Abigail Brown

Designer

The Goldsmiths Company

ADDRESS :

Workshop 2 The Old Smithy Carwinion Road Mawnan Smith Falmouth Cornwall TR11 5JF

Biography:

Abigail Brown has been producing contemporary designs in silverware and jewellery for thirteen years and has had work exhibited internationally at venues including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Saatchi Gallery, Goldsmiths’ Hall and the German Goldsmiths’ House in Hanau. Her silverware has been included in a number of important events such as ‘Collect’ by the Crafts Council; the ‘Silber Triennale 2010’ which toured Germany and Belgium for over a year, and again in the ‘Silber Triennale 2013’; ‘Talente’ held at the International Trade Fair for the Skilled Trades in Munich; and she was the only UK finalist for the ‘BKV Prize 2010 for Young Applied Arts’ at Bayerischer Kunstgewerbe-Verein e.V. also in Munich. Abigail’s silverware and jewellery is widely collected and is included in the public collection of Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales in Cardiff. In December 2014 Abigail became a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ and shortly afterwards received the Freedom of the City of London. Abigail produces work predominantly in silver using traditional methods. She specialises in hand raised vessels, bowls and objects, as well as boxes and jewellery, using a hammer forming technique. Current research themes for her work include the human form, nature, and archaeology. In the course of her investigations Abigail looks at photography both her own and that of artists such as Imogen Cunningham and Karl Blossfeldt; observational drawings; Neolithic artefacts like the ‘Venus’ figures; and bronze age weaponry. Her Jewellery is currently focused on the themes of ‘Silversmithing for the Body’ – using traditional silversmithing techniques to create large pieces of jewellery or ‘sculptures’ for the body; and ‘the Body as a Landscape’ – the relationship between our selves as humans and nature; the relationship of the jewellery with the body; and the placing of that jewellery within the landscape of the body; and the landscape of the Earth perceived as a human body. Abigail has undertaken a number of residencies and opportunities. In 2010 she spent three months in Nepal working with the Esther Benjamins Memorial Foundation, teaching vulnerable adults jewellery making skills. In 2011 Abigail undertook a residency with the National Park Service in the Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, situated above the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Upon her return, she completed a number of pieces from research gathered whilst undertaking extensive wilderness travel. The first vessel in the series was exhibited with the Contemporary British Silversmiths’ at the V&A in 2012. The vessel – ‘Tundra – evolved from observational field drawings and photographs produced during the residency. Abigail’s main focus was the plant life, the tiny tundra plants surviving under huge skies, mountains and weather. She continued this theme for work that was later represented at ‘Collect’ with Contemporary Applied Arts. In 2014 Abigail had the opportunity to work with renowned Silversmith Rod Kelly at the South House Silver Workshop in Shetland. This visit resulted in the vessel ‘Eshaness’ which illustrates the windswept landscape of Shetland. Abigail will be returning to Shetland in 2015. ARTIST STATEMENT My particular interest began with the lines, folds and forms of the human body and how these are continually changing. I have long been fascinated by the sensuous qualities that our bodies possess, and often portray areas of the body that are not normally associated with these attributes. I design pieces that signify the warmth and softness of flesh in a material that is by nature hard and cold, creating a piece of silverware or jewellery that is tactile, sensual and invites interaction. I aim to emphasise the natural qualities of the materials I use whilst pursuing nature, flora and fauna within a vernacular context. I am interested in the similarities of the recurring forms and shapes that appear within the natural world and human body. As my work has developed over the years, I now find it difficult to differentiate between the sources of my inspiration. The vessels are often ambiguous in their final outcome: appearing as human form and bearing similarities to forms found in nature; and yet sometimes they are illustrative, describing a particular place, feeling or object. I am fascinated by the marriage of organic and structured form and I seek to create a union between the two, such as in my Square Fruit Bowls and Square Folds Neckpiece. Recently, I am increasingly influenced by my surroundings in Cornwall, and have become interested in the idea of the body as a landscape. My boxes, sculptural rings and brooches represent a small section of the female body and a piece of the wider landscape, contained within specific dimensions: like a canvas, or a geological core sample. I create bowls and vessels by raising and sinking flat sheets or discs of silver, using a variety of metal and wooden hammers and stakes. I often work intuitively with the material, responding to it as the piece takes shape. The spontaneous nature of this process means that each piece is unique and sculptural. Unlike other artistic materials such as clay, textile or paint, the material is precious, with intrinsic value, whilst also having an environmental cost. The techniques are time consuming and labour intensive, a labour of love, sometimes taking weeks or months to create a single piece. This all culminates in a design ethos within my work that means I cannot justify making something that is neither useful nor beautiful, something with which I hope admirers of my work would identify.

