Crafts Council Touring exhibition I AM HERE features 100 works of exciting and innovative studio jewellery created by the most significant British and international makers of the last five decades - each piece a powerful reflection of the spirit of its generation and acting as a precedent for the future.
Alongside works from the Crafts Council’s own collection of more than 400 pieces of British jewellery there’s works borrowed from public collections, notably mima, and works lent by private and commercial galleries Galerie marzee, gallery SO and Pangolin.
Jewellery is the most intimate of art forms. It is a dialogue of shared meaning between wearer and maker. While all the works on display relate to the body, that’s where our familiar understanding of jewellery ends. Some of the pieces have been constructed using materials as diverse as concrete and broken bottles, nails, ice, plastic, wallpaper, cork, paper, rubber, volcano lava.
Earliest works are by renowned sculptors Geoffrey Clarke and Lynn Chadwick. There’s ground breaking pieces from the most radical era of making in the 1970’s when the New Jewellery movement saw makers such as Susanna Heron, Caroline Broadbent and David Watkins use non-precious material and experimental design to highlight contemporary social and political issues.
Pieces from the 1980s include works by the masters of conceptual jewellery, Swiss maker Otto Kunzli and British maker Pierre Degen. There’s Andrew Logan’s metal foil hologram brooch and David Ward’s photographic print of Julia Manheim’s ‘Body Cage’.
Pieces from the 1990s include Wendy Ramshaw’s ‘Overlap for ‘Big Head’, Hans Stofer ‘Allerseelen’ and Sigurd Bronger’s formica ‘Wearbable Instrument’. Works from the start of the new millennium include a film of an arm piece made of ice by Naomi Filmer and bejewelled fur-coated emperor penguin brooch by Dutch jeweller Felieke van der Leest.
More recent pieces on display include Maria Militsi’s series of installations from the ‘Ballet to Remember’ which incorporate objects that have been lost by the owner, Bernard Schobinger’s ‘Ersatzlampe’ necklace, Warwick Freeman’s ‘The Story of a Hook’ and fashion and design work by Tatty Devine. Tatty Devine has also been commissioned by the Crafts Council to create a limited edition necklace and brooch for I AM HERE which are available to buy – along with the exhibition catalogue - via the Crafts Council online shop.