Farnham Craft Month: October 2018 and 2019
Farnham Craft Town Celebrates throughout the year with many events, but Organisations and individuals come together each October to highlight activities across Farnham.
I have worked with the supporters of Farnham Craft Town and Craft Town England to develop the programme for 2018 Craft Month as well as run events for the School of Craft and Design and develop two digital network pages to promote Craft Town activities throughout the year.
During 2019, I put in considerable efforts and energy and won Arts Council England funding to manage, evaluate and support the 2019 October Craft Month Celebrations, training and events.
From the University for the Creative Arts to a major museum, exhibition and specialist retail outlets and craft-related businesses, Farnham is home to both world-renowned craft artists and to the next generation of emerging makers. Craft sits at the heart of Farnham’s distinctiveness and this special feature was acknowledged in 2013 when Farnham was designated as England’s Craft Town.
The roots of Farnham’s engagement with craft can be dated back to the time when Farnham exported white clay to the Romans. In the 16th century, potteries in Farnham were major suppliers of pottery to London. But its real emergence as a town with a special leaning towards craft is in the Victorian era and the establishment and great success of The Farnham Pottery, Wrecclesham, with its reputation for the distinctive style of work known as Greenware (so-called because of the copper-green glaze).
Craft across the centuries can be seen and researched from Farnham Greenware in the town’s museum through to the unrivalled collections of the Crafts Study Centre. The New Ashgate Gallery offers a diverse range of craft work for sale and is especially focused on creating opportunities for emerging makers.
Craft is embedded into the fabric, the homes as well as the cultural life of Farnham.
Encompassing: Research – Essays from the School of Craft and Design
Publication date Jul 2019, launch in August 2019. A new book of essays Encompassing: Research written by members of academic staff of the School of Crafts and Design at the University for the Creative Arts. More information available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
SNAG Conference, the Loop, coming full circle 2019.
Founded in 1996 the ACJ is the field’s leading artist network in the UK, members include makers, curators, gallerists, educators, collectors and journalists. The Association for Contemporary Jewellery promotes the art form, supports and represents the makers, and works to develop and intrigue the audience. This presentation will show & tell the story of ACJ’s work, showcasing the best of work of our members, contrasting pieces through from 1996 to today, including how styles and thinking has changed.
“Rebecca Skeels MA is Postgraduate Craft & Design Leader at the University for the Creative Arts & a Director of ACJ (Association for Contemporary Jewellery). Materials and processes are her obsession, bridging her roles as designer-maker & educator. She has exhibited in Europe, China and the USA. Her practical manual ‘Soldering for Jewellers’ was published in 2017. ACJ works to support the makers, promote the development and increase the understanding of contemporary jewellery in the UK and overseas.”
SNAG celebrates its 50th birthday at the 2019 Conference in Chicago. The programming for this special gathering is rooted in the history of the organisation and of metalsmithing, jewellery and adornment over the past 50 years, but also strives to examine these through a wider lens. The conference is also interested in considering metals and jewellery in the larger context of art and craft, and creating a dialogue between what came before and what comes next.
Rapid fire presentations are a trio of 15-minute individual presentations back-to-back, designed to be quick, enlightening and inspiring around a central theme.
Venue: Main Ball Room, Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, USA.
Pop up (Dec 2018/Jan 2019)
Collaboration with a local business man Matthew Elliot and the Student Union allowed the opportunity for the first serious pop up shop opportunity for Students. Students and Artist in Residence from the School of Craft and Design set up, manned and exhibited through a prime retail space in Farnham Craft Town, promoting the university, the courses and themselves as serious makers and practitioners in the craft industries.
Feedback from the event from the Farnham Herald, Town Council and the local community was excellent. Students had a great experience, working together, learning and developing ideas about curating, display, costing and selling. Success was shown through the profits the students received as well as follow up exhibitions’ students had and are still undertaking. The Student Union and retail outlet owner was pleased with the pilot, they have continued to work together allowing students, courses and staff to exhibit and experiment with the space. The relationship is to continue until the outlet is rented out on a permanent basis to a new tenant.
The Triple Parade (October 2018).
The Triple Parade event, opened on the 19th October 2018, organised and run by Sun Jie and the TRIPLE PARADE Biennale Organising Committee, HOW Art Museum-Design Center, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai.
This is the fourth edition of Triple Parade, with the first established in 2013. This year’s theme and dialogue was across the Past, the Present, the Future. The programme included a conference, exhibition and a series of workshops and talks.
The exhibition is running until the 5th February 2018, this is the biggest exhibition and event so far includes over 500 jewellery pieces from makers from 34 countries and regions on display in the How Art Museum. The exhibition is broken into various parts of the four sections. 1, Intimate Encounter, 2, Like Attracts Like, 3, Arty Game and 4, Viva La Different.
I curated the UK work for the exhibition, spoke about the past present and future of Jewellery in the UK at the conference and provided a paper on her own research and reasons for selection of the works for the catalogue.
The conference included presentations from curators, educators, makers, organisations and historians from around the world, creating a great debate around the past, present and future of the jewellery industry. Collaboration, supporting each other and creating a future for those learning and passionate about the industry is high on the agenda, with the Triple Parade events, Sun Jie and his team bringing together those passionate about the industry and opportunities that are to come.
Venue: HOW Design Center (3rd Floor of HOW Art Museum) 1, Lane 2277 Zuchongzhi Rd., Shanghai 201203, China.
This project was extended by working and collaborating with the Crafts Study Centre to exhibit the UK selected work during April 2019.
Future Craft: March 2018 (2020)
I initiated and managed the Future Craft Conference, Exhibition, Publication and Networking. Future Craft was the first in a series of biennial conferences that will offer an opportunity for discussion, engagement and debate across a broad continuum of craft.
The ‘Entrepreneurship or Enterprise?’ conference celebrated the continual innovation of the jewellery and silversmithing industry, learning, development, business and variety of contexts and markets it inhabits.
The conference sought to provide a framework for a discussion on and around Jewellery and Silvermsithing ‘Entrepreneurship or Enterprise?’ by celebrating present achievements and looking forward to exploring what the future might hold.
The next ‘Future Craft’ conference is to be hosted by Queensland College of Art Griffith University in Australia. Date to be confirmed.
Soldering for Jewellers by Rebecca Skeels: April 2017
‘Soldering for Jewellers’ available from April 24th 2017, published by The Crowood Press. Soldering is one of the most commonly used processes in jewellery, but its potential is often overlooked. This practical book explains the basics of the method but goes on to suggest ways in which soldering can be used to explore ideas and produce unique pieces. Written both for beginners and for those wishing to extend their knowledge, Soldering for Jewellers will inspire a more creative use of this key process.
Articles for magazines: Various
I contribute regularly by writing articles for publication, collaborates with various organisations to manage and contribute to symposiums, conferences and exhibitions and has built up an online profile by setting up and continually updating five Network pages for the Association for Contemporary Jewellery. I am also a regular participant on selection and judging panels such as Rising Stars, the Crafts Council Hothouse programme, Craft and Design awards, Surrey Artist of the Year and the Festival of Crafts.