Every girl loves jewellery, so the launch of The Biscuit Factory’s spring exhibition Loop naturally drew a large crowd. Until the 31st May Newcastle’s premier design gallery will be playing host to a hand-picked selection of rings from 16 UK based designers, alongside the usual jewellery collection. Being magpie girls, drawn to everything shiny, we jumped at the chance to be part of the launch and hear curator Lauren Baker talk.
On arrival we were led up to the first floor for a drinks reception and brief look round the current designers exhibiting at The Biscuit Factory. Artisan, the in-house restaurant, prepared canapés which were faultless – think venison sausage rolls and goats cheese crostini. Bubbly in hand, we hurried downstairs to the main event.
Rings are such a symbolic item, and listening to Lauren talk about her ideas for the exhibition left me thinking, why haven’t we seen a ring exhibition sooner? It makes perfect sense. The collection is select, the perfect size to capture creative extremes without being overwhelmed. Central to the exhibition is the work of Nia Davies, whose vivid ceramic pieces give new meaning to ‘wearing a rock’. Lauren’s excitement is infectious when she talks about seeing these rings for the first time and building the whole exhibition around them.
In complete contrast to Davies, the work of Mabel Hassell unassumingly completes the cabinet, grounding the exhibition in reality. Hassell’s simple metal bands combine unpolished finish with raw gemstones to create wearable pieces that are unusual enough to feel like a work of art. Regular exhibitor Sarah Brown appears among the collection but has kept her offering fresh by creating a selection of one-off rings especially for Loop.
What makes Loop such an exciting collection is the mix of established designers, recent graduates, new exhibitors and names familiar to the The Biscuit Factory cabinets. The attendees at Friday night’s launch reflected this mix; art students brushing shoulders with culture vulture couples and groups visiting the design space for the first time. The atmosphere in the gallery made the evening an event and paper cutter Sarah Morpeth’s demonstration provided a talking point. Staff, including Lauren, were on hand all evening and more than happy to let prospective buyers (or not!) try the pieces on.
The exhibition, which launched last Friday evening, will be on display at The Biscuit Factory until 31st May 2016. We recommend a visit to see how something most of us wear everyday can be reimagined using materials as varied as sea glass, perspex and bone.
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