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RAE 2008

design production and manufacture


Alan Craxford

Freeman of Goldsmiths’ Company

Senior lecturer (0.5) Silversmithing and Jewellery
Organiser of Short Course Programme for the Department

RAE Outcomes

Since 1999 I have devised, organised and run what is now one of the largest and best short course programmes in Silversmithing and Jewellery in the country. This takes place annually over Easter and in July when the Department is usually closed. Between 150 and 250 participants attend, many from overseas. I include many basic skills courses as well as more exotic techniques courses such as Mokume Gane, Granulation and Stone Carving which have now become a staple regular part of the programme. Our aim is to give participants the best teaching and workshop environments available and to pass on skills which enable them to grow and develop their work.

Research interests
Producing and developing ongoing collection of one off jewellery pieces in precious materials; developing symbolic larger vessel forms in Silver to incorporate traditional decorative techniques into contemporary form; exploring the impact of a turning movement on the meaning of these pieces; devising effective design solutions to harmonise these aspects into meaningful beautiful objects.

Selected practice based research outputs 2001 - 2007

2007 - Solo exhibition of new silver vessels at Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow. New work / engraved and enamelled pieces

2005/6 - The Silver Show, The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle on Tyne

2005 - On the cuff, major exhibition of cufflinks, wearers and makers, Goldsmiths' Hall, London

2004 - Looking over my Shoulder, Lesley Craze Gallery, 20th anniversary exhibition

2004 - Jewellery Unlimited, exhibition organised by the Association for Contemporary Jewellery at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, with catalogue

2004 - Collect, V&A Museum. Work including new neckpiece in 18ct gold, pink tourmaline, oxidised silver. Exhibited by the Metal Gallery

2003 - Art as a Jewel, The Metal Gallery, London. Two new Mandala Brooches in 18ct yellow and white gold, set with white and yellow diamonds respectively

2003 - Love Story, Goldsmiths' Hall, London. Precious materials connect with romance and weddings. Client loaned their collection, some new work

2002 - European Triennial of Contemporary Jewellery, Chateaux Seneffe, Belgium

2001 - Solo Exhibition at Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow

2001 - The British are Coming, Elleard B Heffern Inc., Saint Louis, Miss. USA

Many Commissions for private clients in Jewellery and more recently in Silversmithing. I usually produce between 20 - 25 works a year.

Academic esteem
Elected Chair of the Hand Engraving Association of Great Britain, November 2006/08. This is a new association founded with broad support from the Goldsmiths' Company and the trade. In our first year as Chair we have:

Worked with Judy Head to design the corporate look for the Association

Held two hand engraving study days one at Sir John Cass Dept. of Art, Media & Design, one at Birmingham, as part of the short course programme. Attended by 35/40 people each. Seven different practitioners in each location.

On my initiative, held our inaugural exhibition at Goldsmiths' Hall over the period of the annual Fair, exhibiting 30 members' work.

Initiated our website to showcase members work (site designed by Head Associates).

Obtained a start up grant from the Goldsmiths' Company, plus a further substantial grant for various ongoing projects from Esmee Fairburn.

Looked at innovative new apprenticeship projects in conjunction with The Goldsmiths' Company.

Professional practice
I have been a professional maker for over 30 years, producing highly individual one-off pieces, both to commission and for exhibition.
I have employed the same assistant for 15 years who came to me as a student from Middlesex University. He now works for me two days a week. He also practises and exhibits as a silversmith/jeweller in his own right.
I show small groups or collections of work both nationally and internationally and maintain a changing ongoing group of pieces with two nationally recognised galleries in the subject: Electrum Gallery, London and Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow.
I have set up website for my work where commission pieces, exhibition pieces and larger silver work can be viewed.
I am a regular exhibitor at Goldsmiths' Fair over 14 years. The Fair is the best regarded annual event for artists / craftsmen working in precious materials. One's work is seen here against the best practioners in the country.

Conference lecture

April 2003 - Association for Contemporary Jewellery Conference, The Eye of the Beholder, examining Beauty in the spiritual context of my work and practice.

Work in Public Collections

1985 - V&A Museum: pair of earrings in 18 ct gold, purchased following one-man show. Wing: drops in engraved and carved nobium anodised green and blue, with carved gold fittings.


Two page illustrated entry in Yvonne Kulagowski, The Earrings Book, A & C Black, 2007

Two page full colour illustrated review of Solo Exhibition at Roger Billcliffe Gallery, J-Dex magazine, July 2007

Catalogue for Solo Exhibition at Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow, May 2007

Pair of 18ct whit gold, diamond, cuff links, featured in 10th anniversary edition of FT’s How to spend it, November 2004

Catalogue for European Triennial of Contemporary Jewellery, May 2002

Catalogue for Alan Craxford: Jeweller, Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow, November 2001

Clare Phillips, Jewels and Jewellery, V&A, 2000 (ISBN 1-85177-299-5). Publication on the history of jewellery based on the V&A’s extensive collection. Two photographs in chapter one.

Alan Craxford, Master Jeweller, 1999 (ISBN 1-899-764-151). 16-page full-colour catalogue, with essay by critic Marina Vaizey, artist's statement and short story.

Catalogue for Art of Cutlery at Goldsmiths' Hall, 1999

Review of Made to Wear Exhibition at Central School, Findings, Spring 1998

Catalogue for Tea and Silver at Goldsmiths' Hall, 1998

Lucia van der Post: How to Spend it, Financial Times, September 1996. Diamond and Platinum ring featured.

Work used to illustrate article on contemporary crafts, Financial Times, October 1994.

Gold und Silber magazine, August 1994. Full-page illustrated article

Illustrated invitation to One-Man Exhibition, Electrum Gallery, June 1994. With appreciation of my work by Barbara Cartlidge, gallery director.

Catalogue for From Paper to Platinum, Leslie Craze Gallery, October 1993

Catalogue for British Goldsmiths of Today, Goldsmiths' Hall, May 1992

Alan Craxford: Jeweller, V&A Museum, 1985. Illustrated publication to accompany one-man exhibition. Appreciation and description written by assistant curator of metals.

London Metropolitan University