Drawing her inspiration from our ‘lifestyles of convenience and throwaway’, Sheffield based silversmith and jeweller, Rebecca Joselyn, designs stunning silver tableware and silverware which challenges perceptions of objects and their acceptance in society. From a tuna tin sugar bowl to ‘tin can’ candlesticks, to bespoke jewellery, Rebecca creates everyday items in precious metal which make you think twice about items you see everyday. Rebecca has exhibited at the Goldsmiths’ Fair eight times. We caught up with her to learn more about her career and to find out what the Fair means to her.
I. Give us a potted history of your career – how did you get to where you are now?
I feel I have been very lucky over the last 15 years of my career. When I first started out, I won a number of awards including the Crafts Council Development Award and then a Graduate Stand at Goldsmiths’ Fair. This really boosted my confidence and got me off to a great start in my career as a silversmith and jeweller. Since then, I have had a lot of press coverage including “Financial Times- How to Spend It”. Following this my handmade silverware work was featured on the Channel 4 programme ‘Four Rooms.’ All of this support and encouragement has without a doubt helped me get to where I am today. I’m grateful for all of it.
II. Why are you inspired by the ‘throw away’ society in this country?
I like to look at the items we take for granted and discard from day to day. By recreating these objects in a valuable material, I draw the viewer in for a closer look. It’s really nice to watch someone double take and then begin to smile when looking at my work. I suppose my customers want to create the same effect on their friends. Love them or hate them – my designs certainly create a talking point!
III. What is most enjoyable aspect of designing and creating your pieces? What do you find the most difficult?
In the early days, it was quite hard financially as the material costs alone are high. Sometimes if I don’t make a lot of sales at an event, it can make me question my work and also if I’m doing something wrong. However, all that can be turned around with an amazing show. The excitement of creating a new piece of silverware work definitely brings the most enjoyment. When it’s finished and I’m happy with it, I think to myself – this is what it is all about!
Following on from this Rebecca launched Goldsmiths North. More information about this show can be found here.
IV. Have you had any interesting commissions?
Yes, a few years ago I made the packaging for the world’s most expensive coffee, which is now on sale in Harrods. I also made a large silver oil container which was on show in the Museum of Modern art in Kuwait.
V. Tell us why Goldsmiths’ Fair is important to you and how it has developed your business?
Exhibiting under the Goldsmiths’ Company name gives the customer confidence that you are good at what you do. The ‘seal of approval’ by the Company is key. I don’t just get sales and orders at the show, I continue to get commissions throughout the year which generate a large part of my income. A lot of press coverage I have received over the years has also been due to the Fair!
VI. What advice would you give to first time exhibitors?
Make sure you get plenty of rest before you go! You must be confident in your product, keep smiling and talk to your customers – they will be very interested in your handmade silverware and bespoke silver jewellery pieces.