Conference Speakers

The Carrythecan team conceived of and organised the 2006 Association for Contemporary Jewellery Conference

This was supported by an Arts Council grant.

This was an ambitious project, running over a week, with specially commissioned masterclasses, exhibitions and associated events. In the conference pages you can explore the conference and associated events that took place from 5 - 8th July 2006. The main conference was held at the Brewery, Chiswell Street. London. http:


Who is Carrying the Can?

An Introduction by Helen Carnac. 6th July 2006.

Welcome. We would all like to thank you so much for being here. It is so good to see so many people who have travelled from so many places across the globe as well friends and colleagues from the UK and here in London.

Subjects have changed since we started to develop the original material for the conference. The Initial talking point was in 2002 when Heidi Yeo and I worked with Jivan Astfalck and Simon Fraser on the HEIM symposium, Honour, Ethics, Integrity, Morality, an event organised at London Metropolitan by the four of us as a parallel event to the Forum Fur Schmuck exhibition Bei Meine Ehre. This generated a great deal of interest and indeed led us to the point we are at today.

The material and subject matter hold a very personal interest and there is a deep rooted commitment from all those involved to push things forward in the subject area as points for discussion and topics for contemplation both individually and as a body of practitioners. It’s been about and it is about developing conversations and future directions

The build up of subject matter has been reflexive, not reactionary and certainly developmental. Subjects and situations have changed rapidly and we have tried to embrace these changes and shifts.
In our global economy we have to try to remember what is important to us as individuals. We all care for different things, make different value judgements, criticise or encourage, understand another point of view or not. We make choices about our own development and how we will react to situations or not. Whether we want to know more, are happy to make changes or feel safer developing new knowledge only when it is absolutely necessary.

Sometimes perhaps this is not enough: we need to take a deep, hard look at what we do, about how we are contributing and whether this has a lasting effect positively or negatively.

One of the key quotes that HEIM began with was a quote by Samuel Johnson: “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful”. We think are speakers will encourage you to think about this quote and how it still resonates today.

So who is Carrying the can? We have a number of speakers over the next three days. They have different backgrounds and I will briefly tell you a little about some of the people who are contributing to this event:

From left: Stephen Bottomley, Susie Fortune, Helen Carnac and Monica Gaspar. Images: Simon Armitt

Keynote Speaker: Karl Fritsch, Germany.
‘Observations on Conventional Jewellery in the context of my own Work’

Fritsch will talk about his practice; the way that he has recycled/reinvented his work through starting with mundane/everyday and found jewellery and using this to form new works. He will take us through a visual journey of that which informs his language, including the very special nature of home fixings and DIY mistakes.

‘…In 1993 I started to use conventional jewellery as the basic material for my work. Some of these existing pieces had already been worn, some were brand new, some were bought or found and others were made. With these jewellery pieces I added more gold or silver. The gold was used as if it took an active part, nestling in or on a ring. Crudely hammered onto things, it coated and grew over entire pieces of jewellery, pushing its way through settings. This created a new kind of mixture from the obvious and the foreign. As gold belongs to jewellery like salt in soup, here the precious metal acted in an unpretentious way, it appeared living and cheeky…..’ Karl Fritsch: Born in Sonthofen in 1963. 1982 – 85 Goldsmiths’ School, Pforzheim. 1985 – 1987 Worked for C. Neusser, Pforzheim. 1987 – 94 studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich under Prof. Hermann Jünger and Prof. Otto Künzli. 1989 – 90 taught at New York University. 1994 lecture tour in Australia and New Zealand: Sydney College of he Arts, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology etc. Numerous solo exhibitions including 2001 Galerie Sophie Lachaert and Galerie Yu, Tokyo.

The Language of Value and Responsibility
Chaired by Elizabeth Callinicos. Speakers: Monica Gaspar, Tobie Kerridge/Biojewellery and James Evans.

