The cream of local craftsmanship is currently on display at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.
Brilliance in Birmingham draws on a rich heritage of designer-maker craft production in the city, spanning more than 200 years.
Jewellers join artists, designer-makers and ceramicists for this showcase of regional talent at The Craft Gallery at the RBSA – one of the leading venues for discovering high-end contemporary art and crafts, exhibiting designer-makers from the Midlands and beyond.
So whether you’re a lover of handcrafted goods, or a designer or maker yourself, you’ll find there’s an impressive selection of crafts, ceramics and jewellery to view.
All items featured in the exhibition are available to purchase. Brilliance in Birmingham runs until Saturday 23 September.
Alix Swan, Paper Artist | Glen Campbell, Jeweller | Irena Maria Varey, Jeweller | Julia Davenport, Jeweller | Kate Farley, Designer-Maker |Katherine Campbell-Legg, Jeweller | Kiya Corrales, Jeweller | Miranda Sharpe, Jeweller | Nobuko Okumura, Jeweller | Peter Wareing, Ceramicist | Rachel Ricketts, Jeweller | Rienna Haycox, Jeweller | Robert Hand, Ceramicist | Ruth Green, Printmaker | Susie Andrews, Jeweller | Theo Wright, Weaver
Kate Farley, Textile designer-maker: Kate’s work encompasses drawing, printmaking, book art and pattern design for paper, textiles and beyond. Her well-established practice of commissions, residencies and exhibitions are complemented by her academic career, currently as Course Director of the BA Textile Design course at Birmingham City University.
Robert Hand RBSA, Ceramicist: All of Rob’s work is hand-built using coils of clay, which are then worked extensively to produce the desired final effect. Some of the pieces on display are examples of pit-fired ceramics using a primitive technique to produce sophisticated and polished pots.
Theo Wright, Weaver: Theo is inspired by ideas in science and mathematics, and also draws on textile traditions in weaving and knitting – working in lambswool, silk, cotton and linen. Work from his latest project When Waves Collide is touring the Midlands during 2016-2018 as part of the exhibition Made in the Middle.
Glen Campbell, Jeweller: Glenn recreates part of the beauty we can all see in nature. He is fascinated with the smaller parts that make up this world. It is this inspiration that directs the overall feel of his work, along with directly experimenting with the metal.
Miranda Sharpe, Jeweller: Miranda’s jewellery is heavily inspired by the natural world, with recent inspiration exploring matter that evokes strong emotional responses. Her work draws on microscopic imagery of bacteria.
Rienna Haycox, Jeweller: Rienna uses the latest laser marking technologies and saw-pierced metal to capture personal images and text within a beautiful frame. She enjoys working with individuals to create unique pieces of jewellery inspired by their memories.
Illustration by Ruth Green
Alix Swan, Paper Artist: Alix draws from a treasure trove of vintage and secondhand finds to create quirky and evocative art. She draws inspiration from vintage stories, rhymes and sayings, using a computer, digital camera and four old typewriters to create her trademark lettering.
Katherine Campbell-Legg, Jeweller: Katherine looks at plant forms and the variety of shape and scale within them as a source of inspiration, playing with pattern and texture and searching for the essence of the subject matter without interpreting it literally.
Peter Wareing, Ceramicist: Peter produces mainly classic thrown forms which are illustrated with complex designs using an adaptation of the ancient technique of tube lining. The imagery is mostly derived from natural forms which are often mixed with weathered and discarded manmade objects.
Rachel Ricketts RBSA, Jeweller: Rachel is a sculptor, painter and craftsperson. In ‘X from a Rat’ she explores the popular belief that we are never more than ‘X’ distance from a rat at any time or place in the city. She likes making precious adornments from generally vilified creatures and drawing attention to their natural beauty.
Irena Maria Varey ARBSA, Jeweller: Irena explores the beauty of gemstones and minerals in her work. She employs a technique called reticulation to great effect: controlled melting forms unpredictable and unrepeatable undulations.
Nobuko Okumura, Jeweller: Nobuko is strongly inspired by geometric and natural forms. She follows the wabi-sabi approach, an aesthetic concept of simplicity and asymmetry inspired by Buddhist teachings.
Kiya Corrales, Jeweller: Kiya draws inspiration from her urban surroundings, picking out geometric details and patterns in industrial architecture. Her jewellery finds the balance between bold and delicate design.
Susie Andrews, Jeweller: Susie draws inspiration from the countryside and from her own cottage garden. She weaves the natural world and architectural forms into her work, using mainly silver and glass. Each item is unique in shape and colour.
If you are planning a trip to the Jewellery Quarter, make sure you visit the RBSA to see Brilliance in Birmingham, one of a host of forthcoming workshops and exhibitions by this artist-led charity, which lies just off St Paul’s Square.