about fleur GRENIER.
I am one of a few contemporary pewtersmiths working within the UK, my passion for pewter began when I was introduced to it while doing my degree at Sir John Cass, in London over 20 years ago and from then on I did not look back and it has been a constant companion in my work, to the point where I am quite often referred to as ‘The pewter lady!’ After my degree I went on to The Royal College of Art, London where I completed my M.A on the Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery course.
My creativity has always been a big part of my life. When I was 10 my junior school teacher recognised my enthusiasm and although not officially old enough secured me a place at Rochdale Art College where I then went every Saturday morning doing ceramics and jewellery, family members are still fortunate to have some of these early pieces (they may not feel fortunate is the word!) With that and my dad teaching me how to use his tools I soon had my own bench in my room where I could make my jewellery.
This passion has remained and when I had completed my M.A. I set up a studio in London, then in 2003 moved back to W.Sussex and established my studio where I work from today in Angmering, W. Sussex. I am proud member of Design Nation, The Sussex Guild, a Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Pewterers and a member of the Crafts Council directory of selected makers.
I design and make contemporary pewterware and also work with clients to make bespoke commissions. All of my designs are individual and sculptural in style. I have now worked as a pewtersmith for over 20 years, using many of the traditional pewtersmithing skills to produce my designs and I pass on these skills by running 1 to 1 and one day workshops in a variety of pewter working techniques, I also do demonstrations and talks about my work and the processes involved.
Fluid sculptural forms are the key words I use with my work, with the sculptural not being detrimental to the function of the piece. This drives the design of my work but also my understanding of the material. I am constantly looking at ways to work it and discover new ways to manipulate it to achieve an aspired outcome.
The desire to do this and incorporate other elements has challenged me to learn skills in new materials such as the glass and concrete, which often opens the door to a new development of ideas within my work.
I have been fortunate to receive recognition for my work and have won several awards for my designs, the Craft & Design Selected Maker, Silver Award for metal. The Craft & Design Magazine award at Made Brighton, International Design Network Federation, New York (IDNF) and The Worshipful Company of Pewterers.
The current range of sculptural work I am working on is my series ‘HOME’, It explores the feeling of belonging no matter whom or what we are.
I always enjoy learning new skills and working with new materials. A concrete casting workshop helped me to bring to life ideas I had been working on for this ‘Home Series’ I am designing and making these pieces, exploring using cast coloured concrete and combining it with the pewter and have to say loving the way they work together. There are some challenges but that is something I never shy away from! To see and read more please click here
My current pewter collection Maris, has developed from a series of drawings, in particular bladderack found on the beach near to my home in W. Sussex . The pieces that I make capture the fluidity of it as it moves in the water. To read and see more from this collection please click here.
One of my recent commissions was to design and make a Bishops Crosier for the Bishop of Stepney, London.
Others include a pewter and glass bowl that was presented to the Countess of Wessex by the Worshipful Company of Pewterers, the RFU (Rugby Football Union) commemorative gifts. If you would like to see more of my commissions or are thinking you may possibly like to have a bespoke piece made please click here.
In November 2014 I was invited to The Worshipful Company of Pewterers to strike my mark at a Touchmark Ceremony. The Worshipful Company of Pewterers was established in 1478 to take control of the expanding pewter trade.
On completing an apprenticeship, pewterers were required to register a ‘touchmark‘ to be stamped on their wares, which had to meet set standards of quality. Inspectors or ‘searchers’ from the Company travelled around England visiting workshops and testing items. Substandard wares, often containing too much lead, incurred fines and were liable to destruction.
The ceremony is now done purely for makers to register their marks so future generations can identify pewter pieces. The ceremony involves stamping a name punch onto a pewter sheet in front of the court and the master.
I feel very honoured to know that my touch mark is now alongside the many other pewtersmiths from the last 500 years
I have worked with pewter for over 20 years and I have a passion for it as a material. Over the years I have become an expert in working with it, as well as running workshops to pass on these skills. In 2010 the publisher Crowood Press commissioned me to write a book exploring techniques, processes and designing with pewter. The book was written to enable people with some metal work experience and those who have never done any of this type of work before to gain skills so they can make their own pewter products. If you would to purchase a copy please click here.