Best New Design Award at Goldsmiths' Fair 2019 - Week Two


The honour of awarding the Best New Design Award for Week Two of Goldsmiths’ Fair fell to Richard Edgcumbe, Senior Curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum who celebrated the exhibitors at the Fair as some of the very greatest people making in the world today.

Patrick Davison won the Best New Design Award for Week Two for his Alabastron Vessel. It combines the skilful and time-consuming process of weaving metal with hammering and shaping. The end result was a highly original contribution to the work of British silversmithing. Richard comments: “I’ve never seen anything quite like it, it is totally fresh and totally new”.

The silver vessel, which took five weeks to make, uses weaving in a similar way to how fabrics are produced. But it’s not as simple as it sounds as making large hollow forms from weaving can be difficult. To overcome this, Patrick started with wires of fine silver, sterling silver and bronze, which were woven around a solid central core of shaped aluminium and soldered together throughout for structural integrity. 

“I used lots of techniques in this one work and set aside a lot of time to experiment – you can’t be afraid to fail.”

Once at height the cylindrical fabric of silver, bronze and solder was heated and hammered to bind the weaves together and create a solid shape. On this final stage of making, Patrick said: “I wanted to actively react to what the metal needed – I didn’t want to file, just hammer it in to shape and react to what was in front of me. I really had to look at the piece and respond to what it was trying to say."

For Patrick the inspiration started in 2018 with a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship. The aim of the fellowship is for people across disciplines to travel abroad and meet leaders in their fields, to discuss their work, and bring new ideas back to their home country. Patrick, having previously studied at the Jewellery School in Florence, chose the impact of ancient Italian jewellery on goldsmiths today. He met with master goldsmith Francesco Pavan whose work, in Patrick’s view, is not just technically flawless but also inventive, creative and timeless. As Patrick says, “He uses aesthetics as a tool we can use over and over again – it’s sensitive, personal and deeply resonates with me.”

Looking at the finished silver vessel, it's difficult not to think of these same three descriptors. Patrick's piece brings together ancient hand craft techniques into a form that's fit for the modern day. “It’s a real honour to be given this award,” Patrick concludes, “it's an affirmation of my work and that subtle qualities can make a big difference.”

Read Patrick's bio and get in touch here.