January Blues 2021 | Part II

18 Jan 2021

This January we are turning our world blue; from the rich, sumptuous tones of Michael Becker’s lapis lazuli jewellery to the subtle, natural hues of Mary Bourne’s slate wall pieces and Harry Morgan’s architectural masterpieces in glass and concrete. There is much to discover and celebrate in the colour blue. January Blues runs until the 30th January and can be viewed in our Virtual Viewing Rooms here.

Each week we will explore the work of a selection of artists featured within the exhibition, giving you an insight into their beautiful blue work. This week we are focusing on jewellery by Michael Becker, Emily Kidson, Elizabeth Jane Campbell and Wendy Ramshaw.

Michael Becker

Michael Becker is renowned for working predominantly in gold, which he combines with stones such as lapis lazuli, uvarovite and red mineral pigment. His exquisite small scale constructions offer us a powerful contemporary interpretation of these most ancient materials, which examines Becker’s use of subtle texture, colour and geometric shapes.
January Blues features the rich and textural blues of Michael's lapis lazuli work. The lapis, often left matt and raw, is complimented by 18ct yellow gold settings so that his work really celebrates the fantastic natural colour of the lapis lazuli.

Michael studied at the Fachhochschule Cologne, Germany and his work is held in numerous pubic collections such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Schmuckmuseum, Pforzheim Kunstgewerbemuseum; Berlin Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Montreal; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York.

You can view available work from Michael Becker here.

January Blues 2021 | Part II
Michael Becker working with lapis lazuli in his studio, 2014
January Blues 2021 | Part II
Lapis Ring, 2019, AU 750 Gold, Lapis Lazuli, H4 x W2.2 cm

Gold plates, titanium discs, dolomite rocks, severe, ascetic shapes, distinct lines: seldom is a first glance more deceptive than a casual observer seeing Michael Becker's jewellery. Concealed behind the geometric severity and aesthetic perfection are poetry and passion, indeed a desire for beauty bordering on obsession...He is a master of transitions, metamorphoses and transformations - and it is no exaggeration to say that almost his entire work straddles the line between organization and unleashing energies.

Michael Becker
January Blues 2021 | Part II
Lapis Rings, 2019 AU 750 Gold, Lapis Lazuli, H1.8-1.9 x W1.2-1.6 cm

Emily Kidson

Emily Kidson creates contemporary jewellery that combines bold materials and colours with traditional craftsmanship. Silver, gold, wood inlay and hand painted details feature in her work alongside colourful laminate components. Emily makes every shape and component by hand in her London studio, and each piece is the culmination of an immersive creative process. She is drawn to areas of fine detail; pattern, repetition and mark making, but also the clear uncluttered spaces around them, and she makes work which strives to find a balance between the two. Old industrial cities and canal sides are particular influences, from tapered chimneys to barges and water towers. A sensitive use of colour is central to her designs and her eye for detail informs the minimal, subtly layered aesthetic of her work.

Originally from Hereford, Emily now live and works in London. After graduating from the University of Brighton with a degree in Three Dimensional Crafts, Emily spent a year at the prestigious Bishopsland Educational Trust. Emily has come back to making after a career as an art librarian. Her use of laminate started when she discovered it as samples in the Materials Collection at Central Saint Martins library in 2013. She has since exhibited widely across the UK and internationally.
Awards include: The Design Trust Award, Made London, 2015; Crafts Council’s Hothouse programme, 2015; Best in Show, Made Brighton, 2014

You can view available work from Emily Kidson here.

January Blues 2021 | Part II
Emily Kidson in her studio, 2019, Photograph: Stanton Waro
January Blues 2021 | Part II
Blue Dash Brooch, 2019, cherry wood , paint, oxidised silver, steel, H6 x W7 x D2.5 cm

Emily is known for her use of wood and laminate with precious metals. Sensitive use of colour is central to her work and is the backdrop to a minimal, modern aesthetic with areas of intricate detail.

