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Pin II 2003

from Palace of the Night series

David Watkins (born 1940, Wolverhampton, England, UK)

Pin II
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Copyright: Copyright The Artist; Image courtesy of the Artist and The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh

After a varied career as jazz musician, exhibition designer and model maker, David Watkins joined the Royal College of Art, London in 1984 as Professor, Head of Department Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery - a position he continues to hold. He has combined an influential teaching career with extensive studio practice as a designer, jeweller and sculptor. Today he is regarded as one of Britain’s leading jewellers. Throughout Watkins’ career his work has been characterised by technical innovation. In the mid 1960s he pioneered the use of laminated acrylic with Wendy Ramshaw and was closely involved in the New Jewellery Movement of the 1970s. He was one of the first jewellers to experiment with CAD, with the first results published in 1974. In the following decade he teamed up with Formica Corporation to research Computer Numerical Control (CNC) laser-cutting of plastic laminates. He has taken the rigorous precision of laser cutting to exact and heightened levels in his latest series of work, which encapsulates four decades of aesthetic development and accumulated technical expertise. This pin is from the Palaces of the Night series. Each of the pieces in the series shares a basic framework and draws on a pool of shared components that are arranged in diverse ways. The pins are circular geometric forms, a shape that has dominated his work since the 1980s, mainly as neckpieces. From the centre of the pin radiate spokes forming a wheel, scattered with stylised leaves. The introduction of natural imagery marks a departure from his characteristic controlled circular formations. In 2003 Watkins researched plasma coating for metals, a technique that this pin exemplifies, creating a fine matt surface texture on the stainless steel. Some of the pieces are coloured in tones of pinks, violets and blues, a serendipitous outcome of the technique. In this brooch the highlights are soft and subtle.

Acquisition Details

Acquired from The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, 2004
Purchased with funds from the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland which was originated and operated 2003-2006 by the Contemporary Art Society and supported by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council.
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