Monica Gaspar 'Happy End: Designed to Decay'. Art Historian and Curator, Spain.
Gaspar is an art and design historian and free-lance curator. She lectures and writes on jewellery and other artefacts and their position between art and design at schools and institutions in Austria, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Philippines. Curator of the exhibition Nomad Room (Design Museum, CCB, Lisbon, 2005) and Inner Luxury International Contemporary Jewellery (Caixaforum, Barcelona, 2003). In 2001 she received the Design Award Premi Ciutat de Barcelona. She is a member of the AICA (Association Internationale de Critiques d’Art) and the association Think Tank (European Initiative for the Applied Arts). She is also a member of FAD

Tobie Kerridge Biojewellery’s research and the ethical and legal considerations the project has encountered. BioJewellery, UK and researcher at the Royal College of Art.
“The aim of Biojewellery is to strike up a range of relationships with an audience over the issues that surround biotechnology and tissue engineering in particular. The collaboration is between a core team of a bioengineer and two designers. Our backgrounds, interests and previous work provide this collaboration with some unusual features, which we hope will engage an audience in an exciting way’

James Evans, 'La Morte du Joallier: tales from beyond the grave' Writer and critic, UK/Canada will track the history of several pieces of work he made in the 1970’s and 80’s. Through a series of audio recordings we will hear how the owners of these works view these artifacts and how they are imbued in layers of history and personal meaning.
Evans is currently a Senior Lecturer in historical and critical studies at the University of Brighton and an Associate Lecturer at the University of the Arts London (Camberwell) contributing to 3D design, crafts, and Visual Culture courses. He has lectured and published feature articles and reviews on applied art and design for various international journals: Kunsthandverk (Norway); American Craft (US); Metalsmith (US); Azure, the magazine of architecture and design (Canada); Art Aurea (Germany); AN (UK) and Journal of Design History (UK) among others and he authored the online publication The New Jewellery 1976-1987: a documentational account. He originally trained as a jeweller and maintained a studio practice for several years exhibiting internationally. He was from 1985 until 1999 Area Head in Metals at Brighton University and visiting artist at universities in Canada, U.S., Norway and the UK. He is currently completing his Master’s thesis in Film Studies at Sussex University.

The Positive Implications of Changing Ideals

Chaired by Heidi Yeo. Speakers: Beverley Price,SA and Felicity Peters, Aus.

Beverley Price ‘The Realities of a Practicing Jeweller in South Africa Today’

Felicity Peters ‘Working in Isolation’ Felicity Peters, Australia.

Ms Katherine Kilmaurs, Uk ‘Me, Myself & I’
Katherine Kilmaurs has been a significant ‘behind the scenes’ figure as a jewellery designer at some of the most important and lively businesses in Europe over the past 40 years.
From her early days as a teenager working for the ‘Maitre’ in the atelier at Dior through the swinging sixties (and 70’s) in London and Amsterdam and up until the present day.You may well have seen examples of Kilmaurs’ work but perhaps been unaware of the figure behind it. Now semi-retired but still consulting worldwide she will explore her career and examine issues of attribution and ownership in jewellery design and what these have meant to her.
’The doyen…we always love Katie’s pieces, buy them as your heirlooms from Christies if Granny wasn’t wise enough’ Tatler

Ms Katherine Kilmaurs. Images: Simon Armitt

Material Value?
Chaired by Rachel Carnac. Speakers: Christine Lacroix, Susan Kingsley and Christina Miller/Ethical Metalsmiths and Santiago Porto/Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices.

Christine Lacroix, Plagiarius, Germany. Will present Innovation versus Imitation.
"Innovation vs. Imitation - Plagiarius” accuses imitators for their unimaginative and shameless behaviour!
Initiated already back in 1977 by Prof. Rido Busse, the negative award "Plagiarius" serves to inform the public about the problem of fakes and plagiarisms and the negative impacts they have on not only the economy as a whole, but also on small companies and designers. Action Plagiarius awards the negative award at the annual “Ambiente” trade fair during a press conference. The award is given to those com-panies that the jury has found guilty of making "the most flagrant" design imitations. As his key figure, Busse chose a gnome, which he painted black with a gold”

Santiago Porto, Programme Director for The Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices (CRJP) and an Ethics Lawyer. In his address he will tell us something of the CRJP which was founded in May 2005 with Members from a cross section of the diamond and gold jewellery supply chain, from mine to retail. “Council Members are committed to promoting responsible business practices in a transparent and accountable manner throughout the industry from mine to retail. Their commitment aims to maintain consumer confidence in diamond and gold jewellery products and the trust of all interested stakeholders in their industry. Council members believe that a coordinated worldwide approach to addressing ethical, social and environmental challenges will drive continuous improvement throughout the jewellery industry to the benefit of our stakeholders everywhere. This, in turn, will maintain and promote consumer confidence in our industry. The Council will enable the industry to work together to improve standards and practices, and reduce duplication of efforts as a result”

Christina Miller and Susan Kingsley are founders of Ethical Metalsmiths, which was formed for the purpose of stimulating demand for responsibly sourced materials as an investment in the future. They will present ‘Ethical Goldsmiths: stimulating demand for ethically sources materials’ and of their experiences of this area and their aim to work responsibly from the stance of the artist.