Laminate is paper and resin formed under extremely high pressure. Emily uses the brand Formica which you may be used to seeing on table tops and kitchens. It can have quite a mid-century modern feel and the colour doesn’t fade. The wood Emily uses is walnut, the silver is sterling (925) and larger pieces are hallmarked at the London Assay Office. Emily also uses resin, paint and Keum Boo in some pieces to add extra areas of colour and detail.

Emily Kidson
January Blues 2021 | Part II
Tapered Cluster Brooch, 2019, walnut wood, laminate, silver, kuem boo, steel, H13 x W6 x D2 cm

Elizabeth Jane Campbell

Elizabeth Jane Campbell graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2013, and then spent a year as Artist in Residence at Glasgow School of Art before establishing her own studio in Edinburgh. Elizabeth's award winning jewellery has been exhibited across the UK and abroad - most recently in Milan, Munich and America.
Elizabeth's work explores the connection between colour and shape - taking inspiration from colour theory, colour connotations and visual literacy. Using vitreous enamel enabling her to achieve fantastic colours which are contrasted with simple oxidised silver settings. The surface finish of the enamel is really important, as a gloss or matt finish can really change the quality of the enamel colour, so she hand finishes each piece to highlight the vibrancy of the colour.

Permanent collections include:
The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; The Goldsmiths' Company, London.

You can view available work from Elizabeth Jane Campbell here.

January Blues 2021 | Part II
Elizabeth Jane Campbell in her Edinburgh studio, 2017
January Blues 2021 | Part II
Conception Brooch, 2018 silver, copper, vitreous enamel, cloisonné, H7.5 x W7.5 cm

Enamel is fundamental in my work, and I am most excited when experimenting with material relationships – combining materials with enamel to create new and unique designs. I am passionate about the use of traditional enamelling skills, such as cloisonné, and I love to include this in my work, while always ensuring to put my own personal stamp on the technique.

Elizabeth Jane Campbell
January Blues 2021 | Part II
Blue Circles Necklace, 2020, oxidised silver, copper, vitreous enamel, L43 ecm

Wendy Ramshaw

Wendy Ramshaw, CBE, RDI, was an international champion of modern jewellery. Her signature ringsets are represented in over 70 public collections worldwide. Ramshaw's work also encompassed designs for textiles, screens, gateways and sculpture. The Scottish Gallery has exhibited some of her most ambitious ideas through exhibitions such as Picasso's Ladies (1989), Rooms of Dreams (2002), Prospero's Table (2004) and a Journey Through Glass (2007). Exhibitions such as Room of Dreams, which was designed and created as a theatrical stage set for the jewellery, have become embedded not only in Ramshaw's spectacular career but also illustrate the commitment by The Gallery to truly original ideas. Wendy Ramshaw passed away on the 9th December 2018. She was one of The Scottish Gallery's favourite contemporary jewellers and will be missed.

You can view available work from Wendy Ramshaw here.

January Blues 2021 | Part II
Wendy Ramshaw
January Blues 2021 | Part II
'In Love with Blue' Pendant Necklace, Journey Through Glass Series, 2007, 18ct yellow gold, various blue glass fragments and large blue glass disc, Photograph: William Van Esland

I like to think that on any one day women in various parts of the world are putting on my jewellery and that it is giving them pleasure.

I enjoy making jewellery. I enjoy looking at jewellery and I enjoy wearing jewellery. These are in simple terms the real reasons why I am an artist whose main means of expression have become the creation of jewellery. I make objects whose function is to decorate the human body and I am also concerned that these terms can be enjoyed out of context with the human form and have at times deliberately devised means by which this can be achieved. How, when or where my work is worn is not particularly important to me, precisely because it is out of my control.

Wendy Ramshaw
January Blues 2021 | Part II
Chain of Glass Tears for 'Weeping Woman', Picasso's Ladies Series, 1998, glass, steel, Photograph: William Van Esland

January Blues runs until the 30th January and can be viewed in our Virtual Viewing Rooms below where you can explore the exhibition and click on works for further information. We hope you enjoy exploring the exhibition virtually.

More News