Kate Harrison (b. 1949) gained her BA Hons degree in silversmithing and jewellery from Loughborough College of Art and Design in 1970, thereby beginning a career that, for the next thirty years, was divided between lecturing in various BA Hons degree courses and her own creative studio work. The two developed well together and she was employed as a lecturer and later external examiner and advisor at several UK universities until successfully applying for a senior lecturer position and, later, the post of head of department at Loughborough University. Her creative studio work led to her being awarded the freedom of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and the freedom of the City of London in 1994 and to exhibiting her work nationally and internationally.
Harrison’s work developed to include medal making after she saw an art medal at the Royal Society of Arts in the early 1980s. Soon after this she became a member of BAMS and, later, a member of the society’s council, working on the indexes of The Medal that were then being produced. She successfully introduced the medal into the curriculum for the BA students at Loughborough over the next few years. In 2000 she decided to end her time at the University to enable her to concentrate solely on her studio work, and became a member of FIDEM, exhibiting work at FIDEM exhibitions. Since then she has produced a number of medal commissions, for organisations including the Royal Academy and the Royal Watercolour Society, and several series of medals based on various themes. She has won prizes at the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council Awards and in 2017 was the recipient of the Marsh Award for the Encouragement of Medallic Art. For the last five years she has served on the judging panel for the annual BAMS Student Medal Project and, when invited, the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council Awards. Developing talent for the future continues to be important for Harrison. As part of the Student Medal Project, she sponsors a student to visit an established medallist each year and has acted as a mentor for a BAMS New Medallist.
The artist writes that her BAMS medal, Sea and Sand I, ‘is the first of a series of medals that reflect my life-long fascination with nature in all its forms and textures. My inspiration is based on observation of transient sand formations, tidal flows and sea-life washed up by the tide. I seek out the small detail in this ever-changing landscape.’