‘In the Loupe’ @ Vittoria Street Gallery, School of Jewellery

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Over head view of ‘In the Loupe‘ @ Vittoria Street Gallery

‘In the Loupe’ is the inaugural show for the new Vittoria Street Gallery at the School of Jewellery. The exhibition brings together a multi-disciplinary group of ‘artists, educators, researchers and practitioners from the School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and Design’  (Zoe Robertson). The show is also applauding the work of School of Jewellery Alumni, in addition to the Gallerist Victoria Stewart, as she is celebrating her 10th Anniversary as Director of The Victoria Stewart Contemporary Jewellery Gallery.

The creators exhibiting are as follows:

Dauvit Alexander, Beaulagh Brooks, Sybella Buttress, Rachael Colley, Sally Collins, Sian Hindle, Andrew Howard, Bridie Lander, Anna Lorenz, Jo Pond, Claire Price, Zoe Robertson, Fern Robinson, Kate Thorley and Maria Whetman.

Zoe Robertson kindly gave us a Curators Tour of the new exhibition,and her insights are reflected throughout this article.

“What we’re trying to do is celebrate the depth and diversity of what we do here at the School of Jewellery, each member of staff has a really different voice, a really different style and a really different practice or concept that they are exploring”

– Zoe Robertson

The exhibition truly emphasizes the ever changing nature of the Jewellery Industry, as there is an eclectic mix of designing, methods and materials used. The show will be highlighting the breadth of talent of those involved, through the collaboration between The Plymouth College of Art and Design and School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University. There is an interesting contrast between these jewellery styles, with the coastal landscape evidently reflected in the materials and textures used in the Plymouth alumni’s pieces as demonstrated by Sybella Batress in her use of sea-life-like textures and Maria Whetman’s use of precious materials that are reminiscent of coastal rock formations. (Pictured below)

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Maria Whetman, Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni.

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Plymouth College of Art and Design Alumni

Whereas the Birmingham based Makers styles are more reflective of the Industrial Landscape that this city offers – echoed in the various tones and treatments of the metals and materials used in the works.

These industrial, aged textures are prominent in Jo Pond’s work. Jo pond is a narrative Jeweller who creates works that are extremely multi-faceted in narrative, materiality and meaning. Her work really resonated within me and I feel it was one of the strongest within the exhibition.


I come from a family of ‘Ponds’ who appear to have a genetic necessity for hoarding and a passion for objects which others might not quite appreciate… Some of these find their way into my work.’ – Jo Pond, Jopond.com


According to colleague Pete Croton, ‘ Jo takes old objects, is able to retain the original quality, and turns them in to something beautiful’. Croton went on to explain the original objects, revealing one as a match stick holder, beautifully crafted and adorned with lettering that created a new narrative within the piece. Zoe Robertson expanded upon this by explaining that the lettering on the piece was  taken and reconstructed from old biscuit tins. (Picture Below)

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Works By Jo Pond, School of Jewellery Alumni

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To find out more about Jo Ponds practice, you can visit her website: jopond.com

The Curator and Director of  The Victoria Street Gallery – Zoe Robertson has exhibited a past work (pictured below), that was part of the development of Flockamania. You can find out more about Flockamania at Parkside Gallery by viewing our past blog post on the show. Flockamania fused performance and contemporary jewellery making that resulted in an innovative and vibrant Show and series of performances.

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Work By Zoe Robertson, Director of Vittoria Street Gallery

“My past work has been a real investigation in materials, I really like industrial materials that aren’t used in the traditional, commercial side of jewellery”

– Zoe Robertson

The detailing that has gone in to this piece is immense, with a multitude of processes being utilised. Such as flocking; sublimation and vacuum forming. The outstanding qualities of the work is firstly in the drawing that has been sublimated on to the work. Using special inks that has been transferred using heat and pressure. Secondly, in the vibrancy achieved in the flocking that adorns the entirety of the work.

 Overall the show is an eclectic and engaging inaugural show for Victoria Street Gallery, which reflects the breadth of the Jewellery Industry and the talent of the makers both at Birmingham City University and The Plymouth College of Art and design.

All those involved in the realisation of ‘In the Loupe’ should be congratulated. We look forward to more successful exhibitions!

