I’m a member of the ACJ and this weekend was their/our conference. It was a special conference to celebrate 25 years of the guild and they chose to hold it in Exeter, my home town so of course I bought a ticket to all three days; it’s incredibly rare for anything to visit Exeter, and travelling to London is costly, and usually requires an overnight stay. I guess I’m a jeweller, and I suppose I’m contemporary, but I always think of myself as a craftsperson not an artist, so I was more than a little nervous of attending.
The three days were filled with interesting (and often intellectually challenging for me!) presentations by a wide variety of jewellery practitioners, none of whose work I was familiar with, many working in fields I didn’t know existed, and in a number of cases presented despite English not being their first language.
It was an honour to listen to them and I’d like to particularly give a shout out to (instagram handles and hyperlinks will take you an image of their work so you can see why):
Seeun Kim ( @art_studio_seeun ) whose mourning jewellery inspired copper brooches, are created through a complex and layered process of lost wax casting; layered in that she creates textures at each stage.
Yinglong Li ( @yinglong.li.961 ) whose modern reinterpretation of plique-a-jour was truly breathtaking, and took us on a virtual tour of his home city’s craft history
Jo McAllister ( @jomcallisterjewellery) creates exceptionally beautiful and textural jewellery (I had to stroke her bangle!). She was a very calming and inspiring presence. I particularly enjoyed getting to chat with her briefly on Sunday
Also thought provoking and well delivered talks that I really enjoyed from Jivan Astfalck (@astfalckjivan), Charlotte Dew (@gsmithscentre), Anthony Wong (@Anthonywongartist) and Kelvin Birk (@kelvinjbirk)
Extra thanks to Mark (@presman_mastermelt) for the goody-bag; my neighbour will never be able to misplace our spare key again, Emma from (@AssayOffice) Sheffield Assay Office for the Hallmarking reference book.
I met some fellow creative makers who seem supremely talented (go take a look at Stephanie @stephaniejohnsonjewellery) and David @davidjlillyjewellery) but were kind and generous, so made me feel less out of my depth. Thanks!
And of course, Kim (@MakeItWithKim) who was kind enough to come and crash at GillyTowers, and despite having to sleep in her van, managed to leave the bathroom cleaner than when she arrived. It’s always great fun to spelnd time with Kim. She should be grateful not to live closer!
Photos of my favourite of the brooches in the travelling ACJ exhibition…
and of some of the items created in the workshop ‘#MySlidingScale’ during which we created 6 identifying tokens to place on a bar thereby plotting where we feel between the two words at either end. eg, is my creation more messy or tidy. Interesting to see how varied all the tokens were, given we all had the same materials to use to collage / craft something. We then had to create an individual scale, and use two of our own words. I was a bit mentally and verbally challenged by this stage, (lots of people with much to try and absorb) but it was great fun and again very interesting.
Attending has made me realise I really must set aside time and create a budget to do more networking / gallery visiting over the next year. This was a very worthwhile use of my time.