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Sunday, 29 April 2012

20th exhibition has new exhibitors - Paul Irvine

In addition to Marianthi and Dennis, we are proud to present the silver work of local artist, Paul Irvine.

Paul Irvine is Wirral born, and has lived in Hoylake for twenty five years. He is a full time teacher of Design & Technology, and has always enjoyed the challenge of designing and making his own ‘stuff’.
He trained at Shoreditch College in the 1970s, and has returned to working in silver relatively recently, although he is equally happy working in both wood and engineering materials which proves to be useful, as it enables him to make the tools and formers that he needs to work silver. Perhaps because silversmithing is first and foremost a hobby, Paul’s pieces are somewhat eclectic, ranging from pieces of jewellery to candelabra to napkin rings.
His preferred method of working is to beat and hammer silver into shape, where the material’s malleability (‘smackability’ as one of his pupils memorably expressed it), enables the silver to be wrought into shape. For some pieces silver sheet is ‘pressed’ into shape using handmade wooden formers and the pressure of a vice – this is particularly so on some of the bangles, where the curvature is anticlastic (it curves in opposite directions); this form is particularly strong along its length, and can be seen in natural structures such as leaves and grasses. He also fabricates pieces, joining them together with heat and solder.
Design sources are picked up all over the place: from natural forms, from geometric shapes, from the inspiration of the work of other artists and craftspeople, and from simply thumping the silver to see where it will go. Sketching sometimes forms the basis of ideas, although more often than not three dimensional modelling is the preferred method of development. For each finished piece of silver there are usually at least a couple of rough hewn pieces of copper or gilding metal languishing in the corner of his workshop.
Paul is registered with the Assay office at Goldsmith’s Hall in London, and all his work is assayed and hallmarked by them to guarantee the quality of the silver. The majority of his work is produced in Sterling silver, which can be seen by the 925 mark within the Assay marks.
Paul would probably like to describe his silver work along the lines of ‘The product of many hard won years of experience, finely tuned and realised in individual pieces in his studio workshop in Hoylake’ His wife translates this as ‘Rustling up bling in his garage’.

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