"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

A complex mirror

Some old notes, just found on my laptop. Probably from back when I was working on the first AugA projects (www.augalondon.blogspot.com):

As a maker, I am tied to one side of the fence in the jewellery industry. I can never truly become a consumer or have an unbiased view of the work (both mine and other people's) from a buyer's perspective.

I think this can be a problem for most makers...

Recently I have been exploring themes of identity in work, an issue that I feel plays a huge part in contemporary jewellery practice. Makers build their own sense of personal identity into an instantly recognisible style - almost a branding of aesthetics. The idea being a building of trust with the buyers through the reassurance of predictability (wrong word - more like a continuation of a theme. Slow evolution of style is possible but it must be slow enough). I see this as a problem, as it leaves little room for creative growth. Sometimes adapting and adjusting ideas gently to incorporate new fashions is just not enough. Creative practitioners are in the field because they are *creative*, a character trait that thrives on new situations, new ideas, new expression. As a practising jeweller I felt trapped in a hypocritical situation - customers want to purchase work that is unique and original, but also expect to see a continuous and coherent collection.
The jewellers that manage to transform their work on a regular basis often find themselves caught up in a seasonal cycle of "fashion", with the lower pricing and wastage of unsold stock that that entails.
In my opinion the galleries exacerbate this problem, often discouraging makers from bringing out completely new collections if they bear no resemblance to previous work.

Anyway, the point I am getting to is a positive one, I just wanted to put it into context.
Yesterday I walked into the a ceramics gallery where I had the pleasant experience of shopping for a handmade object. I suddenly realised, from a customer's perspective, how powerful these objects are. The aesthetics are so much more than a surface consideration. An object is appreciated for its craftsmanship and skill, but above this as something that speaks to the viewer - that appears to accurately reflect their style, personality, emotion and taste. It is a complex mirror.

The issue of identity of the maker is almost irrelevant; does it matter who manufactures a mirror?

Why Make?

On Wednesday 1st August I will be running a workshop exploring why we make. Makers and practitioners from all disciplines are invited to come and share their thoughts on the subject. Is making "good"? Why?
We will be 'making' the discussion; over the afternoon words and ideas will grow out from the walls and become built into structures collaboratively created by the participants. The idea is to create a tangible representation of the conversations that take place.

Location: Harts Lane Studios, 17 Harts Lane, New Cross Gate, London SE14 5UP
Time: Wednesday 1st August 12noon - 4pm (arrive 11.30am for intro and refreshments)
Contact: Rebecca on 07845642829 or email info@rebeccasteiner.co.uk
To bring: Bring whatever materials you feel comfortable working with and are happy to share. Other tools/objects/ideas all welcome. Basic materials will be provided.

The event will be filmed. This workshop is part of an ongoing research project into the making process. See more at www.hartslanestudios.org

Experimental carving day at the Institute of Making

On Saturday I spent a fun day learning to carve stone and a variety of other materials with the lovely people at the Institute of Making at UCL.

Below are some photos from the session:

I do love getting my hands on new tools

Look at that mallet!!

Tools and satisfyingly dusty sketchbook. We have been working hard:

things begin to take shape

The stone masterpieces created by the participants later in the day, whilst I got distracted by the Table of Unusual Materials...

lots of interesting things to carve: foam, chalk, cheese, chocolate, soap, carrots, wax, plaster and more...


not so much fun to carve, too squidgy

chalk is good

perhaps I can combine the two?

these colours look familiar... I can see where this is going...

A fried egg! Unfortunately chipped the chalk at the last moment from trying to force the 'yolk' into place, but oh well it was fun

A bit of dark chocolate, but running out of time now so quickly move on...

My favourite carving of the day... Mrs Carrot!

She gets thrown in the bin like everything else. It's been about 25years since I had to learn the hard lesson of having to break up my lego again after painstakingly building a house/car/magic roudabout , and yet I still find it difficult discarding things I have made.

Find out about other upcoming events at the institute of making here: http://www.instituteofmaking.org.uk/events