I am drawn to the dialogue and provenance that surrounds our most valued belongings. Treasured family stories are rarely written down or recorded, but accrue as memories imbued in our heirlooms, evidencing lives lived before us. Passed down through generations, inaccuracies inevitably creep in and our inheritance becomes entangled with a contemporary view. Facts begin to merge with fiction and a new narrative is born. And so, the cycle continues…
My use of archives, historical references and love of enamel are shaped by years working in the auction industry and an environment where cycles of ownership, provenance and associated memories are in a state of constant transference. I gravitate towards hand-processes traditionally used by Silversmiths and Jewellers and which in turn reflect the time and emotional investment carried in our heirlooms and the stories that surround them.
In transferring the fragility of oral history into the permanence of materials such as vitreous enamel, I aim to reinterpret the complex role that imbued and buried narratives weave within personal effects and public collections. As well as private commissions and collaborations, I am particularly interested in developing my practice within a socially engaged context and with a focus on heritage interpretation.
I originally graduated from Loughborough University in 2005 with a degree in Silversmithing and Jewellery. Leaving education with the experience of a sabbatical year working with the enigmatic glass sculptor and interdisciplinary artist Andrew Logan and placements in London’s jewellery hub Hatton Garden, I started out as Bilston Craft Gallery’s Artist in Residence.
As a new graduate, I was a little unsure of my direction and as most creative practitioners do, I began to look for opportunities that would both supplement my knowledge as well as my income. I started working for a major auction house and what began as a part-time job soon became a full-time career.
Fast forward 10 years and the auction world had imparted a wealth of knowledge but also raised many questions around sentimentality and perceived value. My feet were starting to get itchy and I wanted to reflect on these questions back in a creative and meaningful environment. After spending a little time building up a home workshop, taking on commission work in my spare time and refreshing my technical skills, I finally took the plunge in 2017, leaving work and returning to University to study full time for a Master’s Degree at Birmingham’s School of Jewellery.
Since graduating in 2018 and with the help of a bursary from the William Dudley Trust I have remained at the School of Jewellery as an Artist in Residence. Alongside developing my creative practice, I support postgraduate students through tutorials, workshops and facilitating peer critiques.
Recent and current projects include working with Birmingham based education charity, Craftspace. Leading workshops with The Hive, New Standard Works and a research and development bursary from the Living Memory Art Programme. Living Memory is a Heritage Lottery Fund supported project that records and celebrates photography collections and life stories from across the Black Country. As part of the new Art Programme and Funding from Arts Council England, the bursary will give me the opportunity to access and engage with local communities, test out ideas and establish new socially engaged work.