Sarah Rothwell is the Senior Curator of Modern & Contemporary Design, in the Department of Global Arts, Cultures and Design at National Museums Scotland. Where she has collection responsibility for the British, European and other ‘Western’ glass, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery and industrial design circa 1945-present.
Her research areas are within Nordic and British Modernist Jewellery Design; Contemporary Craft with a focus on Ceramics, Glass and Jewellery; 20th Century European Art & Design; and the integration and interpretation of historical collections by working artists and makers. She was one of six guest curators for the European Glass Context 2021 and has curated the NMS exhibitions Modernist Jewellery and Art of Glass developed in collaboration with the National Centre for Craft & Design; curated the Scottish content for the ACMI touring exhibition Games Masters; co-curating the exhibition Nordic Modernist Design; and assisted on Express Yourself.
In addition, she was one of five successful recipients in 2015 to be awarded the Art Funds New Collecting Award, with a project focusing on collecting, researching and disseminating Northern Modernist Jewellery with a particular emphasis on work designed and manufactured in Britain and Northern Europe.
We ask Sarah to select her top four from this year’s Dazzle Invites…
Traces Brooch by Amanda Denison
There is something in the decoration of Amanda’s Brooch that is reminiscent of the Brutalist decorative design of the 1950s and 1960s that just calls to me. Whilst also evoking a feeling that this jewel is an artifact or archaeological find. I love how she has captured a sense of the layers and textures our urban environment holds. And how these landscapes and history are stitched together. It’s bold and beautiful, and a yes please from me.
Tags/Flags Necklace by Jessica Turrell
With its beautiful kinetic rhythm, Jessica’s Flags necklace makes the observer feel that the tags could easily start to move and change orientation, be that through an environmental change or the movement of the body. Whilst the delicate line work of her enamel heightens this sense of possibility by adding a subtle nod to printed textiles. An elegant monochrome composition that I would love to wear.
‘Curved Curves’ Circle Brooch by Sheng Zhang
Sheng Zhang’s series ‘Curved Curves’ celebrates minimal simplicity and advocates the power of form. The geometry of his interpretation of a circle, rectangle, square, and triangle is beautifully executed in sterling silver, gold plated, and oxidized silver. That entices the observer to want to select multiple pieces so they may create their own compositions of form and colour for their lapel. Now the only problem is which ones to choose.
Succulent Hoops by Emmeline Hastings
Oh how I wish my ear lobes were pierced so I could have these dreamy Succulent Hoops by Emmeline Hastings. I’m a huge fan of her work, constantly taken with how she transforms her synthetic material into jewels that resemble precious stones, or on some occasions like this, they almost resemble ice. These jewels are unique works of beauty that speak of the past, present, and future that I’m now wondering if I could adapt to fit my Daith piercing.
Dazzle invites 30 contemporary jewellers, showing unique, one-off or limited edition designs, created specially for the exhibition. All pieces are available to purchase from 16 November 2021 – 9 January 2022.