“All That Glitters”

What are we going to talk about now?

“All that Glitters” has been the topic of conversation, on a weekly basis, in our workshops for the last 6 weeks.  We’ve criticised, praised and speculated on who was going to win.

With 8 jewellers starting the process, all bringing to the show a variety of different styles and skills, there can only be one winner.

There has been mixed reactions to the programme both positive and negative, but for me, the show has highlighted how fabulous it is to design and make your own jewellery whether it be as a career choice or a creative pastime.  The satisfaction when your design finally comes to fruition is very rewarding and even more so when it sells – lets face it everyone wants a ‘Best Seller’.

The contestants, as that’s what they are in this context, have all embraced their jewellery making skills and have achieved remarkable things considering the time constraints they have been faced with. I take my hat off to them but have they compromised their designs, finishes and craftsmanship as a result of these constraints?

Should they be judged for this as in whatever guise it maybe, they have studied and worked hard to build their knowledge and reputation and Sonny, in particular being a self-taught jeweller, has demonstrated that with guts and determination you can achieve great things.

Whilst the show gave with one hand it took with the other – it highlighted to the masses the joys of creating your own jewellery but it also undervalued the time and skill that goes into making a well-crafted piece.

The Birmingham School of Jewellery, the venue for All That Glitters, holds fond memories for me, it reaffirmed my love for jewellery making after initially studying at The Cass some years previous and I was privileged to be taught by some of the best.

I’ve spent years learning and perfecting my own skills and I’m continually learning, gleaning tips by reading books and posts from other makers as well as experimenting with new techniques.

As a teacher I’m faced with new challenges everyday, as students want to learn how to bring their own designs to life – there are no right or wrong ways of how things should be done.  Yes, there are traditions and techniques that form the foundations but rules are there to be broken and pushed, challenged and questioned. Sharing my knowledge is not only what I love to do but is imperative to keep the trade alive.

Whilst Hugo was definitely a worthy winner, the three finalists were all technically proficient designer-makers.  It took Hugo winning in the last episode to finally see Solange display a glimmer of emotion, not quite emulating Keith Brymer Jones from the ‘Great Pottery Throw Down’ but a tear none the less!

If you haven’t had chance to catch the show yet it’s well worth a watch…

(Image: BBC)

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