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The Silver Thread. Filigree work by Helen London

It is a real pleasure for me to be able to include wonderful silver work from Helen London, one of our newest Living from Art members, in our current exhibition at Parabola Arts Centre. It was a real privilege to watch her at work today, hear her talking to visitors about how she works, and to understand something of just how strongly she feels about her craft and its history.

"The Silver Thread'

Just as a fine artist may feel a deep-rooted link with the first cavemen who expressed their lives and experiences in pigments on the rockface, so it is true of the silversmith who uses much the same tools today as their earliest counterparts. The use of metal to create objects of both function and beauty spans cultures, civilisations and millennia. As someone who relishes the historical significance of the craftsman, a traditional technique within an ancient craft form was unavoidably appealing. This goes a long way to explaining my ongoing love affair with filigree.

I first experienced the technique whilst studying at university when a visiting Armenian lecturer gave us a demonstration. After graduating I contacted him and arranged to learn more at his workshop in London. From as early as 3000BC this technique has been passed down from craftsman to craftsman like a thread across centuries. I am now one in a very long line of silversmiths to learn the art of creating and forming delicate silver threads in to beautiful intricate patterns of ‘captured air’.

I love the way filigree can be used to create three dimensional forms that are still delicate and allow light to filter through them. I love the intricate decoration captured within frames of solid silver or gold. It is my particular aim to incorporate this traditional decorative aesthetic within contemporary, stylized forms for a modern audience.

Whilst I started with jewellery, I have been developing the technique to incorporate it into small items of tableware like napkin rings, bowls and spoons. My next challenge is to create sculptural pieces inspired by the human form, birds and other elements of nature – all utilising the beautiful effects of filigree – watch this space!

Our exhibition at Parabola Arts Centre is open from 10.00 - 7.30 on Thursday 27 October, Friday 28th and Saturday 29th October 10 - 4.30. See her work alongside 12 other talented local artists showing a wonderful diversity of Art.


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