The exhibition is running until Friday 16th December 2016.

The Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 10am – 4pm, term time only. Please be aware that the Gallery is not open on weekends.

To keep up to date with the new Victoria Street Gallery and for more information on the individual practitioners, you can access the links below:




Leanne O’Connor works as a Marketing and Events Assistant here at Parkside Gallery, and is in her Final Year on the BA (Hons) Fine Art Course at Margaret Street School of Art.

5 Christmas tips for Artistic people

Christmas is just around the corner with seasonal stress beginning to take effect. Art can often help relieve some of that stress and help give your busy schedule and hectic mind a rest. Here are 5 Christmas themed tips we have created for artistic people to help relieve the stress.

1.Visit the German Market:

You may think that the volume of people and the hustle and bustle of the Birmingham German market may be stressful. However, it’s all about timing. If you visit the market during the middle of a weekday and it becomes more peaceful. It also gives you a proper opportunity to browse some of the fantastic arts and crafts on display.

2.Winter Art Fair:

If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city centre, then Eastside Projects Winter Art Fair might be for you. It launches during Digbeth’s First Friday on the 2nd of December and continues over the weekend. The gallery will be transformed and filled with affordable artworks, artist books and editions, music, homemade refreshments and will showcase independent artists and self-publishers from the West Midlands and beyond.

3.The Magic Lantern Festival:

This next festival is being launched for the first time in Birmingham at the Botanical Gardens on the 25th of November. The festival is designed as a fusion of art, heritage and culture; a festival of light and illumination. Visitors will follow a trail around Botanical Gardens and explore giant lanterns and more while exploring traditional Chinese culture and the amazing 2000-year heritage of Lantern Festivals.

4.Winter Craft Fair at Ikon Gallery:

On the 25th of November Ikon Gallery will be holding its annual seasonal market showcase. The market contains bespoke handmade products by artists, designers and crafters from around the Midlands. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up those unique one-off gifts for friends and family. The great thing about holding an event like this at the Ikon gallery is that you have the chance to take in the exhibitions that are on at the moment. Art, shopping and then a relaxing cup of tea/coffee (hot chocolate if not a fan of the others) makes it an ideal destination for artistic people.

5.Netflix and Bob Ross:

If you have had enough of  crowds stressing you out and want to relax. Pick some paints and canvas and be artistic from the comfort of your own home. The best way to do this is to watch Netflix. Relax with Bob Ross as he guides you through the Joys of Painting. There are over 30 episodes with more to come in the future. It  is sure to keep you busy and actively creative over the Christmas holidays.

“We don’t make mistakes. We just have happy accidents.” – Bob Ross ‘The Joys of Painting’.

That’s our five Christmas tips for artistic people. Why not share yours with us. It could be an event, something you like to do over the Christmas period or any tips you want to share us.

Let us know in the comments below. You can also Tweet us or tag us via Instagram and Twitter @ParksideGallery using #PGChristmasTips

The Birmingham Big Art Project voting is underway

The city of Birmingham is set to undergo a massive change in future with the development of the HS2 high speed rail line. The project is a massive undertaking that will see renewed growth within the city. While this will develop the accessibility of trade and business, it provides the perfect opportunity for Birmingham to mark the occasion with its unique style and commitment to public art.


The Birmingham Big Art project was set up to commission an iconic piece of public art that will help Birmingham’s international recognition and place the city on the world’s cultural map. The aim is to build upon the new developments within the city and provide a lasting legacy that encourages civic pride through the diverse communities in the city using public art.


The project is set to cost around £2 million pounds and will also build upon Birmingham’s already rich culture in industry, design and art. It will be the centre piece of the new Curzon Street development and more importantly the final art piece will be decided upon by the residents of Birmingham.

As we have seen with the example of the Angel of the North, public art can be a powerful symbol for a community and city. I am happy to hear that Birmingham is encouraging the public to help raise funds for the Birmingham Big Art Project. 

Empowering citizens through culture is a positive way of engaging the local community.  Whether large or small, I hope Birmingham picks a work that will make the public proud, stand the test of time and act as a magnet for cultural tourism. 

I hope it also inspires other artists to create new works.”

