DAlexander codpiece

Article by ACJ Development Manager Tamizan Savill

published in Findings issue 57, Autumn 2013 (edited)


Image: Dauvit Alexander Empire State Human

Codpiece: Found, burnt ‘Viners Sheffield’ stainless steel table knives; recycled steel spring washers; silver 60/40 hibuichi; cubic zirconia

photo Andrew Neilson






ACJ's 2013 exhibition was the culmination of a year of hard work, and here's a glimpse of how we did it.
The initial proposal came in March last year from ACJ founder member Maria Hanson, on behalf of the Galvanize team. We were invited to stage the flagship show of this biennial festival of metalwork, which lasts for a month with multiple shows and events across Sheffield.
2013 is the centenary of Harry Brearley's invention of stainless steel, and our chosen theme of STAIN-LESS offered a range of possibilities for interpretation.

The initial call for entries went out in August with a January deadline, deliberately avoiding the autumn selling season to encourage applications.

The Selection Panel was given a clear brief, and criteria were rigorously applied. A certain standard of technical skill and design is expected by all such panels; aesthetic decisions may vary according to individuals. Chaired by Professor Jack Cunningham, the panel included curators Amanda Game and Deirdre Figueirido, and ACJ advisors Joanne Garner and Mark Lewis. They made much effort to ensure coherence and thematic relevance throughout, and about half of the proposals were selected.


Jane Adam UN coloured aluminium bangles

Image right: Jane Adam uncoloured aluminium bangles  photo Jerry Lampson


The quality of photos is always important: a clear pic on a plain white background is much preferred. (It also really helps if submitted images are in the format requested, especially with regard to file size. )

Things started to move very quickly after selected members were notified. To allow the maximum making time, the schedule from delivery of work to opening was just three weeks : photography, graphics, proofing & print of the catalogue, and installation of the show. The logistics were complicated, but made possible by a helpful and efficient team of volunteers. Annette Petch received the work, and ferried it to photographer Jerry Lampson;  Chair Terry Hunt worked swiftly and accurately to design and compile the catalogue (which looks beautiful). Maria Hanson liaised with Galvanize and the very professional Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery, and set up with Chris Boland, Chiara Bet and Jessica Briggs. One valuable result is the new ACJ-Sheffield regional group, kick started by this show.


Maria Hanson






    Left : Maria Hanson Wearable tags: 1913 - 2013 How many years without bloodstain?
    Stainless steel, paint and ribbon   photo Jerry Lampson



Galvanize had successfully applied for funding from Arts Council England.  Careful management combined with a small application fee resulted in a balanced ACJ budget, happily; but we did not cost in an enormous input of work from the Board, the members, Administrator Sue Hyams and me as Development Manager.


The show looked great. There was plenty of space both within and around the cases, showing off an interesting and varied array of work, as documented  in the catalogue.


The Private View was busy since it opened the whole Festival. For a jewellery spotter it was a glittering occasion :  collars of office worn by the Lord Mayor, Master Cutler and the Assay Master; some very large neckpieces on graduating BA students;  a Wendy Ramshaw collar, a large bangle by Zoe Robertson, and of course ACJ members present were modelling their own work. A shame Dauvit Alexander's codpiece stayed in the case : it would have looked splendid if worn by a visitor.


Image right: Lynne Bartlett   Cutlery neckpiece  heat treated titanium sheet

photo Jerry Lampson