Jerwood Art Fund Makers Open


Anna Berry | Cecilia Charlton | Jahday Ford | Vicky Higginson | Francisca Onumah and Helena Russell   

The biennial Jerwood Art Fund Makers Open showcases the most exciting new work by early-career artists and makers based in the UK. We have been a lead partner for this eighth edition, which presents five new commissions by six artists working across a broad range of material disciplines, including glass, textiles, digital modelling, silversmithing and sculptural installation.

The makers explore some common themes across their works, such as the relationship between digital technology and traditional techniques, the potential of repetition in making, the power of tools, and the rich history of their material practices. Research, concepts and experimentation shine alongside the extraordinary craftsmanship of the objects. 

The artists were selected from over 500 applications. Awardees each received £10,000 plus curatorial and production support from the Jerwood Arts team, which included curator Svetlana Panova from Aberdeen Art Gallery

Selectors: Dame Magdalene Odundo, potter; Yinka Ilori, artist and designer; Junko Mori, artist, maker in metal; Christine Rew, former Art Gallery & Museums Manager at Aberdeen City Council; Harriet Cooper, Head of Visual Arts, Jerwood Arts.


The Artists


Anna Berry, A Fall From Grace I, 2022.

Anna Berry presents new sculptural work using her signature geometric visual vocabulary and repetitive processes using cones as a way of creating a three-dimensional structure. Focussing on clay and concrete as her core materials, both of which are new to Berry’s practice, the piece looks at ideas of balance, power and precarity – how two materials at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of their fragility can exist within the same structure. Conceptually, the works propose that ideas that can be a force for good can also become tyrannical when balance is lost.  



Cecilia Charlton, Eternal myth and the poetry of the cosmos [fate, future, suture] (triptych), 2021.

Cecilia Charlton displays her largest work to date: a human-size abstract triptych of Bargello embroideries, inspired by the Greek myth of the Three Fates who spin, allot and cut the Thread of Life.  Each panel presents the characteristics of one of the Fates, with a unique combination of colour palette and stitch patterns. The embroidery is stretched over a gilded surface, allowing for the negative spaces in the work to glisten through. Charlton uses the Three Fates to reflect on the different stages of human life and the paths one has to walk through it, forcing us to examine our place on the planet and our relationships to one another. 



Jahday Ford, Axle

Jahday Ford displays a family of large glass vessels, which combine ancient techniques with contemporary innovations to challenge what is possible with the material today. Interested in exploring the relationships between the digital and the hand-made form, the works extend Ford’s current glass investigations into processes such as 3D Modelling and using CNC mould production alongside traditionally hand-blown elements. His installation comprises of three distinct groups of coloured glass works, with one interactive piece using LED sensors to illuminate when visitors are within a close proximity of it in the gallery space. 



Vicky Higginson, Coping Mechanism

Vicky Higginson’s commission for the exhibition is a set of varied healing devices imagined to treat emotional ailments. Made through combining hand-blown and cold-worked glass elements in a variety of bold colours, the pieces are presented on custom made metal stands and plinths. Inspired by research into the shape and function of historic medical instruments the devices include: ear trumpets, to hear things left unsaid; a pestle and mortar, to break up bad thoughts; an anaesthesia inhaler; and a violet ray machine. Continuing her exploration into ‘Folk Futurism’ the objects on display look at the meeting point of folklore and fairy tales with science fiction. New techniques developed for this commission showcase the use of feathers, mirroring, and symbolic mark-making. 



Francisca Onumah & Helena Russell, Invaluable Tool, 2021.

Working in collaboration and using a hoard of old silversmithing tools as a starting point, Francisca Onumah and Helena Russell’s installation comprises of three elements coming together in the gallery space. Central to the work is a collection of five collaboratively made vessels in copper and silver, displayed on one large plinth. Alongside this, the pair display a series of found tools they have refurbished and repurposed to make the vessels, and aspects of their research into the past, present and future of the silversmithing industry in Sheffield, where they are both based. Through this commission Onumah and Russell have documented the personal histories of three Sheffield-based silversmiths, who have been involved in the industry in different capacities throughout most of their careers.  The project aims to challenge ideas of ‘preciousness’ and whether it sits with the final product or the making process itself. 


Top Image: Anna Berry, A Fall From Grace I, 2022 (detail). Commissioned for Jerwood Art Fund Makers Open. Photo Anna Arca