my titanium wedding ring and no gold. Thanks for sharing your visit with us. :) Have a lovely week.

Sandra Cox said...

You find the most fascinating subjects to post about, Hilary.
Cheers.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's wonderful it came close enough for you to see. The silver is beautiful.

Debbie D. said...

Beautiful pieces! Thanks for the writeup. It must have been so enjoyable to see in person.

bazza said...

I knew Hels (above) would enjoy this post! I did too.
I don't know the place in Smithfield but I am there quite often; usually visiting the Old Bailey or Barts!
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s devotedly defamatory Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Nilanjana Bose said...

Beautiful pieces! Silver is a magical substance, really. Thanks for letting me 'view' the exhibition!

The V&A is one of my favouritest museums on this planet. Great stuff.

D.G. Kaye said...

Thanks for sharing this most interesting article on silver. What a fantastic exhibit that must have been. :)

Erica/Erika said...

Interesting on maps and locations, Hilary. I have heard all sorts of funny stories. An aside from your story: complicated, similar sounding names of towns in Iceland, although, at least 1000 km. apart. Tourists drove to the wrong town. Not us, whew:). Very interesting on how silver became a symbol of status. I have a new appreciation for silver after reading your post. Great photos, too:)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jz - the workmanship is just unbelievable. Well I must say if time and money were flush – then I too would have gone off to Dundee … one day perhaps …

@ Joanne – I know lots of places to visit and see … I’m always wanting to go to town – but c’est la vie … enjoy what I can get to. These were just wonderful – the range of ideas etc … and thanks I like to mix and match and learn as I post about subjects …

@ Jacqui – oh yes … Google can be a pain – but one I know and as long as I don’t mistype I’ll be ok – or use it for navigation like this occasion! Yes silver does feature in our wedding gifts and as special occasion presents …

@ Sandie – it does fluctuate doesn’t it … now it’s lots of different metals being showcased …

@ Christine – isn’t it just wonderful … I’d just have loved to have seen them working their craft in Dundee – but the rewards of seeing it in London are special. Your wedding ring sounds amazing and I know titanium is highly valued … the mix of silver with it sounds gorgeous.

@ Sandra – I try and write about different things, adding in some extra nuggets of history or informative snippets …

@ Diane – yes the pieces were there for us all to see … and to read a bit more about how it is created … it’s a treat …

@ Debbie – glad you enjoyed the write up and notes … I loved seeing the exhibits …

@ Bazza – thanks … I’m tempted to get to the Silver Vaults when I visit London next week – I’ve never been. The strong Huguenot connection re silver I hadn’t realised, but knew about the silk …

Goldsmiths is in Britton Street north of Smithfield …Barts is the south side (I think!) … I walked past Barts on my way through from the Guildhall. They’ve got a lovely café … !!

@ Nila – Silver has extraordinary qualities … especially with the technological developments that scientists are able to come up with … I’m thinking health wise.

Glad you enjoyed the exhibit … it’s funny – I’ve never really got into the V+A – I’m usually at the British Museum end of town …

@ DG - Debby – small but quite delightful – these sorts of exhibitions suit me – not too much to see or take in …

@ Erica – sat nav and directions leads many vehicles into disastrous situations on our tiny lanes – and I can believe people blindly believe they’re on the right road – though on holiday in Iceland wasn’t so clever, was it …

I learnt a little about silver through the eras – and was particularly interested to learn about ‘hacksilver’ – as I’d never come across the term before: so I’m glad you enjoyed the post too …

Thanks so much to you all for visiting … and I’m so glad you enjoyed ‘my tour’ as much as I did viewing the actual exhibits. Cheers Hilary

Elsie Amata said...

I love the last picture of the place setting. It's beautiful! I'm so glad you got to visit. I've had Google tell me some wacky distances. Well, actually, Alexa has told me some wacky distances through Google.

Elsie

Rhodesia said...

