40 Years of Dazzle Exhibitions

40  Years Dazzle Collection

40 Brooches for 40 Years

As part of our 40 years of Dazzle celebrations, we are excited to announce our 40 Brooches for 40 Years exhibition. We have invited 40 makers from across the four decades to make and exhibit a brooch, which we will show online at lovedazzle.com and at our Edinburgh Festival Dazzle at Dovecot Studios in August. Alongside this we will show 40 Brooches from our own personal collection dating back to our first exhibtion in 1981 to the present day. 


We both feel that we have been very privileged to have been involved in the craft world and with so many wonderful makers for such a long time. What started as an interesting side line, developed into a lifelong commitment to showing and selling handmade jewellery by individual makers, often just graduated, in a wide variety of venues and introducing the general public to work, not seen outside specialist galleries. Along the way we have met so many interesting people and made connections with so many of our makers and they have made connections with each other through Dazzle. This exhibtion will give you a little snap shot into the history of Dazzle and the makers that have shown with us over the years.

Traverse theatre 2010

Edinburgh Festival

Good news! We are planning on returning to Edinburgh for the Festival this year, at our wonderful Dovecot Studios venue from 5 to 29 August. Obviously this will be subject to government guidelines but we are hoping that we will be able to stage a less restrictive exhibition this year than we were last year.

We have been coming to Edinburgh with Dazzle for 38 years, just 2 years after we started in 1981. For the first ten years we were at the Assembly Rooms on George Street, then 1994 to 2010 at the Traverse Theatre and now at Dovecot Studios from 2012. It is now a very different experience to that first year at Assembly. We showed 75 jewellers crammed into cases in the Powder Room, which was not a large space and I can't remember any windows. We had two days to set up and jewellery was pinned to felt covered shapes with tie on labels. I don't think the jewellers would accept that these days. The jewellery, however, was wonderful and people crowded in and bought lots despite the room and the displays. We still love coming up to Edinburgh every year but we are relieved that we no longer have to share a flat with a dozen other bodies.

Image Traverse Theatre 2010

Dazzle Invites Glasgow Kelvingrove 1989

We were honoured and excited to be asked to mount and exhibition of contemporary jewellery and metalwork at the Glasgow Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in 1989. We invited 33 makers and gave them complete freedom to make and exhibit whatever they wanted, with the added bonus that they didn't have to worry about commerciality or selling. It was a great exhibition and lots of fun to organise. Most of the makers came up to Glasgow to do their own displays and there was plenty of eating, drinking and generally making merry. The communal meal after the opening in The Rotunda was quite something although one or two people did come down with food poisoning or maybe they had just over indulged. Some of the pieces from this exhibition will be on show in Edinburgh as part of our 40 Brooches for 40 Years and some of the original makers will be showing new pieces.

The 90's- Brighton Dazzle

In 1995 as part of the Brighton Festival we put on a show at the Royal Pavilion, a stunning location. We were "Dazzle by the Sea" and in subsequent years we were "Dazzle by the Sea Again" and "Dazzle by the Sea Yet Again" by the fourth year we were "Dazzle goes into Print", obviously we decided against "yet,yet again"! It was a great show to do as we were at the seaside, in a great space, handy for tea at The Mock Turtle and we had our wonderful Brighton jewellers covering shifts for us. The downside was the preponderance of mainly French schoolkids and students, who crowded out the gallery and showed no interest in the jewellery. We had four happy years in Brighton before calling it a day.

Oddities of the 80's

After the initial success of the 1981 launch, Dazzle was keen to spread its wings, which we did first in 1983 with Edinburgh Festival Dazzle adding it to our London and Manchester venues. We then experimented with other venues, with varying degrees of success. In 1985 we had exhibitions at the City of London Festival in St Lawrence Jewry, Wigan Festival on Wigan Pier and at the Sheffield Crucible as well as our other three venues. Not sure how we found the time, energy or the jewellers! In 1986 we tried the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath where we had a lovely time but didn't sell much jewellery. In 1989, with a one year old in tow, we exhibited at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith and Reading Shopping Mall with a small display at the Hexagon Theatre. What were we thinking! None of these venues became Dazzle regulars and we settled on London, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh with a brief flirtation with Brighton, but that's another chapter. I wonder if there is anyone out there who remembers these one off exhibitions or took part in them? Interesting to see that all our artwork was in black and white, which was not ideal but all we could afford.