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Precious Little Gems 2018

13 Apr 2018



Collaboration and partnership working creates new silver commissions to mark the 245th anniversary of Sheffield Assay Office. 

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’sStarter Studio Programme for Designer Silversmiths and Jewellers participants Josephine Gomersall and Giles Kozdon.

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. This year as Sheffield Assay Office celebrates its 245thanniversary Assay Master Mr Ashley Carson wanted to create some extra special.

Josephine has created a bottle stopper inspired by the plant Honesty (Lunariaannua) which has distinctive silvery seedpods. The piece is made from sterling silver.Two of the seedpods are decorated with 18 carat gold seeds and tiny brilliant cut diamonds. These symbolise her nurture and growth as an emerging maker supported by this commission. Josephine has been inspired by the growth cycle of plants and the Japanese art form of ikebana. This depicts scenes from nature in formal, but asymmetrical, arrangements.

The silver bottle stopper has been made to fit into the bespoke hand-blown glass water carafe. When not in use, the stopper can be placed on the silver container, decorated with hand drawn engravings of Honesty seedpods. This form an ornamental table centrepiece that can be viewed at every angle.

Giles’s design makes reference to Sheffield’s industrial landscape. His pair of “Living Flame” sculptural candlesticks are inspired by the Brutalist architecture of the iconic Tinsley cooling towers. Giles has chosen to work with the powerful combination of polished concrete, silver and glass. The inner glass tubes are cut along the length and skilfully offset, creating a dramatic flame vortex within the cylinder when lit. The polished concrete, chosen as homage to the cooling towers, contrasts with the reflective properties of the silver framework casting an iridescent glow that accentuates the spiral “Living Flame”.

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, this year both commissions are certainly magical table piecesIt 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 commissions will be on display in the foyer until 1st October 2018.

Josephine and Giles will be giving a Lunchtime talk at Museums Sheffield; Millennium Gallery, on Monday 14th May 2018 at 1pm (45 mins) for more information


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