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32NADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN 2010www.nadfas.org.ukAbove: CatherineMartinuseshand-weaving tocreate her piecesRight:Contemporarywelded vessel byKevin GreySince the beginning of civilisation,jewellery and silver have played amajor role in the lives of mankind,not only as a means of adornment anddisplay of power and wealth, but also foruse in ceremonies, in addition tocountless other roles. As such, the craftand techniques of the goldsmith areamong the most ancient. Remarkably,they are still much in evidence in the21st century and hence we too are ableto enrich our lives with jewellery andsilver thanks to the creativity and skills ofthe many talented designer-makers whohave chosen this ancient craft.A visit to Goldsmiths' Fair held in themagnificent gilded interior of Goldsmiths'Hall in London provides the perfectopportunity to witness at first hand astunning array of contemporary jewelleryand silver. Over the past 28 years theFair has grown in stature and allure andis now considered to be the mostimportant and prestigious event of itskind in Europe. Its pre-eminence isprecisely because it is the ultimateshowcase for the skills of leading andup-and-coming designer-makers in theUK. The Fair is a hotbed of talent,passion, creativity, innovative design andsuperlative craftsmanship. Forget massArtistry and argentJewellery and silver have always played amajor role in the lives of mankind making thecraft of the goldsmith one of the most ancient.Remarkably, these techniques are still much inevidence today and the Goldsmiths' Fair is oneof the best places to witness them, along withmore modern methods. By Amanda StucklinGOLDSMITHS' FAIR

production -the Fair is all about thebespoke, the original and the one-off.Each piece is hand-made by craftsmenin small workshops around the country:collectively, the Fair represents monthsof intense skill and artistry.One of the most important aspects ofthe Fair, aside from being totallyinspirational, is that anyone interested inthe history of the craft and the manydifferent techniques of the goldsmith willfind it both fascinating and educational.Not only are there wonderful piecesincorporating every skill in thegoldsmiths' repertoire to admire andtouch, you can also speak to thedesigner-makers themselves. Each oneis delighted to talk about their work andexplain their techniques, which adds atotally new dimension of interest. Silversmith Wally Gilbert feels that outof all metals, silver is "the most lovely,subtle and versatile" and providesendless opportunities to exercisetraditional skills such as hand-raising,fold-forming, forging, box-making, hand-piercing, chasing, planishing, engravingand etching. Hand-raising is one of the oldesttechniques of silversmithing and isachieved by literally beating a sheet ofsilver over steel or wooden forms usingspecialist hammers to create a shape.This method requires not only skill,knowledge and time but also physicalstrength! Ndidi Ekubia says it's importantto develop a rhythm: "I almost go into amesmerising trance when I beat silver."Beating the silver pushes it to its limitsand the result is an organic and vitalsilver vessel that resonates with Ndidi'spassion and energy. Many silversmiths believe that thisprocess emphasises the aesthetic hand-made appeal, as well as achieving abetter weight distribution. Hand-raisingfrom a single sheet of metal alsoenables the silversmith to achieve aseamless piece with no soldering. This isparticularly evident in the work of WilliamLee, renowned for his extremely largesilver vessels.One young silversmith who is makingquite a name for herself is TheresaNguyen. With the help of a NADFASSouth Mercia scholarship, Theresaspent a year studying at the renownedBishopsland postgraduate workshopand has since undertaken a number ofhigh-profile commissions, including onefor the National Museum of Wales.www.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN201033GOLDSMITHS' FAIRClockwisefrom top left:Work by TomRucker, NdidiEkubia, AngusMcFadyen,TheresaNguyen, BrianWilliamson,GrahamStewart, William LeeandBrett Payne