Androulla Vassiliou

Europe’s Former Culture Commissioner

In May 2015, land was secured by the council and a shortlist of artists were selected to submit their ideas. A year later and the ideas where turned into full 3D models and placed on show as part of the public consultation process. The five artists, their ideas and proposals are as follows:

1: Susan Philipsz : ‘Station Clock’

Station clock is proposed as a aural clock that is designed to represent the testament to time covering past, present and future. The clock comprises 12 digits that represent each of the twelve tones on the musical scale. Sounds will be produced in conjunction and collaboration with Birmingham City University Conservatoire. Each tone changes in volume depending of the time of day such as the loudest chorus being played at midday.


Born in Glasgow in 1965, Susan Philipsz live and works in Berlin. Her work involves exploring the psychological and sculptural potential of sound. Susan has had many exhibits displayed over the last last few years including the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago in 2011 and Tate Britain in London 2015.

2: Roger Hiorns : ‘As yet untitled’

The ‘As yet untitled’ submission from Roger Hiorns proposes a landscape of transformed steam and locomotive engines. The engines will sit amongst a scattered collection of stone car engines to provide contract. Exteriors of the trains engines and carriages will be set to resemble human skin. The idea is proposed as a symbol of shaping our sexual and physical identities by and through the development of technology.


Roger Hiorns was born in Birmingham in 1975 but lives and works in London. Hiorns work combines material to transform objects and urban situations. Hiorns has displayed some of his past exhibits have be displayed in the Rudolfinum in Prague 2015 and The Art Institue of Chicago in 2010 along with many other galleries around the world. In 2009, his installation ‘Seizure’ was nominated for the Turner Prize award.

3: Heather and Ivan Morrison: ‘Blue Print for Happiness’

Heather and Ivans Blue Print proposal is derived from the perfect colliding cuboid geometries created in minerals beneath the earth. The design is to provide intricate gleaming facets representing the many layers of Birmingham’s long history into a new geometry. The sculpture serves as a metaphor for the potential of Birmingham and its statement of intent to become a city of the future in a world full of constant change.


Heather was born in 1973 in Desborough while Ivan was born in Instanbul in 1974. They both live and work in Herefordshire and craft works designed for public spaces. Their work revolves around active engagment covering everything from story telling to histories, sites, material and processes. In recent years their work has be placed on display at the Whitechapel Gallery in London along with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and Tate Modern in London.

4: Brian Griffiths:  ‘Small Giants’

Giffiths’ sculpture is based within jewellery and designed to be worn by the city of Birmingham and its people. The proposal includes working within select groups in the jewellery quarter to produce a series of additional bespoke pieces that would be made available to the public to compliment the sculptures display.


Born in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1968, Brian lives and works within London. Brian’s sculptures value the narrative and overblown theatricality through the use of everyday objects.  His work has been exhibited far and wide including at the Galeria Luisa Strina in Sao Paulo, Brazil along with being part of the Hayway Touring Exhibition in 2011.

5: Keith Wilson: ‘Industrial Revolution’

The industrial revolution proposal by Wilson involves a slow moving public sculpture that over a ten year period will travel from one end of the Eastside City Park through to the other. The idea is to represent Birmingham’s history of labour and the transportation of materials  in a reinvented post-industrial ‘art’ sculpture that carries layers of rich culture within its design.


Keith Wilson was born in Birmingham in 1965 but now lives and works from New York, USA. Wilson’s sculptures are designed to be playful while being imbued with domestic and industrial resonance. Wilson’s exhibitions have been displayed in galleries across London including the Milch Gallery and the Camden Arts Centre. He has also been involved with wider projects such as the Hayward project space in London.

Voting is open to members of the public who visit the exhibition at Millennium Point. Forms are available on site and also provide an opportunity to feedback to the artists directly via the comments box. The aim is to unveil the winner in early 2017 with a view to having the piece commissioned and built for 2018.

You can also follow the progress of the project via the Birmingham Big Art Project’s  website and keep up with the latest developments via the projects twitter account @bigartproject



Big Birmingham Art Project from Eastside Projects on Vimeo.

Sourced: The Birmingham Big Art Project , Millennium Point