Heather Woof

Heather Woof has joined the Designer Jewellers Group this season for their annual Christmas exhibition at the Barbican, London.

DJG member Mike Carpenter explores her work and methods in producing her distinctive jewellery.


Back in the summer a few members of the DJG met up at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, to pick potential New Designers for our Christmas exhibition at the Barbican.


Heather’s work immediately struck me, with a good display and a body of work that hung together well as a cohesive whole. But what particularly impressed me was the flowing and fluid feel to her work, especially as she is using steel and titanium, two rather unforgiving materials that are not easy to manipulate.


The resultant jewellery is part of Heather’s “windswept” collection. Inspired as Heather says by the wild Scottish weather. Plenty of inspiration there.


Heather’s pieces appear to have been ‘blown’ into shape to give a tousled yet elegant feel to them. All the frond like elements are hand cut and shaped in steel or titanium and mounted in silver, and sometimes gold.


Heather has been very busy since completing her MA in the summer, and all seems set fair for good things in 2013.

Scarlett Cohen French

Scarlett Cohen French, currently Artist in Residence at the Glasgow School of Art, is interviewed by Ute Sanne, member of the Designer Jewellers Group.

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Scarlett, you  only graduated this year from the Glasgow School of Art, but have already received two awards since then.

Yes its pretty great! I’ve won the Guild of Enamelers new graduate bursary and have come joint first place for the British Society of Enamelers graduate bursary also. The enamelling world has been very welcoming and supportive. Looking forward to buying myself a kiln!

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Your enamel jewellery emanates a lot of vibrant energy and movement, but you are not using traditional enamel. How do you achieve those lovely silky orange, blue and yellow tones?

I’ve mainly used industrial (or wet process) enamel. I’ve found the colours to be suitably bright and vibrant and it allowed me to experiment with enamelling on to steel. My technique is to layer different shades of colour and then rub back, revealing a photo-etched design, multiple shades of colour and achieving a silky smooth matte finish.

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You are also experimenting with photography and film. How does the visual aspect influence your work?

All of my work is based on research into experimental film. I make visual feedback loops, which is the iteration that occurs when a camera is pointed at it’s own monitor. It’s a form of Chaos which, in the digital age, reveals itself on screen as undulating and complex pattern and form. I project these films on to the body and design my jewellery from there, always considering movement pattern and of course colour.

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Scarlett’s work can be viewed and bought at the Designer Jewellers Group exhibition at the Barbican Centre until 1st January 2013.

Arturo Borrego

Designer Jewellers Group member An Alleweireldt interviews guest new designer Arturo Borrego 

Arturo’s work immediately caught my attention at the New Designers exhibition because it was so well made and very intricate, but also has a very nice balance of colours and materials.

I’ve asked him a few questions about his background and inspiration.


Where are you originally form and what did you study?

I was born In northern Mexico.

After graduating with a BA in Industrial Design at the University of Monterrey, I specialized in rapid prototyping and model making of consumer products. A profession I have practised for 20 years in four different countries.

For the last 12 years I have being working for a worldwide renowned Industrial Design consultancy and have also been a guest lecturer at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology.

I am currently an artist-in-residence at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin


What are the different techniques involved in your work?

Throughout my professional career, I have constantly been challenged to create appealing objects out of raw material, whilst employing a wide and diverse set of tools, machinery and techniques; my skill set includes CNC machining, rapid prototyping and 3D modelling.

My eager and creative nature in conjunction with an awareness of the potential my skill and training has to offer, has led me to embarking on jewellery design and manufacture.

Because of my background, my approach to jewellery making has been unconventional. It marries traditional practice with my own acquired skills in Industrial design and product development in an effort to widen the possibilities for contemporary jewellery design conception and manufacture, in pursuit of a distinctive re-thinking of jewellery design which will kindle the imagination.


What is your inspiration for your brooches?

My father was a cavalry officer in the Mexican army. Through the lifestyle typical to a family where one member is a ranking officer in the military establishment, I was made aware from an early age of social insignia that denotes rank, affiliation and status within a society. However, as I grew I learned that medals and representation of rank and award is common across society not just in the military. Examples such as sporting medals, boy scouts and community commendation awards which note the bravery of individual community members in the service of their neighbours highlight that ranking is an important part of human experience and recognition. This practice is especially interesting when we acknowledge that it is present in all societies and cultures worldwide throughout human history.

Within the military, recognition of medals is so ingrained that a soldier or officer will unconsciously acknowledge the insignia, and therefore ranking, of a colleague they have never met, which will then indicate to them how they should behave and communicate with one another. As well as influencing behaviour and communication, insignia have the power to generate feelings such as pride and/or envy which can encourages people to both admire and compete with others – to strive to be a better person, a better athlete, a better soldier.

This social phenomenon inspires my current collection of brooches, where society’s hunger for recognition and distinction of individuals is represented in ornamental pieces of fashionable artistic accessories.


What future opportunities are coming up?

– Designer Crafts at the Mall exhibition 2013, society of designer craftsmen.

– Jacqueline’s Choice, exhibition and sale 2013. 16th and 17th of March 2013.

– Artist-in-residency at the National College of Art and Design, Ireland.

I am currently in the process of setting up a practice and reputation as a designer and manufacturer of studio Art, Fashion and bespoke Jewellery in Dublin, Ireland.

Have you won any prizes yet?

– First prize in the category of jewellery in the Royal Dublin Society National Craft competition 2012.

– Materials Grant, awarded by ‘’Future Makers 2012’’ organized by the craft council of Ireland.

A selection of Arturo’s jewellery will be on display in the Barbican in London until 1st January 2012.

Catherine Hendy

Continuing our series of posts on our six new designers for 2012: Catherine Hendy, by DJG member Petra Bishai.
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I love the subtlety of Catherine’s Hendy’s work.  Her line and form rings are simple yet playful, combining and contrasting precious metals in a clever way.  I can imagine wearing a few of them together and delighting in their both their collectiveness as well as their differences.
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When I spotted Catherine’s work at One Year On I was drawn to both her work and understated display.  Catherine’s interest in contemporary architecture and repetition clearly comes through creating pieces such as her stylish and gyroscopic-like bracelets.
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Her pieces are beautifully made and she seems to delight in making jewellery that is precise and finished to a high standard.  And then there’s the hidden element to her jewellery… only when I picked up Catherine’s arched brooch did I realise the kinetic and tactile quality of the work.

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Catherine has already picked up 2 awards for her work from the Goldsmiths’ Company and the British Jewellers’ Association and her work at The Barbican is drawing attention and sales.
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Catherine’s work will be on show and for sale in the Barbican, London, until 1st January 2013.

Ruth Laird

Our first proper post on this new blog is written by DJG member Tom McDowell, who’s been mentoring Ruth Laird, one of our new designers for 2012

I was immediately drawn to Ruth’s work at One Year On by her fantastic use of bold shapes and colours. Upon further inspection I was impressed with the quality of workmanship on her pieces. I found many of them moved in interesting ways, inviting the wearer to interact with them and arrange them to their liking.


Ruth’s inspiration comes primarily from Maths and Physics. She explores geometric shapes found from a variety of sources ranging from buildings and graffiti to Kandinsky paintings. She contrasts the structured order of lines with a rebellious use of spray paint and excitement of movement creating the juxtaposition between creativity and mathematical rules

Her recent exhibitions include the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester and Joya in Barcelona. Her work is currently showcased at the Barbican as one of our 6 new graduates who are exhibiting alongside the Designer Jewellers Group.