Pass-it-along Part One

I am taking part in a project run by fellow jeweller Penny Akaster, involving 50 jewellers across the world. We will all start a piece of jewellery, then it gets passed on to someone else to change it, and then passed on to another jeweller to finish it. The final pieces will be exhibited.

It is a similar concept to projects I did on my MA with Ellen Monaghan; [link here] but on a much larger scale. So I was intrigued and excited to take part.

For my pieces the starting point I was given was "units". So after a brainstorming session I settled on creating a series of parts that could (or could not - up to the next jeweller) be linked together to form a chain.

[brainstorm image]

As it was, the final pieces came out slightly differently! I worked with metal I already had, which went towards altering the design somewhat, but even then once in my workshop the little pieces evolved into the following.

In fact these are pieces that I've had in my mind to make for a while! I think I will make some more after the project as little earrings :)

Thanks so much to Penny for organising this and to all the contributing jewellers. I will let you know what I receive in part two!

TV Stars on Wheels

Exciting News!

But first, I should confess to a delay in van-building proceedings! Over the past few weeks I have had a few set-backs. As I will be opening the finished workshop to the public, my travelling van needs to be completely safety checked & certified, so I had to rethink my idea of doing the full refit myself. I phoned around a few companies and eventually got chatting to Affordable Van Conversions who will doing a number of jobs including: fitting the solar panel, wiring inside the walls, fitting insulation, super-thick ply for the walls and fitting a ceiling and plug sockets, ensuring that all of these things comply with H&S regs.
Once it comes back from them I will be able to kit out the inside & build my workshop space.

Meanwhile….. :)

Today I had a visitor from a yet-to-be-revealed TV show come to interview me about the Van Project.
I don't know yet if they will definitely be using the footage, but if they do decide to go ahead they will be following me through to completion. A great way to promote the idea & get people booking!

It was so much fun to be explaining the project and walking through the space, describing how it will look.

Travelling Studio Part 1


So, those of you who know me will be aware that I have been jabbering on about this project for a while. But finally, cogs are in motion, balls are rolling, and things are generally on the move. The first of which being the van itself, as it travels up from its current home in Headley to the workshop it will be living in for the next few months...

 Here she is in all her glorious glory

PS I haven't driven in 2 years, so tackling the A2 should be fun….

“Why Make?” Workshop & final project outcome


Embodied learning, tacit understanding and the “power of making” are all ideas that have formed the academic context for my project. Yet so far there has been a difficulty seperating theory from practice, or rather attempting to explain or analyse practice through theory. This became one of the focuses of my final project outcome; a series of workshops & publication entitled “Why Make?”.
Placing financial and practical reasons to one side, we are still as humans drawn to create. Religion stems from a notion of “creation”, it is seen as the highest power. Yet is it a good thing or bad? As Tony Fry said, “when you create something, you destroy something”.26 “Creation” in the way that it is understood in the west is merely a rearrangement of raw material; both destructive (to the original material form) and creative (of a new one). True creation must arrive ex nihilo, it must come from emotion, from the “very source of our being”27

There is something magical in making for making’s sake, in immersing yourself into a state of flow, that I wanted to explore. I can’t assume that everybody feels the same way, so I wanted to open up a discussion about the making process. The idea of this discussion was to explore making through making. The making process itself, I hoped, would reveal in its action the reason for its power.

I invited makers and designers from different disciplines; jewellery, performance, filmmaking, carpentry, web design, print making and curation, to come together and explore the question through an afternoon of collaborative making.
The idea was inspired by a quote from architect Peter Sabara, on drawing as an exploratory technique for design:

“After all, what was the role of drawing if not to evoke new possibilities? To open new readings, to provoke a conversation? To openly question, not to dictate absolutes to a reader in a synoptic sense! To actively pull apart the seeming “givens” we too often took for granted, those perceptual padlocks that close the door to true newness. The reading would be as challenging as the writing (both in meaning and aesthetically, we were aware that newness would be ugly). In the meantime we had no need for closure: ours was to develop this process of undoing, unmaking and then making through re-making, not through abstract analysis but rather by active fermentation, a process of irreverent and accidental discovery.”28

I have chosen this quote as, although the remits were different, it captures the spirit perfectly of what I was aiming to achieve through the “why make” workshop. Finished products had no place here; what is revealed at the end is not a representation of an answer but a record of action.

We began by brainstorming on the walls, drawing and discussing what it means to “make”. Discussions took place, questions were posed and answered as the brainstorm grew. During the afternoon materials were incorporated into the discussion and objects began to take shape.

The focus was on Process over Product; it was not important what was made, only that we began to think about how it feels to make. Interestingly every participant proudly presented an “end product”, even though this was not requested. This may be due to our formal education, and a habituated practice of handing in a finished piece of work. Or perhaps there is a need to create something, however abstract. The discussion continues, alongside photos and a short video of the event at 

26 In conversation at Goldsmiths, University of London

27 Juniper, Andrew Wabi Sabi, The Japanese Art of Impermanence Tuttle Publishing, USA 2003 pg95

28 Peter Sabara “The Ministry of Health. Views from the Lighthouse. Excerpts from exile at the the Diorama and musings on a still open architecture...” A letter, June 1993

"Why Make?" workshop (from the view of the participants)

Why Make? Workshop trailer by filmaking participant Kai Clear

A longer insight by Andy Welch, including interviews with the participants

Photos by Tisna