Image: Clare Hillerby
In the Spotlight - 40 Years in the Making
8th Oct 2022 - 28th Jan 2023
Over our 40 year history this annual exhibition has provided a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase intriguing contemporary craft collections made from unusual materials created with fascinating techniques. This year we’ve curated a show that celebrates makers from our 40 year archive highlighting items to add to existing collections or to start collecting today with. Some of the featured makers have been commissioned to create an exclusive piece for our anniversary show and visitors will be able to vote for their favourite.
Click on the links to our past shows below to discover more from our amazing 40 year archive!
We can't wait to work with Clare again, she has become a firm favourite in Leeds and has been supported in many of our shows including Alchemy in 2000, The Written Word in 2004, Alchemy in 2009, Remember When in 2011 and a show we called Scratch the Surface in 2018. After graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Jewellery and Silversmithing Clare received a Start-Up Grant from the Scottish Arts Council to establish her workshop and business in Edinburgh. Now based in Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre, Clare gathers old postcards, usually around 100 years old, featuring handwriting, which is her starting point. “The handwriting is unique and full of character, telling stories and hinting at everyday lives throughout our history. Contrasts of writing styles and characters are important, and combining them result in new conversations.” As well as postcards Clare collects stamps, linen maps and old wooden rulers: “Gathering old materials creates a unique and inspiring starting point for making. History, heritage and our urban environment are a constant source of inspiration. New metalwork elements are created with pattern and texture that reference our urban environment; then the old and the new are combined and contemporary stories emerge.”
Jed has been featured in a number of our shows from our remarkable archive and we really are delighted to welcome her back. You may have seen her jewellery collections in Alchemy 7 in 2007 and In the Spotlight in 2012. Jed is inspired using inexpensive everyday materials to create unique and precious pieces. Borosilicate clear glass tubes, commonly used in science and industry are cut, carved and lamp worked to form various shapes. Moving pieces or clusters of these are linked together by drilling and pinning. Colour is applied by painting the interior of the glass wall and applying handmade transfers to pattern the outside. She is constantly searching for new ways to express her creativity and inspirations in glass. There is a fragility and lightness in her work and the use of colour and form make each piece unique and eminently collectable. “Experiencing a spark of an idea, then trying to create it in glass always seems impossible…until its done! The transformation from simple clear glass tubes into soft sculptural forms and experimenting with colour, texture, pattern and shape is intrinsic to my work.”
Gail's fantastic jewellery has been showcased in many shows here in Leeds including Alchemy 8 in 2007, Colour and Gems in 2009, Here Comes the Sun in 2013 and Seeing Colour in 2016. Gail takes inspiration from many different sources; from nature, ethnic traditions, the ideas of various artists and artistic movements, modern architecture and the wallpaper and textile designs of the 1950’s. She finds acrylic the most fascinating and versatile of 3-D media; it combines deep transparency and intense clarity with the most surprising reflectivity from internal surfaces. It is capable of capturing light and colour and form and reflecting it back in myriad ways. “I love art and I am most excited by making interesting yet practical jewellery designs that people enjoy wearing and bring them compliments. I use a variety of techniques including cutting, heating, and moulding block, sheet and compounds to produce my shapes, while other pieces are cast, laser-cut or moulded. I have developed my own processes to decorate it. It can be coloured or clear, patterned or plain, smooth or textured, sculpted or engraved, matt or polished, in almost any combination to reflect mood.” Gail is constantly experimenting and this material facilitates endless creativity through varying shape, colour, texture and decoration. “I don’t just love it for its impact and visual complexity but because of the many different ways it can be adapted to be worn as jewellery, both as adornment and as art.”
Adele is a maker we’ve had the pleasure of working with in many shows including Up Front and In the Spotlight in 2010, Rings in 2013, The Jewellery Shows in 2014 and 2017 (when we celebrated 35 years), and more recently our Playful Jewellery Show in 2020. Adele will be showcasing her stunning jewellery and small keepsake items with us this anniversary year. She values practical hand making skills in the creation of her designs and enjoys letting the material influence and, to some extent, dictate how the pieces of work evolve during production. She became increasingly interested in pattern and texture as a result of a trip to Iceland where she found the linear texture and patterns in the vastness of the dramatic volcanic landscape very inspiring and much of her work since then has been expanding and exploring landscape ideas. The Icelandic colour pallete also suited her well as she was drawn to the muted colours and was struck by the similarity of these colours to the subtle and gentle colours which occur in metals and precious stones. Also, as part of Adele’s recent exploration of landscape, she has been developing a series of pieces which are a combination of 2D mixed media work created to include small pieces of 3D precious metal jewellery work which occupy their own places in the landscape. She works from her studio in Sheffield and also teaches small groups practical.
We are thrilled to be working with Helen again this anniversary year. You may have seen her witty and intriguing jewellery in our In the Spotlight exhibition back in 2008 and a show we called Amore in 2011. Helen is widely recognised in the jewellery community for her beautifully executed work in resin and silver. Following a chance discovery of a single set of miniatures and a book on resin, Helen quickly developed an obsession with combining the two into her varied and stunning collection. Now selling across the country and featuring in several books, Helen incorporates everything from penguins to nuns to circus performers. The most important thing though is the element of surprise and humour integral to each piece - a second look is a must!
Please note that the images above may not be the work arriving for our show. Once the show starts we'll be adding photographs and creating a Virtual Gallery Tour so you can explore what the makers made for you to own or admire.