DUNDEE’S precious metals heritage will be connected to its growing contemporary reputation for design when a prestigious exhibition and gathering of silversmiths takes place in the city later this month.
Hammerclub, a forum for silversmiths from across Europe, will be hosted by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design from Friday 31 May to Sunday 2 June.
It will be the first time in the 17-year history of the organisation that its flagship annual event has taken place in the UK.
Around 100 silversmiths will come together for two days of visits and talks alongside the exhibition of their work, entitled Renewal, which will remain open until the end of June at Dock Street Studios.
The exhibition will show 79 works from Belgium, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, South Korea, UK and the US.
Renewal takes its theme from the regeneration of Dundee, the UK’s only UNESCO City of Design and home to the V&A Dundee design museum.
Dundee also has a long history with silver – in the 18th century it had its own provincial silver mark represented by a vase of lilies, the town’s emblem.
Dr Sandra Wilson of Duncan of Jordanstone College said: “Throughout history, silversmithing has renewed itself through the next generation and their social, cultural and economic influences. This continues to this day.
“It is clear that the field is vibrant and brimming with ideas. I hope our exhibition and symposium will make a significant contribution to several of the aims of Dundee as a UNESCO City of Design.”
The exhibition will explore renewal through the re-use of materials, innovation and new emergent technologies as well as new designs for familiar objects, modernisation of traditional techniques and the development of form and within nature.
Each year, participants vote for the best works in the exhibition and award three prizes of silver bullion. In Dundee, the exhibition visitors will also have the opportunity to vote for their favourite work.
A highlight is the public forging of the common bowl, a communal act of making by all the participating silversmiths which will take place at V&A Dundee on 31 May and at Discovery Point on 1 and 2 June. This will be forged from fair-mined silver provided by the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh.
The exhibition is supported by Goldsmiths’ Centre and the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh. Selected works from the exhibition will be shown at the Goldsmith’s Centre in London over the summer and at Elements: a Festival of Gold and Silver in Edinburgh later this year.
Hammerclub was founded in Germany and is organised annually by different European cities on a voluntary basis. In Dundee it is being hosted by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, which has an internationally renowned jewellery and metal design department.