Beth Spowart

DJG member Henrietta Fernandez interviews new designer Beth Spowart about her jewellery.

Beth working

HF: How did you get into jewellery and where did you train?

BS: Since a young age I have always loved creating things with my hands.  At school my art teacher, Andrea Douglas, was a great influence and encouraged me to pursue my love of jewellery making. I graduated in 2014 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Jewellery and Metal Design developing my interest in smart materials and since then I have never looked back.

Beth Set up

HF: How did you start using smart materials in your work?

BS: During my 3rd year at university, I was introduced to smart materials by Dr Sara Robertson- a lecturer in craft innovation and smart materials. She has shared her invaluable knowledge and skills with me, which I have gone on to apply creatively within my work.

HF: Can you explain a bit about the smart materials that you use in your jewellery?

BS: At the moment I am using two different types of smart materials in my jewellery. Thermochromism is a property that changes colour with the stimulus of heat, and Photochromism changes colour with UV light. I have developed this technology in my jewellery to make pieces that are sensitive to body heat and react with daylight when worn outside. This makes each piece individual to the wearer depending on their surroundings.

HF: Describe in more detail the technology and skills you use to make your pieces

BS: To create the shapes in my new collection ‘Playground’, I have manipulated my drawings and photos in to digital form. Through using the resources at the art school I then transfer my designs to the laser cutter to engrave my drawings into anodised aluminium.

HF: Tell us more about the ‘Playground’ collection that you launched this year

BS: ‘Playground’ is inspired by my childhood memories and the nostalgia of being care-free. Through the shapes, colours and movements of the playground I have made this new collection using the smart materials and techniques that I have developed since graduating. Throughout all of my collections I aim to remain innovative, creating jewellery that is interactive and individual through the use of techniques, materials and designs.

Workbench

HF: So, where is your workshop based?

BS: I am in my second year as Designer in Residence at DJCAD in Dundee and this is where my bench and studio are currently based. I support students in workshops and also with their own individual projects. The residency programme helps graduates starting out in their careers by providing support through the use of the university’s facilities, spaces and mentorship to help them develop their skills and confidence in their creative practice.  I applied after I graduated in 2014 and saw it as a great opportunity to help me set up my own practice as a contemporary jewellery designer and maker.

HF: What’s your typical day like?

BS: Right now, I’m pleased to be busy making Christmas orders! So my typical day starts at 8.30am at the workshop in the university, having a cup of coffee to set me up for the day. I always check my e-mails and I look at my ‘to do’ list! At my bench I will be cleaning up castings, working with my resin pieces and making elements for each piece of jewellery. Also I am involved in helping the students through workshops. I am usually home by six thirty when I catch up on any admin work and create more lists!

HF: Where do you sell your work?

BS: I am exhibiting in three other galleries this Christmas; the Dazzle Winter Show and Studio Fusion Gallery – both at the Oxo Tower Wharf in London. Additionally, I am selling my new collection at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle until March 2016,  this is in collaboration with Craft Scotland. I have stock from my previous collection in Gill Wing Jewellery shop in Islington, London.

I have also recently launched my online shop on my website, www.bethspowart.co.uk where I am selling some of my new earrings and I will be adding more items in the next few months.

Beth’s jewellery is on display and for sale in the Designer Jewellers Group pop-up shop in the Barbican Centre, London, every day now until 23rd December 2015.

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