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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

Jo McAllister: Stone Made Metal

This short film by Alexander Brattell shows DJG member Jo McAllister using Stone Age tools and techniques to make her wonderfully textured jewellery in fine silver.

The film was made for The Crafts Council’s “Power Of Making On Screen” programme to accompany their 40th anniversary exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Jo’s jewellery is featured in our exhibition on now in the Barbican, and for a chance to meet Jo in person, pop in today or tomorrow!

Winter 2012 Prize Draw

During our winter exhibition we are giving all you lucky people who come along to visit us the opportunity of winning £100! to spend one of our designers work at our exhibitions at the Barbican over the next year. Petra and Christina will be drawing a name out of the hat on 23rd December. So come down and see us at The Barbican Centre and fill out an entry card.