Dorothy Hogg was the Head of Jewellery and Silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art from 1985 until 2007 and in 2001 she was awarded an MBE for her services to silversmithing and jewellery. Dorothy is first and foremost a maker and an educator and has also curated a number of exhibitions.  Element’s team member Gen Painter interviewed Dorothy to find out more her experience of curating.

What was the first exhibition you were involved in curating?

The first major exhibition I was asked to curate and organise was in 1995 when Lesley Craze invited me to show my work in her gallery in London and to curate a jewellery exhibition of the work of staff and graduates of Edinburgh College of Art. This was a really special exhibition for me as it was public recognition of Edinburgh’s graduates who were gaining a very good reputation and winning a lot of major national prizes. Also it was the very first time a London based commercial gallery invited an art college department to stage an exhibition. We revisited this format again with the current crop of graduates at Lesley’s gallery ten years later.

 A Sense of Jewellery ©The Goldsmiths’ Centre - Julia Skupney 2015

One of the displays at A Sense of Jewellery ©The Goldsmiths’ Centre – Julia Skupney 2015


What do you look for when choosing items to be included in an exhibition?

When selecting work it is quality and originality that selectors are looking for.

Can you tell us more about a particular exhibition you have curated and why it was important?

In 2001 and again in 2005 I curated an exhibition called ‘100% Proof’ showing contemporary Scottish Jewellery and Silversmithing. This was only possible in partnership with Amanda at the Scottish Gallery and Yvonna Demczynska at Flow Gallery. The exhibition toured to three galleries in the USA and to galleries in the UK making contacts for the makers while it toured. With help from the Incorporation of Goldsmiths and other sources we were able to publish catalogues to accompany the exhibitions thus leaving a permanent record of the event. This is as important now as it was at that time when there was limited reference material on contemporary Scottish work.

A Sense of Jewellery © The Goldsmiths’ Centre, Julia Skupney, 2015

A Sense of Jewellery © The Goldsmiths’ Centre, Julia Skupney, 2015

Can you tell us more about the recent exhibition, ‘A Sense of Jewellery’?

Most recently in 2015 Amanda Game and I co-curated a jewellery exhibtion with the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London. The exhibition was titled ‘A Sense of Jewellery’ and we showed interesting pieces of artist jewellery from the last half a century. It was a major undertaking and the process had a gestation period of well over two years. The whole space was redesigned and work was borrowed from three national collections as well as private collectors and makers who all kindly lent their special pieces.

Amanda is a brilliant organiser and she brought in an expert team to work with us to stage the exhibition. We also ran a number of varied events for the duration of the show. One of these was a lively workshop with Primary School children at a school near Kings Cross. It is good to report that 20,000 people saw the exhibition – so all the team’s hard work was not in vain.

It is really satisfying to be involved with an event which shows excellent work to a wide audience and hopefully stimulates a lasting interest in people and a desire to collect.

Read more about Dorothy Hogg