Monthly Archives: January 2012

Design & The Market: Research Your Business

For our first Design & The Market we have been asked to identify an enterprise, such as a company or freelance designer, to research and evaluate, followed by a presentation about that business. This should help us understand and acknowledge of what running a business is like.

Today, we allocated ourselves into teams. My team includes Linsay Thompson, Lucie Hunter, Cat Doyle, Rachel Bruce, Jennifer McGurk and myself. We sat down and had a brainstorm of which successful designers and companies we would benefitĀ  from most and decided on Steven Webster, who creates cutting edge, almost glam goth, jewellery.

We decided as a group which individuals were best at talking, researching and presentations, thus, making sure we were organised to proceed knowing which person was doing what in the continuation of the project. Through the technique of brainstorming our team thought about different questions and things to look for in more detail when researching Webster’s company, including market research; what is happening in the Jewellery industry?; What are the trends? And so fourth.

It was a successful first meeting, everyone seems to be excited and enthusiastic about the project. So looking forward to hopefully getting in contact with the ‘Webster’ himself.

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Visiting Sheila Fleet’s Workshop

Nearing the end of my Christmas holidays in Orkney I decided to take up the courage and organise a visit Sheila Fleet’s workplace. It turned out the whole visit was AMAZING. They were all so down to earth, honest, helpful and lovely! Unfortunately Sheila Fleet, herself, was away South doing some work-related things. However, her son, Martin, was kind enough to show me the ropes of the workshop as he works there himself.

Makers at work

The workshop was a nice traditional bungalow building out in the middle of nowhere. Inside it was so modern! You would step into the shop first of all, where all the jewellery were all nicely displayed in glass cabinets, then walk through into the office. It was a really friendly atmosphere, like Martin said “we are all family”, and I could see that. Martin brought me through into the workshop where maker’s huddled at their benches happily making. First off, I was shown how pieces were made from start to finish with the help of pictures and pre-made jewellery and moulds. Then I got passed onto a highly organised ‘Dave’, the guy in charge of the lost-wax casting process.

Series of photos showing how jewellery is made

After this I stood by one of the makers, Bryce, and asked him endless questions about jewellery, techniques, my work, etc, as he sat there polishing almighty gold and silver on giant machines. This was utmost helpful to me.

Maker soldering silver band together

I then watched the 2 young enameling girls scooping tiny grains of glass onto silver. I learned so much from these girls as I have never tried enameling before.

Applying enamel to silver

Finally, after hours of learning and watching, a woman who works on the displaying of the jewellery, Christine, was helpful enough to show me, in detail, how she goes about displaying the work to its best potential.

Jewellery in the making

This experience was a huge learning curve for me and taught me tricks of the trade. I recommend all designers to go out and meet other makers as it can open your eyes to so many things.

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