A keen maker himself, Michael Bloomstein has supported young, local talent by awarding prizes to graduates of the metal departments at both the University of Brighton and Plumpton College, since 2004.
Each year the work exhibited is of a high standard and reflects credit on the students and teachers of the University of Brighton.
Helene (Len) McCarthy
“I was delighted to receive the very generous runner-up prize this year for my reef-themed work, ‘Macrophage’. The pieces combine silversmithing techniques with salvaged steel, recycled porcelain, enamel and glass. I aim to continue experimenting with the highly reflective and conductive properties of silver in combination with other materials. My work focuses on scavenging and serendipity and Bloomsteins very kindly obliged my request to receive my prize as randomly sized pieces of silver, in keeping with these themes. It was a pleasure to meet Michael and his team. Their encouragement means a lot to me and it was lovely to hear of their own interests in crafts. Going forward, some general feedback I’ve had about my work includes ‘going bigger’ and refining my techniques further; this prize will allow me to do both!”
Jin Rou, Chang – Michael Bloomstein Prize Winner
“Fluttering in ink” reflects my exploration of wing-inspired aesthetics, immersing myself with a sense of escapism from reality, freedom and growth as symbolisms in my intricate flowy jewellery pieces.
Ink drawings have been a crucial element in informing my concepts and ideas, mirroring the fluidity and continuous visualisation of patterns that sprout and expand in my mind.
The organic swirls are decorated with Plique-á-jour enamelling and porcelain elements to show a playful experimentation within the jewellery whilst being cautious to not engulf the need for elegant intricacy in the practice of fine metalsmithing.
To “morph designs into reality”, a concept that has guided me tremendously, is truly rewarding as we discover an unquenchable thirst in seeking beauty and analysing Nature through our intellectual minds. I further amplify the visual impact of my work with a theme of weightless clarity to enhance the sinuous curves within my collection of decorative ear pieces, rings and hair ornaments.
“Fluttering in ink” by Jin Rou Chang Level 6 BA (hons) 3D Design and Craft
Florence West (2nd year winner 2023)
It was such an honour and privilege to have received the silver award from Michael Bloomstein for my second year degree project “Strength and Fragility”
Drawing on inspiration found through collage, photography and drawings from site locations, my head and neck piece explored the juxtaposition of both strength and fragility in nature. Both represented in the use of traditional techniques including repousse and chainmail, pushing metal to be both delicate and fabric with elements of texture.
This most generous award has inspired and encouraged me to continue my journey in jewellery , I’m so excited to to have the opportunity of continuing the legacy of Michael Bloomstein in my final collection.
It is an honour to receive the Silver Award from Michael Bloomstein and Cynthia Cousens for my degree project entitled “The Subversive nature of the brooch.”
The collection of brooches and hatpin draws upon historical notions of Victorian “keepsakes”, each imbued with political symbolism that represent a tribute to the Suffragette activists, who fiercely fought to obtain the vote for women during the repressive Asquith government.
The use of antique techniques such as silver etching and enameling on porcelain are adopted to celebrate the techniques used at the time and is representative of my visual language.
The generous award of 500gr of silver bullion will contribute to my research and experimentation of pieces that work as a collective, conferring further emphasis and depth to the political and visual language as a whole.
“Winning Michael Bloomsteins Silver Prize has meant so much to me and will enable me to continue creating in the material I am most passionate about, after I have graduated University. Thank you so much for encouraging me to continue making Michael and to my tutors and technicians on the 3D Design and Craft course for teaching me the skills that enabled me to win the prize in the first place. I plan on using the prize to start reproducing a small number of jewellery pieces from my graduate collection in a circular manner, in the hope of selling them on a small scale and then eventually setting up my own small business. Instagram – mhfrmnbrch.design.”
First Prize winner – 2019
“I am very honoured to have won the Michael Bloomstein prize, it has been a huge confidence boost for me and given me belief in my potential as an artist. I am currently studying Blacksmithing and metalwork at Plumpton College and really enjoyed working with new materials and the small scale nature of work in jewellery lessons. I am new to the world of jewellery so I am very proud of my achievement and grateful for the teaching from my tutors. I will use my prize to progress my skills further and hope to pursue a combined career of Blacksmithing and Jewellery making.”
First Prize Winner Silver Award: Silver lined Damascus rings
“It is a great honour to be awarded the Michael Bloomstein Silver Award for my silver lined Damascus rings. The prize has given me a huge confidence boost, and will enable me to continue developing my work outside of university. Thank you to my tutors and technical demonstrators for their support, and to Michael for this amazing opportunity.”
Prize winner – 2017
First prize: Creative Metalworking piece named ‘Momento Mori’
“I am so pleased, I want to thank my teacher Cath, without whom I wouldn’t have challenged myself to create this piece of jewellery. Receiving this award shows to me it was the right choice and the right choice for my future career.”
“The sponsorship is very important to us – the gift of silver for the project is instrumental in introducing the students to silver and establishing their confidence in using it and the prize helps them when they graduate to move into a professional life using silver.”
University of Brighton
“Michael Bloomstein’s continuing support and encouragement of Plumpton College helps to create an environment geared towards success for our young and aspiring jewellers.”
“I feel extremely honoured to have won the Michael Bloomstein Silver Award against such beautiful competition. The award has not only given me a massive confidence boost, but inspired me to push the design element of my pieces. I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to continue to design and produce silver jewellery. Thank you so much!”
Prize winner – 2014
“It’s an amazing opportunity and has definitely encouraged me to continue with my work in silver… The shop has been crucial to my work and I will hopefully be a continuing customer.”
Prize winner – 2009
“I’m extremely proud to have won this prize. This award is going to help me to continue creating silver jewellery which I hope to develop when I leave college.”
Prize winner – 2013