Specialist Techniques:

Hammer forming Planishing Raising Sinking Deep Relief Chasing Fabrication

Awards:

2015 Bayerischer Staatspreis (Bavarian State Prize) - Munich, Germany 2015 Short listed for the European Applied Arts Prize - Mons, Belgium 2013 Longlisted for the ‘Aesthetica Art Prize’ 2012 Finalist for the ‘Balvenie Masters of Crafts Award’ – Metal Category 2010 Finalist for the ‘BKV Prize 2010 for Young Applied Arts’ – Bayerischer Kunstgewerbe-Verein e.V., Munich 2010 Short listed ‘Silver Triennial 2010’ – German Goldsmiths’ House, Hanau 2009 and 2010 Short listed for the ’Inhorgenta Europe Innovation Prize for Jewellery’, Munich 2005 Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship and Design Awards - Commended in Design (3D) Silversmiths Senior 2001 The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ Silver Grant 2000 The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’ Precious Metal Bursary 2000 British Art Medal Society Student Medal Project – Equal Fourth Prize

Education:

1998-2001 Loughborough University School of Art and Design. BA (Hons) Silversmithing andJewellery 2001-2002 Bishopsland Workshop – Postgraduate residential training course RESIDENCIES 2011 Artist in Residence - Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve, Alaska 2004-2005 Artist in Residence – Edinburgh College of Art

Public Collections:

The Rothschild Collection   National Museum Wales, Cardiff

Exhibitions:

2015 ‘Modern Masters’ International Trade Fair for the Skilled Trades, Munich, Germany 'Summer Exhibition with John Higgins' Sussex 2014 ‘Goldsmiths’ Fair’ London (Exhibited 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) ‘Silver at the Drapers’ Hall’ Worshipful Company of Drapers’, London ‘Solo Craft & Jewellery Showcase’ Llantarnam Grange, Wales ‘Hammerslaat’ Koldinghus, Denmark ‘Rings’ The Craft Centre & Design Gallery, Leeds ‘Silver Triennial 2013’ Fair Ambiente, Frankfurt, Germany; Fair Inhorgenta, Munich 2013 ‘Silver Triennial 2013’ Deutsches Klingenmuseum Solingen, Germany ‘Silver Triennial 2013’ Museum und Galerie im Prediger, Schwabisch Gmund, Germany ‘Dining for Christies’ Christies Auction House, London ‘Silver Triennial 2013’ National Museum of Decorative Arts, Trondheim, Norway ‘Silver Triennial 2013’ German Goldsmith’ House, Hanau, Germany ’The Mighty Metalsmith’ Kath Libbert Gallery, Saltaire 2012 ‘The Goldsmiths’ Pavilion’ Somerset House, London (Exhibited 2012, 2013) ‘Collect’ Saatchi Gallery, London 'Silver by Women’ National Museum of Women in Art UK, London ‘Fit for Purpose’ Victoria & Albert Museum, London ‘Silver Triennial 2010’ Wasserschloss Klaffenbach, Chemnitz, Germany 2011 ‘Silver Triennial 2010’ KreisMuseum Zons, Dormagen, Germany ‘Silver Triennial 2010’ Zilvermuseum Sterckshof, Antwerp, Belgium ‘Collect’ Saatchi Gallery, London ‘Revolution’ Harley Gallery, Nottinghamshire ‘Silverstruck (New Work in Silver)’ Ruthin Craft Centre and National Museum Wales ‘Silver Triennial 2010’ Museum Kunstgewerbesammlung Huesmann, Bielefeld, Germany ‘Talente’ International Trade Fair for the Skilled Trades, Munich, Germany 2010 ‘Silver Triennial 2010’ German Goldsmith’ House, Hanau, Germany ‘Dazzle’ The National Theatre, London ‘Focus’ Jam and Eton Applied Arts, Windsor ‘Edge to Edge, Side x Side’ Contemporary British Silversmiths, Royal Cornwall Museum ‘Focus’ Contemporary Applied Arts, London ‘Handmade: Contemporary British Craft’ Fortnum and Mason, London ‘Contemporary Silver Making from Bishopsland’ Dovecot, Edinburgh 2009 ‘Winter Collection’ The Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow ‘Dazzle’ The National Theatre, London ‘Origin’ Somerset House, London (Exhibited 2009, 2010) ‘Edge to Edge, Side x Side’ Contemporary British Silversmiths, Hameenlina, Finland ‘Contemporary Silver: The Bishopsland Fellowship’ V&A Museum, London ‘Silver with a Pinch of Salt’ Goldsmiths’ Hall, London ‘Inhorgenta’ Munich, Germany (Exhibited 2009, 2010, 2011) 2008 ‘Silver Lining’ The Harley Gallery, Nottinghamshire ‘Objects of Desire’ Chapel Gallery, Lancashire ‘Simply Silver’ The Craft Centre and Design Gallery, Leeds 2007 ‘Christmas Crackers’ Millennium Galleries, Sheffield ‘Gifted’ The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey ‘Moments of Indulgence’ Millennium Galleries, Sheffield ‘Art in Action’ Waterperry, Oxfordshire (Exhibited 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011) ‘The Contemporary Craft Fair’ Bovey Tracey, Devon ‘British Crafts Trade Fair’ Harrogate, Yorkshire 2006 ‘Sparkle’ The Grace Barrand Design Centre, Surrey ‘Covet’ RBSA Gallery Birmingham 2005 ‘Gifted’ The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh ‘Metalform’ The Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow 2003 ‘Silver Sparks: The Bishopsland Connection’ The Gilbert Collection, London 2002 ‘One Year On’ Islington, London

