The Jewellery Quarter

As previously mentioned I was in Birmingham at the end of last week to sit on the judging panel for upcoming ACJ exhibition, Stainless. The Stainless exhibition will be a part of Galvanize festival in Sheffield and will celebrate the anniversary of Stainless Steel.

The beginning of the trip was pretty standard. Get off train, get to hostel, Sleep. But on Friday the 15th February it was all happening! First thing I  did was go for a wander in the jewellery quarter. I had known it was the jewellery quarter and it was really well signposted but I had no idea that there were actually going to be THAT many jewellery shops. Literally every second shop. There were alot of abandoned buildings (sign of the times) and even these used to be jewellery shops. I walked past the jewellery school, and found Cooksons, Sutton Tools, and a new tool shop I’d never heard of and would highly recommend, Cousins Uk. Its a smaller company but they had much more on show than the other two and very friendly and helpful staff. Naturally I didnt walk away empty handed. I swear the tube cutter, pliers and agate burnisher I bought will revolutionize my jewellery practise…Possibly.

tube cutterAfter my purchases it was time to head to The Jewellery School. Excitement ensued. I was a wee bit early but there was an exhibition on in the atrium by Craftspace called Making Moves so naturally I had a look. Making Moves II is a craft development initiative which builds on a seven year partnership between Staffordshire County Council and Craftspace and involves makers undertaking residencies in community settings and aims “to enrich the student experience, develop opportunities for new graduates & established artists and provide opportunities for audience participation”. Pretty cool stuff.


Then I was welcomed by ACJ’s Tamizan Savill and met the others members of the selection panel. Proffessor of the Jewellery School, Jack Cunningham, Dierdre Figueiredo MBE of Craftspace, Mark Lewis, a tutor at the jewellery school, jeweller and advocate for the power of drawing, and Amanda Game, well known curator and key player in Innovative Craft. So as you can probably tell I felt pretty honoured to be there and possibly slightly out of my depth. As soon as we started looking at the submissions though I felt way more comfortable. The standard of work was extremely high and it was an absolute pleasure to be veiwing and passing opinions on it. It could have been easy for the others not to listen to my views but they absolutely did. They took everything I said on board and were lovely to work with. I had a ball. I can only hope that this kind of opportunity comes up again because I loved every second of it.  I also loved the tour of the jewellery school. What amazing facilities and spaces they have there. Im seriously thinking about doing a Masters course now but thats a blog post for another day.


I think Ive written enough for one night but I will be blogging again very soon about some of the amazing jewellery I saw and some things Ive been working on.


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