Interesting post. Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. So looking forward to returning to RSA despite the problems there. Keep well Diane

retirementreflections said...

What an interesting exhibit. Once again, I learned a great deal from your post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elsie - the cutlery and table settings were delightful to see - while that Google google made me laugh ...

@ Diane - Have a lovely time down under ... it'll be interesting to hear the news. Glad you enjoyed the silver ...

@ Donna - it was small but fascinating - good to see you ...

Cheers to you all - thanks for being here - Hilary

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

How interesting, and what incredible pieces! Fantastic article.

Have a great weekend,
Andrea

Patsy said...

We had a quick look in the V&A when we were in Dundee. This exhibition wasn't on then, but (not surprisingly) there were lots of exhibits about Scottish inventions and innovations. That was interesting, and the building itself is rather impressive.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

My sister-in-law actually ended up in another state recently (admittedly, her thoughts were elsewhere) when Google Maps directed her to a distant location instead of the spot by the same name only a few miles away! Reminded me of your story. :) Glad you weren't driving, ha.

Love Bolle III, especially!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Like a number of your other guests, (That's what we are, right? So where's our darned tea?) I prefer silver to gold. The pieces you've shown here are exquisite.

Mark Koopmans said...

That V&A museum in Dundee is absolutely amazing looking from the outside, no wonder the architect won the contract for the Tokyo Olympics!

I've never been a fan of silver (or gold!) but wow to how beautiful things can be created in the hands of those who know and appreciate its value - in all meanings of the word!

Sandra Cox said...

I'd never heard of hacksilver. Interesting.
YOU have a great one.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Andrea - so glad you enjoyed it ... the exhibition was fun to visit.

@ Patsy - great to hear a bit about the new V&A ... and so glad you had a look around - I'm sure it's inspiring and obviously Scottish related. The building looks extraordinary ...

@ Elizabeth - how funny about your SIL ... we've had people here drive down railway lines - why?! Crazy to think that was the way to go .... Yes - it'd be crazy to take that route to Australia from here ...

While the creation: Bolle III is an incredible work of art ...

@ Susan - yes, of course, always guests ... just AI hasn't worked out how I can serve tea to everyone yet! I'll happily do silver - cheaper than gold! The workmanship is just beautiful ...

@ Mark - to me it looks like Brutalist architectur, which I admire ... so I'll be interested to see the Tokyo Stadium next year.

Yes - I love beautiful things and to see them, behind glass, but up close. They are quite extraordinary - which is why I love seeing works like these ...

@ Sandra - yes I thought 'hacksilver' was an interesting subject - I needed to post about it.

Cheers to you all - thanks for being here, commenting and being supportive - have good weeks - Hilary

Jo said...

Would love to have gone to that exhibition, I have always enjoyed silverware. Even if I hate cleaning the stuff.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

I would loved to have dong to that exhibition too! Some of the images in this post are incredible pieces of craftsmanship.

Hacksilver is a new term for me. And I think I love it!

Tyrean Martinson said...

That does sound like a treat. It's interesting to think of how our world cultures and economic history has formed around precious metals.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo - the workmanship of these pieces and others is exquisite. I know - it's a long time since I've had a silver cleaning day ... I'm glad to say ... not a popular job!

@ Holly - it was superb. And yes - I tried to put photos up that showed a variety of pieces made - to show their workmanship ...

Hacksilver is a great term isn't it ...

@ Tyrean - yes I love going to London and seeing various exhibitions and broadening my knowledge ... the sorts that wouldn't get down here ...

Those early travellers really influenced our world today - introducing new ideas and thought processes into our ambit - as you say the cultures and history that grew up around our countries and their precious metals.

Thanks for being here and commenting - cheers Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Thank you for always sharing those things that I will never get to see in person. So much to see.

Teresa

Sherry Ellis said...

That's a lot of detail on some of those bowls. Whoever made them was very talented!