Publications:

2012 ‘Craft & Design’ Magazine, Abigail Brown – March/April 2011 ‘Extraordinary Sketchbooks’ by Jane Stobbart – A&C Black ‘500 Silver Jewellery Designs’ – Lark Books ‘A Silversmith’s Manual’ by Bernard Cuzner (Russian Edition) 2010 ‘Art Aurea’ Magazine, Warme und Weichheit (Warmth & Softness) – September; ‘GZ’ Magazine, Silver Stars – September 2009 ‘Jewellery Focus’ Magazine, Designer of the Month – May 2008 ‘The World of Interiors’ Magazine, Silver Lining – October ‘Jewellers: The Directory’ The Association of Contemporary Jewellers 2007 ‘Crafts’ magazine, Out of the West – July/Aug 2005 ‘Homes & Interiors Scotland’ magazine, Design Talent – July/August 2002 ‘Hello’ magazine – 9 July ‘Weekend’ magazine in ‘The Guardian’ – 22 June 2000 ‘Contemporary Art Medals – The BAMS Student Art Medal Project 2000’


  • Abigail Brown

    'Folds' Neckpiece

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Feather' Neckpiece

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Penwith' Beaker

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Adraste' Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Artemis' Vessel

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Folds' Napkin Rings

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  • Abigail Brown

    Salt & Spoon

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Stars'

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Mistletoe'

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Holly with Berries' Yuletide decoration

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Folds' Backpiece

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Crest' Ring

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Wing' Neckpiece

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  • Abigail Brown

    Round 'Folds' Brooch

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  • Abigail Brown

    Rectangle 'Folds' Brooch (1)

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Thetis' Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Swirl' Beakers

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  • Abigail Brown

    Small 'Swirling' Vase

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Aphrodite' Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Grain' Whiskey Flask

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Homologous I & II' Square Bowls

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Tundra' Vessel

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Isis'

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Holly' Christmas Decoration

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  • Abigail Brown

    Medium Square 'Fallen Leaf' Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Folds' Boxes

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Swirling' Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Enclose' Oval Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Falling Leaf' Dish

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Capsicum' Beakers

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  • Abigail Brown

    Square 'Gothic' Fruit Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Indulgence' Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    Large Square Fruit Bowl

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  • Abigail Brown

    Alternating Square Chain Necklace

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  • Abigail Brown

    Woven Squares Rings

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  • Abigail Brown

    Multi-Chain Necklace

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  • Abigail Brown

    Rectangle 'Folds' Brooch

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  • Abigail Brown

    Square 'Folds' Pendant

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  • Abigail Brown

    Square 'Folds' Brooch

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  • Abigail Brown

    Square 'Folds' Dangly Earrings

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  • Abigail Brown

    Square 'Folds' Neckpiece and Bracelet

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  • Abigail Brown

    'Folds' Bangles

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