“We stand for social responsibility, a healthy environment and materials that are consistent with these values. We care about the traditions, integrity and future of metal arts. Ethical Metalsmiths has been created for people who want materials they use to be consistent with their values. We are seeking sources for precious metals that have been responsibly mined and can be independently certified. We invite our colleagues in the metals community; artists, metalsmiths, goldsmiths, jewelers, educators and students, galleries and collectors, retailers and suppliers to become advocates for responsibly sourced materials and use their combined purchasing power to reward ethical practices”

Looking Back and Moving Forward: The Importance of establishing Dialogue. Chaired by Helen carnac. Speakers Professor Robert Ebendorf, Paul Harper, Manuel Vilhena and Caroline Gore.

Professor Robert Ebendorf, Jeweller USA will talk about his practice and in particular his communications, by form of letter, with practitioners across the globe and the importance of this dialogue in informing and developing his and others’ practices. He holds an MFA degree from the University of Kansas with additional study in Norway through a Fulbright Scholarship and Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant. He has taught around the world and spent over 20 years helping to develop the internationally recognized metals program at the State University of New York, Paltz. He has taught at the Seoul National University School of Art in Korea, and has presented workshops at Southwest, Anderson Ranch, Arrowmont, Penland and Pocosin Arts. He currently serves as the Belk Distinguished Professor in Art at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Ebendorf has also served as president of the Society of North American Goldsmiths and was its youngest founding member. He has been recently named one of the most important living artists, by the Smithsonian, New York.

Paul Harper The poetics of Making: The Language of Objects’ PhD Research student, UK. Articulating craft: the role of digital media in analysing practice, will talk of language and making in the presenatation
Paul studied furniture at Buckinghamshire College of Art and Design and completed his MA Applied Arts and Visual Culture at London Guildhall University. He is currently studying for his PhD at London Metropolitan University, which is concerned with developing a theoretical framework for Craft practice from makers accounts and exploring the potential of digital video as a methodological tool to aid the analysis of practice, by which aspects of craft practice can be more roundly externalised for research, reflective and curatorial purposes.
Having practiced as a maker for over 20 years, involvement in artist-led projects, combined with experience of working on public art commissions, steered Paul towards a period working as a Visual Arts Development Officer for a local authority. Since 1999 he has worked in arts management. As part of his work for the Arts Council, South West ALIAS scheme he has organised a series of symposia entitled Practice and Reflection, aimed at encouraging practitioners to contribute to critical discourse around craft. One of the key problems raised in these symposia is the language of discourse.

Caroline Gore “The Blurring of Sculpture and Adornment – Spaces : Bodies”
Artist, USA. Gore has formal training in sculpture and metals/jewellery/related processes. The Outcomes of her studio practice vary in media, scale, and implementation – ranging from small-scale body adornment to large sculptural installations. Her work has been widely exhibited in National and International venues since 1996. In addition to her practice she has lectures on the placement of current conceptual patterns within work in the metals/jewelry field, and teaches workshops on making processes from ideation to implementation in a myriad of locations – recent locations include: Boise, Idaho, Florence, Italy and Sydney Australia. Currently she is an Assistant Professor of Art at Western Michigan University, in Kalamazoo, Michigan where she lives and works.

Manuel Vilhena: Jeweller, Portugal
‘Manuel Vilhena likes to use everything and anything that crosses his visual or intellectual horizons and transform it into jewels. An aura of ingenuity allied with an ongoing playfulness - often childlike, sometimes critical and mature - is at the core of his work. His pieces have to be worn, for he addresses the body in the same way as a painter addresses the canvas’
Ozra Kallian. 2004

We would like to thank all of our speakers. They have travelled here from all over the world, to share their knowledge, their integrity, their friendship. We could not have done this without them and we are truly grateful.

We hope that you enjoy the event and all the evening events. It was a wonderful start at Goldsmiths’ Hall last night and tonight we have a private view at St Botolphs, Aldgate of the members exhibition Heirlooms which has been put together by Elizabeth Callinicos and Chris Green from BCUC.

Finally I would like to thank you all for being a part of this. Your contribution is key. Please get involved, ask questions and let’s raise the level of debate.

You can read a review of the conference at