Winner of Best New Design at Goldsmiths' Fair 2014 for my Mokume Gane pieces
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Goldsmiths’ Fair 2014 – Week One: Best New Design Award Winner

Winner of Best New Design at Goldsmiths' Fair 2014 for my Mokume Gane pieces

Winner of Best New Design at Goldsmiths’ Fair 2014 for my Mokume Gane pieces

I am pleased to announce that I was the winner of Goldsmiths’ Fair Best New Design Award for week one 2014.

The full Goldsmiths’ Fair article can be found on the Goldsmiths’ Fair website, but here are the highlights:

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The winner of Best New Design Award for Week One was silversmith and established Fair exhibitor, Alistair McCallum. Alistair was presented the award by Crafts Council trustee and Creative Director of Legle Porcelain, Peter Ting (featured). We spoke with Alistair and Peter to learn more about the award-winning work and why it was so deserving of the accolade.

“The Best New Design Award came as a bit of a surprise at the age of 61! It’s great that the award gives the opportunity to everyone exhibiting at the Fair, old and new. For 38 years, I have used the Japanese metalworking technique of Mokume Gane (wood grain metal). Throughout this time, I have continually tried to experiment and develop this technique. The award was allocated for two of these; a pair of Mokume Gane beakers and secondly for a pair of silver beakers with a Mokume Gane rim. Ideas for my designs often arise during the making process; I like to record these thoughts which in turn can collectively suggest and inform the development and design of future pieces.

“With the first pair of beakers, the idea was to use the Mokume Gane as a detail rather than covering the whole surface. The silver beakers had been spun and the Mokume Gane rim was made from a sandwich of 12 layers of silver, copper and gilding metal. The layers were then made into a square bar which was then twisted into a spiral before being forged back into a square bar. Next, I drilled 2 small holes close to each end of the bar before carefully piercing along the length of the bar between them. I opened up the bar to form a circle without a seam, then filed and finished it before I soldered it onto the silver beaker. Though complex and time consuming to make, the finished piece is simple and understated. It’s also interesting to note that the pattern on the inside of the rim is different from that on the outside.

“The second pair of beakers were more complex both to make. The beakers are made from two separate sheets, one of 5 layers of silver and copper and one of 5 layers of silver and gilding metal. These are then formed into the beaker shapes before being cut horizontally into 4 sections, which are then rearranged and re-soldered so that there are bands of alternating silver with copper, and silver with gilding metal. The pattern is then created by carefully filing a series of flat facets across the surface, breaking through the layers and revealing the different colours. Next, the silver rim and base are added before the beakers are finally cleaned, finished and painted, creating alternating bands of black with white and brown with white. Visually, you do not see the faceted surface. Only when they are handled does this become apparent, giving an interesting tactile quality.”

Peter Ting on Alistair:

“Alistair is the undisputed master of creating Mokume Gane pieces. The combination of simple lines with complex making skills is exquisite. His techniques in using this ancient style are ingenious. Alistair’s latest pieces at Goldsmiths’ Fair were all very simple and elegant. Like a Matisse line drawing, the skill and passion comes from the head, heart and hands.”

Read the full version and see my winning Mokume Gane pieces here.

If you’d like to pay me a visit at the Goldsmiths’ Fair 2015, or view specific Mokume Gane pieces, you will find me on Stand 78 during Part Two (29 September – 4 October 2015) please email me on mccallumalistair@aol.com or use the contact form.

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