Leading lights give inspirational jewellery talk

By Veryan Vere Hodge, Head of Development

The Design Hub in the new Art & Design building was packed with students, Old Bedalians, present and past parents on 9 November to hear the life stories of jewellery experts Joanna Hardy (OB 1974-78) and Shaun Leane.

_dsc6901-cropJoanna talked of starting her jewellery-making life in the Bedales workshop with the help of teacher Martin Box, then becoming a diamond grader and a leading trader in the diamond industry.  She was hungry to learn and even though she was a young woman in a completely male dominated industry at that time, her gender soon became irrelevant.  She was respected for her knowledge and quickly realised that knowledge meant power, which no one could take that away from her.  She further inspired with tales of her extensive travels and going down mines all over the world, her incredible detailed knowledge of gemmology, and her experiences working for Phillips and Sotheby’s. She admitted she was terrified the first time she stood on the rostrum, but that she knew she had to put herself out of her comfort zone to keep developing. Joanna is now an Independent Fine Jewellery Specialist and her application to join the BBC Antiques Roadshow consisted of an email with a photo attached of her on her Harley Davidson motorbike – a good way to ‘stand out from the crowd’.

_dsc6869-cropShaun Leane then took to the floor and explained that he had been a restless child and a little bit naughty, but he found his path when at just 14, his school’s careers advisor helped him onto a foundation course and from there he went on to do a seven year apprenticeship as a goldsmith in Hatton Garden.  The fine examples of his early works were astonishing but it was his friendship with Alexander McQueen (known to him as Lee) that enabled him to put the traditional skills he had learnt to new mediums and push the boundaries of fashion.  His skeleton corset has become an iconic piece, showcased in museums all over the world.

He also talked of his honour to design a piece for Boucheron’s 150th anniversary.  The audience audibly gasped at the beauty of his ‘Queen of the Night’ piece as they did for his gauntlet ‘Contra Mundum’ made in collaboration with Daphne Guinness, which had taken four years to make and had pushed the boundaries of what was technically possible.   He now has his own Shaun Leane collection, inspired by his catwalk pieces and he continues to push the boundaries, working his designs onto buildings.  Both speakers had clearly worked hard during their careers, and this drive was evident in their complete passion for their subject matter.  The talk raised £800 for the John Badley Foundation and huge thanks goes to Joanna and Shaun, and also the BPA Fundraising Committee and Design department.

Find out more about Joanna Hardy here.
Find out more about Shaun Leane here.

Artwork from Conran, Emin and Yeo to be auctioned for new school building and scholarships

bedales painting (Large)

Exclusive works from some of the most famous names in the world of art and entertainment are to be sold by revolutionary online auction house Paddle8 to raise money for one of England’s most prestigious schools.

Bedales School in Hampshire, whose alumni include Daniel Day-Lewis, Minnie Driver, Kirstie Allsop, Lily Allen, David Linley and Cara and Poppy Delevingne, are looking for funding to build a new Art Studio and Design Workshop and for a full arts bursary scheme for talented sixth form students, who will join 140 students already benefitting from bursaries and scholarships at the school.

The school has partnered with Paddle8.com, which is backed by Damien Hirst, to auction paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography and jewellery donated by many Old Bedalians and parents.

When the auction opens on 11 November 2014, people will be able to purchase works by dozens of eminent artists including, the jewellery designer Solange Azagury Partridge, Helaine Blumenfeld, Sir Terence Conran, Tracey Emin, Barry Flanagan, Stefan Hirsig, Nick Knight, Jonathan Yeo as well as works by former Bedales pupils, including sculptors, Dido Crosby and James Napier, interdisciplinary artist  Graeme Messer, graphic artist Miraphora Mina, photographer Bethany Murray, designer Steuart Padwick and painters Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Arabella Dorman, Luey Graves, Ivon Hitchens, Rupert Muldoon, Nina Murdoch and Sarah Raphael.

Remy Blumenfeld, the television producer and former Bedales pupil who came up with the idea of the auction says: “There are very few schools that give space to the arts in the way that Bedales does.

“This is a chance for people everywhere to snap up outstanding original artwork and fund scholarships for the artists of tomorrow.”

Bedales School is aiming to raise £3.5m for the new Art Studio and Design Workshop that will replace buildings that have done sterling service but after 40 years are coming to the end of their life and are struggling to accommodate all the students wishing to take these creative subjects. The bursaries will give talented students, whose family circumstances mean that a Bedales education would normally be out of reach, a transformational opportunity to study the arts at the school’s sixth form,

Keith Budge, Headmaster, said: “We are grateful that so many of our former students and others from the art world have donated these fantastic pieces of art for such an inspirational project. The combination of the new building and our first class Art and Design teaching will help us provide more future leaders for the creative industries which are so important for the UK economy.”

In America, Paddle8, started in 2011 by a group of friends including British-born auctioneer Alexander Gilkes, has had auctions of museum-quality contemporary art, fine jewellery and design objects, all vetted by specialists in their field.

Individual Paddle8 investors include Alexander von Furstenberg, White Cube gallerist Jay Jopling and curator Hikari Yokoyama.

“We are honoured to partner with Bedales to bring this extraordinary art work to Paddle8’s global collector community, and help to contribute to the funding of a new arts centre,” Alexander Gilkes, president and co-founder, Paddle8.

“Paddle8 is committed to supporting a lifelong relationship with the arts, which so often begins with early education.”

The auction opens at http://paddle8.com/auctions/bedales  at 10am GMT on 11 November, and will close at 10pm GMT on 25 November.

More auction highlights include works by Slim Aarons, Charming Baker,Erwin Blumenfeld, Alexander Creswell, Stanley Chow, Lydia Corbett, Shepard Fairey,Patricia Field, Murray Garrett, Derek Hudson, Alison Jackson, Chris Levine, Bruce McLean, Donna McLean, Jacqueline Mina, Michael Minas and Frank Worth.


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.