The Mighty Metalsmith - designers put a new spin on domestic silverware at Salts Mill


Metalware - Credit: Archant

Silversmith Chris Philipson has lived in Pear Tree House in Coneythorpe, North Yorkshire, for 43 years, in what he calls ‘The House of Many Sheds’. And he’s not wrong; there are several and one even contains a lawnmower museum.


Metalware - Credit: Archant

But beautiful things emerge from his sheds, particularly an inauspicious-looking old cowshed next to the orchard, where he crafts spoons, bowls, jewellery and even the occasional weathervane.

Chris, who worked on Louis Osman’s eccentric design for Prince Charles’ investiture coronet in 1969 and has created processional crosses, chalices and alms dishes for many Yorkshire churches, is now joining 12 other top metalsmiths in a new exhibition at Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery in Salts Mill, Saltaire.

Amongst the other makers represented in the Mighty Metalsmiths event are Rauni Higson, whose intricate rippling silver vessels are inspired by the wild beauty of her home on Snowdonia; Adrian Hope, who uses the traditional technique of hand-raising silver to produce finely fluted bowls; Adi Toch, who produces rounded tactile forms which combine elegance and functionality (her gently rocking oil and vinegar set recently won the Goldsmith’s Best New Design Award); Chien-Wei Chang, who uses the natural form of bamboo to create exquisite vases and Sheffield-based Rebecca Joselyn, whose quirky pieces explore the modern throwaway culture of convenience (her gilded silver milk jug mimics a crushed tin can).

The gallery is hosting a special free event on Sunday June 9th – there will be limited space, so it’s wise to book ahead – with Rauni Higson, who will be discussing her inspirations and her approach to commissions, particularly a wedding present for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from the People of the Royal County of Berkshire.

Avid collector and Crafts Council patron Jacqueline Gestetner will also be on hand to talk about the joys of collecting contemporary silver.

‘Commissioning has the same emotional appeal as inheriting an heirloom piece,’ she said. ‘It’s a really personal experience witnessing how something is made from its inception.’

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The Mighty Metalsmith: Decorative and Domestic Metal and Silverware will run at Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery in Salts Mill, Saltaire from May 23rd to July 7th. For further information, visit