I embarked on a change of career by attending an evening class at the School of Jewellery under the direction of Tony Amatt. It was there that I first worked with silver and produced my first piece. I loved the colour of silver, the way it hammered.
One of the limitations on my very early works made on the part time course was the lack of design skills – I had many practical skills but no design experience at all. I decided to make the leap and give up my job to attend the full time HND in Jewellery & Silversmithing at the School. At the end of the two years we were finally able to explore freely our approach to making in a final piece. I wanted to make a large-scale object – as this was something I had been used to in industry.
I was drawn to the designs of Henning Koppel and other Scandinavian designers – the simplicity of design and the asymmetrical shapes. So in my final piece I wanted to try and echo the impact this work achieved – but without resorting to recreating the work in a raised form. I wanted a challenge and something more interesting for the viewer. I had arrived at a final form but challenged myself to devise a more challenging and progressive way of making the piece.
By drawing lines onto the form and elongating and playing around with them I began to consider if the work could be made from strips of metal that could be welded from the inside. This presented me with a technical challenge and if it could be done would strengthen and inform the final visual impact of the simple form. I felt the process of exploring the form through line was being influenced by something and during a conversation recalled anatomical drawings that I had seen. Revisiting the drawings of Vesalius I began to refine my drawings and started to make a full-scale section of the work in gilding metal before embarking on the silver item. The finished piece received much attention and was purchased by a private collector at Goldsmiths’ Fair in 2010.
I was sorry to see it go as it was the first piece I made using strips and laser welding.