The School of Jewellery and HND Course Director Dauvit Alexander were delighted to recently present the finished award-winning goblet to Kate Owen, Past President of The British Allied Trades Federation (BATF) in the School’s Vittoria Street home. The BATF launched the competition at the School to provide an opportunity for students to design to commission, thereby promoting newly qualified talent in the industry.
Dating back to 1954, the BATF Presidency has been recognised by the addition of a solid silver goblet to the Federation’s silver collection. This collection was instigated to support and showcase craftsmanship and design. For the last three years, outgoing Presidents of the BATF have each provided a brief for the students, to produce a design which reflects their personality. The Presidents have judged the designs, selected the prize-winner for manufacture and provided feedback.
HND Jewellery and Silversmithing alumni Bethan Cubbin was awarded The BATF Goblet Design Competition title for her striking design.
Bethan said “I really enjoyed designing this goblet for Kate Owen and the BATF. This was the first design competition I had ever entered and I couldn’t wait to get started. Once I received the brief about Kate’s likes and dislikes, I focussed on Kate’s enjoyment of nature; (“more trees and shrubs rather than flowers”). I focused on the London plane tree, as many of its characteristics were comparable with that of the BATF – long lasting and ever changing to fit with its environment.
I wanted to keep the goblet quite sleek in style and obviously it had to be fit for purpose. I really got into the design process and enjoyed coming up with something unique! I was completely shocked when they announced that my design had won and couldn’t wait to see my drawing come to life! I hope Kate Owen is very happy with her goblet and enjoys many ‘toasts’ with it in the future! Cheers!”
Bethan’s winning piece was part spun by hand and part manufactured on the lathe by School of Jewellery alumni Adam Veevers, a Designer and Silversmith based in the Jewellery Quarter. Bethan and Adam’s signature/assay mark will be added to the goblet which is now included in the BATF’s silver collection.
After the presentation, Adam said: “It has been a joy to work on Bethan’s piece. It is an inspired design and was great fun bringing it to life. I was so pleased when Jo asked me to carry out the project and an honour to be asked to attend the photo shoot. Great to be able to give something back to the School of Jewellery after so long! It was also a great help from a maker’s point of view to have been given a clear and concise brief in plenty of time, allowing me to give it the thought and consideration it deserved. Thanks to Jo, Dauvit and everyone else involved”
All HND students at the School of Jewellery were invited to participate in the competition, to have their piece in the BATF’s collection. The total budget for the design and manufacture of the sterling silver goblet was £1,000 and the brief asked for a minimum/approximate weight of 220g and a height of 17 – 22cm. Students also had to include the BATF crest and engraving of the President’s name and years of office.
The Federation looked for a design that reflected the time of its manufacture and the personality of the President, adding to an attractive collection of distinguishable goblets with differences that reference the styles of the time. Each goblet had to be of good professional quality and able to function holding liquid. Senior lecturer Jo Pond coordinates this competition as part of a Faculty Live Project and said; “When the students have the opportunity to respond to a trade project brief they learn the importance of working to real-life criteria, a fixed budget and within a specific timeframe. They are taught to create a professional rendered drawing to sell their ideas to an external panel, and they appreciate the honest feedback that the BATF provide. The HND team enjoy the value these experiences bring and the motivation of a prize works very well”.
Speaking afterwards, Kate said: “I am delighted with Bethan’s goblet, she has perfectly reflected my interests within her design. I look forward to seeing her stylish design and Adam’s beautiful craftsmanship added to the Federation silver goblet collection. The high calibre of entries has been impressive, as a trade federation representing the craftsmanship of silversmithing we are encouraged to see innovation, design and traditional skills continuing to flourish in the Jewellery Quarter.”
The involvement of the BATF’s founder trade association, the Birmingham Jewellers’ & Silversmiths’ Association with the School of Jewellery began in 1888 when the trade association decided to implement formal education for trainees within the industry, setting up art classes and paying 50% of members staffs’ tuition fees. The first class had 60 pupils and the initiative led directly to the founding of the school in Vittoria Street. The Association announced there would be prizes for the best students work, the first of which were presented on 21st February 1889, and it is wonderful that this important relationship continues today.