From now until the 22nd July, Tina Francis will be exploring the various businesses who will open their doors in this year’s Jewellery Quarter Open Studios Trail. You can also follow the official @JQOpenStudios Twitter and join in the conversation with #JQOpenStudios. For further information about the Jewellery Quarter Festival 2016 please visit the webpage by clicking here.

Let’s go Shopping!

Picture credit: Miranda Sharpe
Picture credit: Miranda Sharpe

In the last blog we touched on the Jewellery Quarter’s architecture. When you visit you will see a lot of red brick buildings and what looks like the house fronts. Whilst these are extremely interesting (and the red brick looks great in the dusk sunlight), its what’s behind them that we are really interested in. Originally these buildings were houses where jewelers worked and lived, yes, working from home before computers! In fact, the founder of Acme Whistles, Joseph Hudson, created and produced the world famous Metropolitan Police Whistle in a converted wash house at the side of his terrace in Handsworth. As peoples businesses grew, workshops were added onto the backs of the houses forming courtyards around which you could “shop” for all manner of goods and trades.

This year Katherine Campbell-Legg will again be opening her studio in one of the nicest workshop courtyards here in the Jewellery Quarter and she will be joined by 11 jewellers and makers.  Many of the participants are part of Centrepiece which was formed in 1997 to give designer makers in the Jewellery Quarter an opportunity to showcase their work to the Birmingham public.  Those of you that regularly visit the Symphony Hall during November and December will be familiar with the individual jewellers work as they exhibit there every year.  Running Open Studios is nothing new to the jewellers here in the Quarter as they have successfully run open studio trails in the past; so as well as putting on a great display, I have also learned a lot from them to make the Open Studios here in the Jewellery Quarter a success (little by little!)

So let’s take a look at what will be on offer from this group and their guest makers this year in their own words:-

Meet – makers from Centrepiece jeweller’s group
Seewhere jewellery is made
Talk to the makers about their work
Watch demonstrations throughout the day
Buy – jewellery from our contemporary collections
Commission something special
Enjoy cake and coffee in a traditional jewellery workshop

Learn about how some of our jewellers work and watch demonstrations of wax carving, chain making, enamelling and ring making. Buy direct from the maker.

Centrepiece open studio participants
Katherine Campbell-Legg
Glenn Campbell
Rita Patel
Miranda Sharpe
Andrea Korsgen
Andrea Gregory
Anne Bracey
Isabella Hart
Ginny Pusey
Sian Elizabeth Hughes
Lichu Wu
Kate Thorley
Nobuko Okumura
Jojo Herriots – guest

Take a look at the Centrepiece website here to see the work of each maker in detail.  So how do you fit 12 designer makers into one courtyard? Quite comfortably it seems!

In the next blog we will be exploring another outside space, a secret garden.

To view previous blog entries please visit the official Open Studios Trail 2016 page by clicking here. For more about JQ Festival 16 please click the banner below: