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Posted 11.05.17

Radius:50mi celebrates contemporary jewellery talent in Plymouth

By Lauren Taverner Brown

In a celebration of the wealth of talented contemporary jewellers and small scale metal workers in Plymouth and the surrounding area, a pop-up exhibition took place last month at Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard.

Launched in October 2015, Plymouth’s £4million Ocean Studios provides a creative hub, with studio space for artists as well as exhibition space in a dramatic Grade 1 listed building on the city’s historic waterfront.  

From 20-23 April, Radius:50mi showcased work from a handpicked selection of makers who are all based in Plymouth and the surrounding 50-mile area.  

"This show was a chance to see work from some of the area’s finest makers displayed in one of the city’s most inspiring and exciting locations.” — Rachel Darbourne, BA (Hons) Jewellery Pathway Leader

Organised by Rachel Darbourne, Plymouth College of Art’s recently appointed Pathway Leader for BA (Hons) Jewellery, and Leigh Mason, co- founder of Ocean Studios, the exhibition featured work from 15 different jewellers, with a list that included current students, alumni and staff from Plymouth College of Art.  

Work by Rachel Darbourne, BA (Hons) Jewellery Pathway Leader

Rachel Darbourne, who has curated exhibitions around Europe, including SENSEability which travelled to Munich as part of internationally renowned jewellery showcase Schmuck, said: “We wanted to bring together creatives who are making work in and around Plymouth, and this exhibition was an opportunity to see some incredible jewellery from local makers alongside work from students on our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as pieces from college alumni who have all gone on to forge successful careers after their time at Plymouth College of Art.”

“We are also thrilled to include work from current staff at Plymouth College of Art, and this show was a chance to see work from some of the area’s finest makers displayed in one of the city’s most inspiring and exciting locations.” Staff that exhibited included Maria Whetman, Ana Simoes, Rachel Darbourne and Noah Taylor.

Jewellery by BA (Hons) Jewellery graduate Stacey West.

Collections by college alumni was also showcased, including pieces by Leigh Mason, graduate from the MA Entrepreneurship for Creative Practice, and BA (Hons) Jewellery graduate Stevie-Leigh Smith who recently completed an internship with Rachel Entwistle at her studio in Shoreditch, London, where she helped create jewellery worn by FKA twigs for a Dazed front cover photo-shoot.  

Other college alumni showing work included Stacey West who won first place at the prestigious Pewter Live competition in 2015, Peter Reeves, who after studying at Plymouth College of Art has gone on to enjoy a successful career as a jeweller in the South West, and Tracey Falvey, who graduated with a first class BA (Hons) in Jewellery and Silversmithing from Plymouth College of Art and has gone on to exhibit and sell her bold and contemporary designs at galleries around the UK as well as showing work at the prestigious Contemporary Craft Fair in Bovey Tracey.

The full list of artists who exhibited at Radius:50mi includes: Katy Luxton, Sam Photic, Noah Taylor, Maria Whetman, Ana Simoes, Rachel Darbourne, Leigh Mason, Tracey Falvey, Chloe O'Brien, Stevie Leigh-Smith, Stacey West, Jodie Hansen, Peter Reeves, Victoria Sewart and Nicola Hurst.

Photos by Sarah Packer, BA (Hons) Photography graduate.