Best of British?

July 15th, 2010 Leave a Comment 1

Up early, dressed smartly and left in unusually good time for the train. Punctual arrival at the station with ten minutes to spare. Purchased ticket to the The Big Smoke. Hooray! Enough time to grab a paper, coffee and calmly contemplate the civilized journey ahead. Board the train, and, impressively manage to snaffle a comfy seat and table all to myself  (do you Dear Reader have a sense of impending doom?) unfold aforementioned newspaper, sit back, relax, remove lid from coffee cup and proceed to pour half of the contents into my lap. Damnation! After half an hour of intimacy with a hand drier I returned to my seat having acquired neighbours, hot legs, cold coffee and a slightly edgier, splodge dyed, fashion forward look that I wasn’t planning…

All dried out and ready to go I jumped on a bus and took a trip down Chancery Lane. All worries about my attire were immediately  ameliorated by London’s luminous beauty.

As far as jewellery design goes what constitutes ‘Best of British’? This was one of the more contentious issues raised at the inaugural Jewellery Designers Focus Group lunch on Tuesday. Hosted by Jenni Middleton, editor of Retail Jeweller and Julie Driscoll, event director of The Jewellery Show at Clerkenwell House in Hatton Garden, it turned into a surprisingly lively and passionate affair!

A dynamic group from different disciplines of the trade, including Lindsey Straughton of The British Jewellers Association, and emerging designers Ana De Costa and Katie Rowland to the more established Diane Hall from Dower and Hall enjoyed delicious tapas and animated conversation. There was much deliberation, cogitation, mastication, rumination and even mediation when things got provocative. (Ahhh, nothing like a little aliteration to get the blood flowing…)  In fact serious discussion about the many challenges facing designers was the order of the day. From how to cope with the ever rising price of gold (no satisfactory answers to that dilemma unfortunately) to how trade shows can encourage and support young designers. From partnerships and mentoring to selection procedures and manufacturing origin.

Here at Goodman Morris we are absolutely passionate about designing AND manufacturing in the UK. We are fervent believers in using the incredible skills and craftspeople that are available in the UK. We do as much as possible in house and out source to UK based specialists only when necessary. We really are proud to be able to say that we manufacture in house. We are also committed to training and passing on our skills, just as someone did for us (Thank you to Tom Jupp and Jo Swan). The British jewellery industry has some incredibly effective and supportive organizations such as The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and The British Jewellers Association who do all they can to promote and preserve  jewellery making in the UK. So, what then is ‘Best of British’? For us, that has to encompass both the conception and production of a product in the UK, we understand that it is different for all designers. Some designers work through the concepts here and move all the production abroad, some produce part of their work here and the rest elsewhere. When one understands the emotional investment each of us has in our work it is easy to understand how the dialogue can become so impassioned.  Please share your views. (You can click on the wiggly icon next to the date above to leave a comment)

Here is a fine example of The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ good work! The rather fantastic Mr Ryan Ormond. He is our apprentice and has been with us since January 2010 and is on a five year  endentured apprentice scheme run by The Goldsmiths Company. (Chin up Ryan, only four and a half years to go!)  The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths are the last Company to run this scheme, a very traditional arrangement which has been in operation for hundreds of years. The scheme supports both the apprentice and master over five years. This begins with a ‘binding’ ceremony when both parties sign their intent into one of five books held by The Goldsmiths (I think the one that Ryan signed has been in use since 1860); and culminates in the apprentice presenting his/her masterpiece and releasing him/herself from the binding to his/her master.

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