In an old warehouse near Kingsland Road, an extraordinary institution has been nurturing the brightest young minds of the future.
Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation was set up in 2012, to nurture those who – as its namesake so powerfully did – want to push boundaries, challenge orthodoxies; to rebel.
So far, scholarships have been awarded to 24 extraordinary talents, picked by creatives whose friendships with McQueen inspire them to continue his legacy of beautiful insurrection.
They include Andrew Bolton, Sarah Burton OBE, Dinos Chapman, Giles Deacon, Katy England and Nick Knight OBE.
Now, ahead of the new Leopard Awards for Excellence in Jewellery, the Foundation launches its first Jewellery Series. Talks, a workshop, a unique showcase will introduce visitors to the work of five of the Sarabande’s most exciting jewellers-in-residence.
On November 2nd, 3rd, and 5th (2pm to 8pm), the Foundation will transform itself with fascsimiles the jewellers’ own studios. Visitors will be able to meander the installations, talking to the designers as they work.
On November 4th, 11am to 4pm, the space hosts a workshop where members of the public can work with the jeweller of their choice, experimenting with designs and materials to create their own piece of jewellery.
On November 7th, Antiques Roadshow jewellery expert Joanna Hardy will be in conversation with Hemmerle (7pm to 9pm), speaking about gems and the history of jewellery; on November 8th, British designer Solange Azagury-Partridge offers insights into the business of jewellery (7pm to 9pm).
Who are the five Sarabande jewellers? Coline Assade, winner of the 2016 Winterson Prize, creates contemporary pieces using traditional techniques; he will be showing a collection of talismans imbued with ‘forest spirits’.
Charlotte Garnett makes anti–anxiety ‘pocket pebbles’ and ‘fiddle jewellery’, ergonomically designed to work with the seven key ways in which the hand moves.
Benjamin Hawkins is a traditional goldsmith who creates bespoke pieces using deluxe materials and gemstones. Trained goldsmith Castro Smith, Sarabande’s newest jeweller-in-residence, recently visited Japan to learn intricate hand-engraving techniques.
Esna Su creates woven knitted leather sculptures that can be worn on the body. She is currently working on a project using Swarovski crystals and works responding to the belongings refugees carry with them or have lost.