Galvanize Sheffield - Festival for contemporary metalwork

The metalwork trade that made the city of Sheffield world famous still plays a vital role here today and this is celebrated through Galvanize Sheffield, a month long festival for contemporary metalwork with numerous events across the city.� The festival spans a range of metal crafts from silversmiths to pewterers and blacksmiths.� It offers something for everyone and includes exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, talks and family fun days.� The festival is proving a popular attraction across the city with over 180,000 visitors attending the festival in 2009.�
Yorkshire Artspace’s successful Starter Studio Programme for Silversmiths is an enthusiastic participant with both current and previous beneficiaries involved in the many exhibitions and events that are part of the festival. The Starter Studio Programme offers early career silversmiths the chance to work for a 2-year period in a fully equipped space at an affordable rent.� In addition, they receive mentor and technical support from established silversmiths and often gain their first commission and exhibition opportunities through the festival.� The programme has been vital to the career developments of many young silversmiths, enabling them to develop new skills and works of art and bringing this to the attention of the wider public.
‘The starter studio programme was the kick start my business needed. It is a unique opportunity and acts as a stepping stone between the dream of becoming a designer silversmith and the reality of making it happen. The support on the program is tremendous and there are plenty of facilities. From being the first starter on the programme in 2002, I am about to go into my 9th year in business”. Katey Felton, silversmith.
Apart from Katey, another 25 silversmiths with links to Sheffield will be exhibiting their work in a special exhibition entitled ‘Interchange’ which takes place at Butcher Works Gallery.� Sarah Denny, another former beneficiary of the programme will be exhibiting a new sculptural work created by hand raising large sheets of Britannia Silver into complex internal and external forms.� Sarah is now represented by Contemporary Applied Arts in London and regularly exhibits at galleries around the UK.
Also showing at Interchange are Rebecca Joselyn and Victoria Delany who also made their mark after completing the Starter Studio Programme.� Rebecca is now a regular exhibitor at the prestigious Goldsmith’s Fair and Victoria Delany, after completing her MA at the Royal College of Art recently won ‘best product award’ from Wolf & Badger design shop.�
Many of the city’s reputable institutions such as Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Cathedral and Kelham Island Industrial Museum will take part in this year’s festival.� The Metalwork Gallery at Museums Sheffield’s Millennium Galleries boast an extraordinary collection of metal artefacts ranging from medieval knives to a Victorian soup tureen as well as a fabulous contemporary collection.� Little Gems, newly commissioned work by emerging silversmiths Drew Sutherland and Sally Cox, will be on display In the foyer of Museums Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery.� Museums Sheffield will also link the festival into their Forging Futures project which includes talks, tours, handling sessions, workshops and a careers event.
Sheffield Hallam University’s Metalwork and Jewellery degree course is one of the best and most established specialist courses in the country and many of its current and former students will also feature in this year’s festival.� Using a quotation from the influential artist, writer and critic John Ruskin, a jewellery installation, Homage to Ruskin has been created by current students on the BA and MA courses, which depicts each letter from the quotation as individual silver ‘Jewels’. Maria Hanson, Reader in Metalwork and Jewellery is the curator for� Beneath the Skin an exhibition featuring 8 prominent� UK jewellers and silversmiths including Dr. Jivan Astfalck, Andreas Fabian, Chris Knight and Jessica Turrell. It will visualise and articulate the research and development work that underpins the objects on display. Beneath the Skin and Homage to Ruskin will be on display at the Sheffield Institute of Art Gallery from 24th March to 20th April.�
But it is not just precious metal that is celebrated in this festival.� One major attraction in this year’s festival will be the Family Forge when 60 blacksmiths from the British Artist Blacksmiths Association will be working at 30 forges set up at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, once one of the largest water-powered sites on the River Sheaf. Here you can still see waterwheels, tilt hammers, a grinding hull and the only intact crucible steel furnace surviving in the world today. Family Forge will take place in Easter Weekend on 23rd and 24th April.
Sheffield Cathedral will host this year’s Pewter Live, organised by the Worshipful Company of Pewterers.� This exhibition will showcase the fabulous work of master pewtersmiths and young avant-garde designers from around the country. Exhibits include pieces made for a competition to find gifts for the 2012 Olympics in London, exotic fashion jewellery items created by young designers and pieces of a more thought-provoking nature also illustrate the versatility of this most beautiful of metals. A dynamic exhibition supported by Sheffield’s champions of Pewter, A.R. Wentworth.

Full programme details are available from

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