Saatchi Gallery embraces responsible design 


Redefining Luxury: Saatchi Gallery Showcases Karen Westland's Fairmined 'Transmissive Vessel'

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In another victory for the battle for responsible design, Karen Westland's Fairmined Silver Vessel was exhibited as part of Collect 2019, at the Saatchi Gallery, London. This marks the first time a luxury item of silverware, with such high ethical standards, had been showcased at the international art fair for modern craft and design.

Fairmined is an assurance label that certifies gold and silver from empowered responsible artisanal and small-scale mining organizations who meet world leading standards for responsible practices. A Fairmined licensee since 2017, Westland worked closely with suppliers to design a silver item which best utilised the Fairmined silver available.

The hallmark was proudly incorporated as a focus of the design to celebrate the responsible origins of the precious metal and the Edinburgh Assay Office mark, depicting the three towered castle, to highlight the Scottish origin. 

Careful sourcing has now become an important element for consumers in the bridal and jewellery industry for some years now since the raised awareness about conflict diamonds and ‘dirty gold’. The making of the ‘Transmissive Vessel’, supported by the Scottish Goldsmiths Trust hopes to bring contemporary design and high ethical standards to the foreground of the silver market, to redefine our idea of what true luxury is.

Karen Westland works with recycled, Fairtrade and Fairmined precious metals and works in many ways to ensure her practice is as responsible as possible.

“As a maker I have a choice to support artisanal miners around the world through an audited, traceable supply chain; much preferable to buying bullion with an unknown origin, where death and environmental destruction are commonplace. I want to create a narrative worth celebrating through my work. The Fairmined Vessel I made for Collect truly is a luxury item because it created an opportunity for many and took advantage of no one, to the best of my knowledge.”

Westland is a 2015 Graduate from The Glasgow School of Art and has since been a self-employed silversmith. She attended Bishopsland in South Oxfordshire after graduating for an 11-month residential course in traditional silversmithing techniques. In 2018, she embarked on research which combines silver design and physics to improve the performance of solar lasers, currently a novel form of renewable energy, at the University of Dundee and funded by EPSRC. 


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Jessica Green


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