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Forgemasters back creative metalwork talent

11 October 2010

Sheffield Forgemasters' helped celebrate the very best in UK contemporary metalworking by sponsoring a national design award - won by a Sheffield winner.

Forgemasters sponsored the £10,000 design prize for the Museums Sheffield Metalwork Design Award won this year by silversmith Chris Knight (pictured) for his ‘Lest We Forget' chalice.

Knight, whose workshop is at Persistence Works and is a senior lecturer in metalwork and jewellery at Sheffield Hallam University, was picked from a shortlist of 10 by a judging panel of the Duke of Devonshire, Sheffield Assay Master Ashley Carson, Rosy Greenlees, director of the UK Crafts Council, designer Corin Mellor, Museums Sheffield Senior Curator of Humanities Clare Starkie and Cameron Maxfield, 2008 winner.

In supporting the biennial award founded by Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Forgemasters' chief executive Graham Honeyman said the company was keen to be associated with artistic endeavour as there was a definite art to all aspects of steelmaking.

Mr Honeyman said: "Sheffield has long been associated with the best metalworking skills in the world and it is only right that Forgemasters, as the UK's last independently owned large-scale steel engineering company, should be associated with this award, which rewards innovation and creativity."

Chris Knight studied silversmithing and jewellery at Sheffield City Polytechnic before going to the Royal College of Art. He worked as a designer goldsmith in the USA before returning to the UK to establish a studio on London's South Bank. He relocated to Sheffield in 1995. Since then he has exhibited nationally and internationally and created one of Sheffield's most striking landmarks, The Cutting Edge outside the railway station.

He said: "Although I work on my own I am surrounded by a vibrant creativity that keeps me on my toes and that's what is important about working in Sheffield. It is a blossoming and burgeoning scene because we support each other, which isn't always the case elsewhere."

Rosy Greenlees, who announced the winner at a ceremony in the Winter Garden, said although all 10 finalists were exceptional, the judges were unanimous in their choice of winner. "It is a bold and innovative piece which demonstrates great skill," she said. "It's complex and plays on the tradition of the challice, conveying the passion of religion but is also painful in its vision."

Other finalists were Li-Sheng Cheng, David Clarke, Jemma Daniels, Jennifer Kidd, Donald Porritt, Maya Selway, Andrew Sutherland, Charlotte Tollyfield and Gina Walters.