I studied Jewellery Design at Middlesex University from 1991 to 1995. Starting out as Hornsey College of Art, it became Middlesex Polytechnic in 1973 and a University in 1992 whilst I was studying there. The Jewellery Design degree ran for 54 years, with the final students graduating in 2016. The course was famously innovative, and tutors such as Caroline Broadhead, Pierre Degan and Julia Mannheim encouraged us to push the boundaries of forms and materials. What has surprised me therefore, when googling ‘Middlesex’ and ‘Jeweller’ is how many are using traditional materials and forms. Don’t worry however, I've included leather, silicon and someone who uses human hair.
Daphne graduated in the early eighties. Known globally, she has work in the Victoria and Albert Museum and Crafts Council collections amongst others. She makes one-off pieces using gold, black oxidised silver and precious gemstones. I’ve included her work as I find them classically elegant and clearly well-made.
Also graduating in the early eighties, Vicki Ambery-Smith creates intricate jewellery in precious metals inspired by architecture. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Scottish Museum amongst others. I remember being inspired by Vicky’s work when I was a student and my degree show pieces were (loosely) based on architecture too.
Catherine graduated in the early nineties (she might have been in the year above me but memory is hazy!) and her early work was ‘avant-garde, labour intensive, one-off, large hollow fly pressed forms’ as in the picture here. I remember the piece and others like it from galleries in London at the time I was studying there. The chain fits inside the black form and the other form fits inside it like a stopper. She has since developed a new range of work with 'wider appeal' and has a long list of celebrity clients and high-end stockists including Harrods, Heals and Selfridges. She is also the jeweller for the Harry Potter films, creating the Slytherin rings worn by Draco Malfoy.
Tania Clarke Hall
I’m not sure when Tania graduated – I’m guessing some time in the nineties although I don’t remember her being there at the same time as me. She works with leather and creates high-end pieces that are stocked in all the leading galleries. I followed up on Tania’s work when I briefly met her at a Middlesex reunion event this year and she was wearing one of the gorgeous necklaces shown here. Great stuff, really innovative yet elegant and wearable.
An exciting jeweller who graduated in 2007, Jenny works with precious metals and silicone and has won a number of awards. Beautiful statement pieces in gorgeous colours.
A more recent graduate, Kerry's website says she works with human hair to create ‘a delicate balance between the viewer/wearer’s feelings of aversion and attraction.’
If you are interested to see a wider range of jewellers who graduated from Middlesex I have created a Pinterest board here.