14 Apr 2017
Sheffield Assay Office is delighted to announce that the Precious Little Gems Commissions sponsored by the office are now on display in the foyer of Museums Sheffield, Millennium Gallery.
These stunning pieces have been designed and made by Yorkshire Artspace’s Starter Studio Programme for Designer Silversmiths and Jewellers participants Elizabeth Handforth, Caroline McNeil-Moss and Victoria Radcliffe.
The Sheffield Assay Office offers a commission opportunity to these emerging silversmiths in their second year of the programme. The annual ‘Precious Little Gems’ has enabled them to test out new ideas and realise their designs in silver. The finished objects then join the metalwork collections of Sheffield Assay Office and Museums Sheffield.
The brief was to create a new piece of work, the design had to be original and thought provoking. For the first time in the 15 years of the programme commission two of the silversmiths, Elizabeth and Caroline chose to work together presenting a collaborative design combining features unique to each maker. Victoria was selected as her design pushes her work further, creating a larger piece of work and working with new materials.
Elizabeth and Caroline have created a wonderful piece made from Britannia silver called Emerging City. They said the collaboration had been tricky but they share a love of the circle and the square, and a deep love of Sheffield. Elizabeth, a Sheffielder, has found Caroline’s new found love for the city extremely heartening. Caroline is amazed by the character of the citys people, their warm heartedness and sense of community. Caroline’s domes represent the people of Sheffield and the dish represents the city’s’ geography, the flowing rivers and hills that enabled the metal industries to develop. In this piece the people are integrated into the landscape, literally emerging from it.
Victoria Radcliffe designed and made a Petit Four Stand in Sterling silver and Mandale limestone, Victoria’s silverware is inspired by or designed around natural found rock, giving each a spontaneous outcome. This petit four stand incorporated a new direction for her. The Mandale limestone from Derbyshire, which has fossils locked within it, has been used to make a direct connection to the ancient geology in and around Sheffield. Victoria said “In designing this piece I took the Precious Little Gems commission as an opportunity to create something I’ve never done before. I see the petit four stand as a centre piece of a table. A functional yet fascinating talking point”.
Ashley Carson, Assay Master said;
“We’re delighted to be able to continue this partnership working with Yorkshire Artspace and Museums Sheffield, every year something special is revealed, I marvel at the quality of the work. It is so important to celebrate and promote Sheffield’s rich metalworking heritage and the skill and creativity of those makers working in the city today”.
The pieces will be on display in the foyer until 2nd of October and within The Sykes Gallery; Metalwork Collection at Millennium Galleries you can see all of the commissions from previous years displayed together.
Victoria, Elizabeth and Caroline will be giving a Lunchtime talk at Museums Sheffield; Millennium Gallery Activity Room on Monday 22nd May 2017, 1pm (45 mins) for more information visit http://www.museums-sheffield.org.uk/museums/millennium-gallery/home