Brett Payne is a leading Contemporary British Silversmith with over twenty-five years experience. He is a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths’, a Freeman of The Cutlers’ Company of Hallamshire, a former Chairman of The Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council (GC&DC) and a Director of British Silver Week.
Brett Payne designs functional objects made from beautiful materials – individual, hand-made pieces that will spend longer on the dining tables and mantelpieces of the modern home than in display cases. Simplicity is key, enabling an uncomplicated way of making that produces contemporary classics.
In the late 1980s Brett leased a workshop in an abandoned industrial factory building in Sheffield in the North of England. Sheffield is a city famous for its illustrious metal-working tradition, one that Brett has successfully carried forward into the modern market. Today, he continues to operate from a workshop in this old industrial quarter of Sheffield, surrounded by the Victorian factories that once housed the city’s famed cutlers and steel workers. Over the past 35 years, Brett Payne has developed an impressive range of silver pieces from candlesticks to cookware, from flatware to hollowware, all thoughtfully designed and made to combine the best aspects of the material with use and enjoyment.
"My design philosophy encompasses the entire process of creation, from the inception of the idea, through the process of production and right to the point of sale. The public are red in tooth in and claw. They expect you to be good and instinctively know when something is right. Silversmithing is an applied art and at its best should demand and be capable of enduring a direct response. To me, silverware is like music or theatre, it can be recorded in a studio, held captive in a showcase, written about and photographed but is only live performance that reveals whether it has a soul.
The GC&DC provides perhaps the only national forum where craftsmen and designers working at the highest level can come together to celebrate their skills, creativity and enthusiasm for the fundamental importance of quality and expertise in their craft."
Leo de Vroomen
Following his apprenticeship in The Hague and qualifying as a Master Goldsmith in Switzerland, he came to London in 1965. Leo lectured at the Central School of Art and Design (today Central St. Martins) prior to setting up his own studio/workshop in the early 70's. He constantly pushed boundaries and explored and developed his exclusive style of jewellery, which soon became instantly recognisable and of global appeal. Leo's exquisite work has a sense of liberty and is free from commercial constraints.
After twice winning the De Beers Diamond International Award, De Vroomen was given a retrospective exhibition at the Goldsmiths' Hall in 1991. He currently operates from his gallery/shop in Belgravia's Elizabeth Street.
"The first award I ever won as a jeweller was a Silver Award in the Designer Jeweller Finished Pieces Juniors category. Quite a mouthful. I was seventeen. And already hooked. I never missed a year after that, always preparing a piece for what was going to be my next big win and maybe even the elusive Goldsmiths Award. Alas, that was never to be, but as my business grew I have always encouraged my staff jewellers, designers and in more recent years, CAD team to enter something into the Awards. I am proud to say that over the years all of them have won something including many Golds and Silvers.
Everyone loves a winner."