Brighton jeweller Alice Barnes has won this year’s National Association of Jewellery (NAJ) Award for Excellence at the annual British Craft Trade Fair (BCTF) in Harrogate.
Now in its 42nd year, the BCTF showcases work from around 8,000 British craft and art design-makers with over 70 selected jewellers exhibiting at the show.
This year’s competition was judged by Caroline Kindy, director of Element Jewellery based in Hebden Bridge and Lindsey Straughton, jewellery industry promotions ambassador for the NAJ.
The London born designer won the prestigious award for her Square Roots and Pleated collections which draw inspiration from cuts, folds and repetition used in Origami.
Originally studying at the Chelsea College of Art and continuing her training at the School of Jewellery in Birmingham, the designer spent ten years working within the jewellery trade honing her design and bench skills before establishing her own company in 2014 in Brighton where she now lives.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have won this award, especially considering the high level of skill and talent on display at this year’s BCTF,” said Barnes.
“I’ve worked so hard in these first three years of business to make collections that combine traditional skills with contemporary and commercial concepts, and it’s really rewarding to receive this kind of recognition.”
“My collections originate from a playful exercise in which I limited my materials to a small square of silver sheet. By carefully piercing, forming and sometimes combining squares I realised that just as in origami there were endless possibilities, and this was the beginning of my ‘Square Roots’ range.”
“My latest collection ‘Pleated’ continues to be inspired by paper, but to get the sharp folds and weighty quality I wanted to achieve I decided to turn to wax carving and the ancient lost wax process. I carefully hand carve each section front and back to create elegant pieces with a touch of art deco sophistication,” explained Barnes.
Due to the high calibre of entrants, the judges also awarded two additional designers with highly commended certificates. Kathryn Williamson was commended for her silver jewellery range incorporating laser engraved cut acrylic and reclaimed ceramic and also designer Sara Bukumunhe of SaraBuk Jewellery for her Sewn-UP range which adds colour to textured silver jewellery through stitching in coloured threads.
Lindsey Straughton jewellery industry promotions ambassador NAJ said: “It’s a pleasure to be linked with this show that always delivers exciting and unusual product that is commercially viable. Thanks goes to Caroline for helping pick out these worthy winners.”