New ‘Jeweller in Residence’ for Birmingham museum

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter has announced the appointment of Vanessa Miller as its second ever ‘Jeweller in Residence’.

Miller will work for the museum over the next year, creating an exclusive collection as part of a project to promote local designers through a partnership with the Birmingham City University School of Jewellery.

She will now work from the museum’s own workshop, and her handcrafted jewellery range will be sold exclusively in the museum shop, which has recently undergone a refurbishment.

The first pieces in her collection, tree snake earrings and a winding snake ring, are now available online too.

Miller is an independent jeweller who runs her own business in the Jewellery Quarter. In 2016, she graduated from the School of Jewellery with Distinction in Jewellery and Silversmithing.

To be named as the new Jeweller in Residence, Miller won a competition run by the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in partnership with Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery.

The competition asked budding designers to create a two-piece collection inspired by the iconic Smith and Pepper Factory ‘snake range’, and Miller’s own work is inspired by designs found in the Smith and Pepper sketchbooks. 

As well as the chance to work directly from the museum’s workshop, Miller also won a prize of £1,000 to go towards supporting her work. 

The competition aims to “offer opportunities to budding jewellery designers and graduates of the university”.

Alex Nicholson-Evans, commercial director at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “It has been fantastic to partner with the School of Jewellery on this project once again. 

“At the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter we celebrate the heritage of the area, but it is also important for us to support the designers of today.”

She added: “The first year of the project was such a success and we are thrilled to welcome Vanessa to the museum to showcase her skills to visitors over the year ahead. 

“Her designs will also be available in our new-look shop, adding to our range of stunning jewellery for sale, which supports local designers.”

Miller said: “I am excited to be selected as Jeweller in Residence at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter with my interpretation of the competition brief. 

“I feel privileged to be presented with this wonderful opportunity to work in such a historic and important building here in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.”

She added: “Looking through the archive of sketches is so inspiring, and I am eager to try and incorporate some of the beautiful shapes into my designs.”

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter is built around the Smith and Pepper jewellery Factory that ceased trading in 1981.

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