Understanding Context

Section 1

During the research that I have carried out, I have found that I am very concerned about the environment and the impact that we as consumers have on the environment. I have discovered different ways of recycling materials within my practice for example in this project I have sourced as much metal from the bin as I can, only buying when necessary. I have looked into how and where to source recycled material from. I have also been saving all of my offcuts no matter the size to use for myself and to take any other pieces that are unusable hopefully to a recycling plant. I have also found some organisation’s that sell jewellery which is made by people that live in developing countries to give them better wages and quality of life and help develop the local communities for example People Tree. I intend initially to make as much of my work myself as I can however in the future I may develop designs that I am happy for others to make for me, this could be projects that run alongside my personal handmade practice. i feel that joining an organisation like People Tree in the future would be very rewarding.


In my previous project I used found materials from around Manchester which I enjoyed because I was able to show the beauty I saw in these objects by applying them to wearables, giving the objects a higher status by putting them up against silver, gold and diamonds which are normally socially accepted as ‘precious’. I want to highlight through my work the materials I believe to be precious. I have continued this theme within the current project but I have been using more organic material to make wearables, Along with the salvaged metal. During the design and making process I intend to highlight the colours, textures and form which attracted me to and made me pick up or keep the object. When using the organic material I have discovered that it isn’t very realistic for everyday where due to the material decaying over time. I responded to this by developing the project into a sort of kit or set where I will invite the customer to put their own objects in.

Some Jewellers such as Bernhard schobinger and Brandon Holschuh also use found materials within their work which I admire, however I feel that this impacts upon the wearability of their work. This isn’t what I intend for my practice, for me the wearability of jewellery is very important. I want people to feel comfortable whilst wearing my work. This is an issue that I am struggling with due to the found material and have reduced the size to make them less bulky and give them a more delicate feel which suits the jewellery context.



The research has helped me to decide that I want my work to be affordable, and I also want to work independently, hand making as much of the piece as I can. I intend to exhibit and sell work in places and events such as the great northern contemporary craft fair, the Manchester craft centre and the bluecoat. I have also considered selling my work through places such as the shop at Manchester art gallery and maybe at the Manchester museum. I am also looking into selling my work on the internet however this means that i need to make sure that work I sell on the internet is sturdy enough to survive being posted, this may impact upon my material choices. I have also considered making separate work that is more commercial and simple which could follow current fashions and trends to increase my market by branching into another. I intend this to give me more income to as a supplement or to help fund my practice in the beginning if I need it.

When I visited the bluecoat I saw no organic materials in the jewellery on display there however Holly Belsher uses organic material to cast from. I believe that the main reason for this is due to the decaying of the organic materials in the shops which could make my work look undesirable and am aware that this is a problem. work that could be sat in a cabinet for a while could be sold without organic material, instead using images to suggest what is intended to be placed in the piece, My intention for my future practice is to tackle this problem and develop ways in which this can be overcome. My current project will hopefully be the start of this development.


My current project has developed into more of an interchangeable kit, where I intend for the piece to be sold with an example found object then once that is gone invite them to replace it with something they have found or kept. This solved the problem of the organic material decaying because I am inviting the customer to change the object to something that they want to wear. This will also widen my market as it doesn’t have to be organic material that the customer puts in it could be paper, fabric sponge or anything that appeals to them. I intend to make a set of three different shaped holder pins or brooches to accommodate for different items, the items that can be put in will be limited but I cannot cater for everything therefore I will give the customer an example.

Section 2

My starting words for the start of this project where contain and environment, I have contemplated changing contain to brooch because the majority of my practical work for this unit has taken the form of brooches but I didn’t think that it was necessary to change the words because I think that the containing of the found objects within the pieces is more important than the form that the pieces take.

I think that my drawings show a relevance to the intended context of jewellery however I need to execute the making and finish to the higher standard. Some of the shapes that i have drawn have been difficult to make, i think that drawing to scale in the future would help me to evaluate the design better before making the piece it will help save materials and allow me to plan better how much starting material I need helping to reduce waste. I have noticed that some of my early tests were large and clumsy, i have now started to make smaller more manageable wearable pieces that also introduce the changeable object designs

I visited the Bluecoat display centre and spoke to some of the staff about what they look for when buying and sourcing jewellery the main comments were that the work needs to show evidence of quality craftsmanship,be wearable, reasonable prices although I noticed some higher priced jewellery however this was still reasonable, by doing this they are catering for everyone in a wider market. They initially stock on a sale and return basis but they will buy stock in if the work sells well. I asked if they would consider exhibiting more statement pieces and they seemed enthusiastic about the idea however said that it would only be beneficial on a financial basis if there were some wearable, toned down and affordable pieces that allowed the customer to take away an aspects of the statement piece in something wearable.

My work needs to focus more on the wearability and durability, I feel that my work is craftier than the work at the bluecoat however it has given me a standard to aim for during the duration of the course and future practice. My use of organic and found materials I think contributes to the crafty feel of my work however I am confident that with development, tests and improvement on my skills and further experience with working with the unconventional materials my work can become more contemporary and hopefully sell at a higher price.

Section 3

My presentation went well although a little short, I felt that more preparation was needed because I kept reading from my notes so my speech was not very fluent. Building my confidence will also help with my presentation skills and preparation should help with my confidence. The response to my work was overwhelming and very enthusiastic which was encouraging. I said during my presentation that my intended context was the bluecoat but I felt that this project was crafty looking because of my organic material choices. The response to this was the opposite and in fact the bluecoat was maybe to crafty for my work, they felt that it was more contemporary and bespoke. I have thought about making bespoke pieces but this was something I expected to be moving and aiming towards in the future after graduation and once I had established myself as a maker. I now feel that the bar is not as high as I originally thought and becoming a bespoke maker could be less of a long term achievement goal and more achievable in the short term.

Sigurd brongers work is very contemporary and seems very mechanical he uses lots of small springs, nuts and bolts. The pieces seem to me more statement than my work, being that they are not every day where. The current concept for my project, asking the customer to insert their own object into the piece means that the customer can change the wearability of the piece, for instance if they wanted to wear it every day they can chose an object that is small, sturdy and manageable but could then change it into a statement piece by putting an object in that is large or more delicate, making it something to were on special occasion. This is widening my market by catering for as many people and occasions as possible.

My feedback suggested documenting the objects that I find, to give the customer more of an idea of where they can find objects to replace mine in the piece. Another way I could do this is to name the sets for example: forage collection, city collection, office collection. By assigning the different shapes that I have developed to a place, this will hopefully help and encourage the customer to think about what they find precious and want to wear. Another way that was mentioned to help engage the customer was to develop the kit further, there were some great ideas spanning from a collecting or foraging bag to adding screw drivers into the kit to allow the customer to change the piece and maybe a small visual instruction booklet to communicate the context of my work. I have also noticed that some of the very small nuts and bolts are easy to drop but not to find so some spares in the kit could be a good idea.

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