It's been an incredible week so far here at The Business Design Centre for the New Designers exibition! I was lucky enough to have been awarded the Mark Fenn award from the Association for Contemporary Jewellers and I have also been marked out as a 'talent spotted 2016' by The Goldsmiths Centre. Both are just incredible honours and I'm so excited for what the future may bring for me!
I'm definitely focused on perfecting the flowers and then expanding the collection into brooches or tapping into the wedding market with bespoke but to holes? We shall see!
My new collection called 'Floral Focus' was finally unveiled to the public last Saturday at a private viewing at the School of Jewellery in Birmingham. The viewing could not have gone better and the atrium was full of a fantastic vibe of excitement about the graduate work being shown off.
On Tuesday night we hosted an Industry night at the School and I'm so excited to say that my work was really well received with some very lovely comments! I've been given some priceless advice so far and cannot wait to receive more in the near future as to how to expand this business idea and career. If I saw you there then thank you very much for coming to see our show!
Next up is New Designers in London from the 29th of June until the 2nd of July. I'm very excited to see what people I may meet there!
I'm also pleased to say that I have been awarded first class honours degree on my Design for Industry BA course here at the School of Jewellery.
In my brief I set out to make a collection of jewellery that is completely interchangeable. This brand new collection does just that. With the use of magnets and Computer Aided Design (CAD) I have designed a mechanism in which Nylon flowers can be interchanged to suit your mood, outfit, or simply your favourite colour.
I have created a collection of interchangeable floral jewellery, hand dyeing each one to take the 3D printed nylon to a higher level of quality and exclusivity, demanded by the jewellery industry.
The slideshow below gives you an example of how the product works and shows off the variety of flowers that I have created.
I left off last time from my previous blog post with my model prototypes and testing the material for my neck piece. A few weeks later and I am so close to having it all made!
I sent off my final box to Digits2Widgets and it came back as a complete success with my neckpiece parts, display stands and flowers inside. I had to send off two boxes so that I had space to print all of those parts and 30 flowers as well.
The next thing that I had to do was dye all of the flowers. It took me a while to decide which flowers I wanted for the flowers, originally I wanted them to look like a meadow in the display but I decided that the colours looked too random together. So I decided on blues, purples and pinks which kept with the floral theme but also kept the look modern and sophisticated.
One thing that we have to do as part of our assessment is to do a full costing workup of our work. This got me thinking about how I would cost my work as there are a lot of separate elements to consider. After a lot of maths and headaches I decided that I would have three separate costs for my Small Medium and Large blooms and then a separate price for the silver shank on which the blooms sit into. This means that when I branch out into other items of jewellery, only the cost of that piece will change and not the flowers too. I also wanted to try and incorporate a 3D printed (sintered) box into my work like I had for my 'Full Bloom' ring. I tried to cost one for a ring and a flower but this was getting too expensive for what it was. I therefore created a three flower+ ring box which would be a set price and the customer can choose which colours they want for their flowers. This makes the product more desirable and individual.
It's all starting to come together now and the studio has a constant soundtrack of pendant motors buzzing away! Less than two weeks to go now so it's the final push. Photoshoot is on Saturday with my lovely model Katy so I will be revealing those as soon as I can.
Thank you for reading!
It has been an incredibly busy past month for me at the School of jewellery and things are only going to get busier and more exciting in the next few months!
I firstly have some very exciting news to share with you all! Firstly I have been selected as one of 10 students on my course to go to the prestigious New Designers exhibition in London in June. This is a national exhibition for graduates to show off what they have produced for their degree. If you are free I would highly recommend that you come and see some amazing new up and coming talent. ( http://www.newdesigners.com/visiting/about )
Secondly; as a student on the Design for Industry course I was able to apply for a grant from the William Dudley Trust for money to put towards my final collection and also to put towards my attendance at New Designers. I am proud to say that I was successful with both applications and received an award of £1000 to put towards my final module and attending new Designers.
Now onto the fun stuff... I am now fully into production with all 30 flowers designed and the chain mail fully tested. Four weeks left to go and it will all be over...scary!
The School of Jewellery has its annual graduate show from the 13th-17th of June so if you are in Birmingham please please come and see what the various courses have been doing all year.
After a very busy term in the D.F.I studio at the School of Jewellery my prototypes are finally starting to form into a reality and getting ready to be put into production!
I made about 15 different prototypes of rings in order to get the magnetic mechanism just ring, with the correct tolerances for printing and casting. It also took a fair few attempts to get the right magnet strength right but I am almost there with that part.
Below are images of a sintering test I did in order to see what the parts would look like in real life and also to test how the hexagon chain mail material works ready for the neck piece.
There are also some images of a recent dye test I tried to see what new colours I could achieve and how the flowers work together once dyed.
As always comments are welcomed and feel free to contact me here for any queries or questions or click here to see my other work.
The main thing that I need to get right for this concept to be a success is the connecting mechanism for the flower to clip into the ring/neck piece. Once I've completed the problem solving for this I can move onto the flowers and getting them right.
Moving forward I utilised the Ember 3D Printer which uses a resin instead of Nylon and you can print in much finer layers.
From this test I found that the walls to hold the magnet in the male part are far too thing to be sturdy as an interchangeable part. I think that these should be at least 1mm thick. I do, however,like the shank profile. Like the 'Full Bloom' ring this type of rounded shank can be very comfortable to wear.
The next thing for me to do is to go back into Rhino and develop the ring and the location points more before I send a test box off to Digits2Widgets.
It's time for my final module at the School of Jewellery!
Continuing on from the 'Full Bloom' ring that I made for a previous module (Full Bloom Ring) I have decided to explore the potential of laser sintering more in depth and create a statement neck piece which will have interchangeable flowers so the neck piece can be a new design every time it's worn.
Taking inspiration from flowers such as peonies for their full bloom shape I want to incorporate them into various flowers which will build up and become a collection of their own to go onto the neck piece.
I've chosen to make the neck piece base out of hexagons as this reflects honeycomb and the bees which pollinate the flowers and to create awareness for the dying British bee.
With laser sintering I have the freedom to print this neck piece in one using a chain mail method. With consideration to the build plate size the neck piece can be built flat in sections and then joined back together with silver cast links.
Yesterday I visited the Spring Fair, Jewellery and watch show at the NEC Arena in Birmingham. I visited the show mostly for research purposes to see what the latest trends were and what style of jewellery was on sale there to see if my style would fit in with the show for the fututre. I also had a great time talking to the exhibitors there and taking in all of the advice that they had for me for when I leave university.
I also attended a talk on marketing towards the 'millennial' market by Sarah Jordan and learned some very interesting facts.
If you like to know the odd stat then these are for you!
This advert by Forevermark isn't aimed at either the female or male market it is aimed towards both and the hashtags are more prominent than the ring
A trend that I found at the show was for Rose Gold jewellery; almost every stand that I went to.From 'Dower and Hall' right down to the independent designer/makers at the show; they mostly had at least one item in rose gold on their stands.
For the past three weeks we have been focusing on creating either a Business Plan or a career Plan and I have been given a real insight into the industry which I haven't really had a thought about before. I plan to have a part-time job to begin with, or maybe a full time job depending on finance, and start to set up and grow my own business as a designer maker.
Originally I wanted to be a maker for a company but after doing some industry research I found that no one was really making jewellery in the style that I like and my aim is to be enjoying my job; and making my own work will be hard work but hopefully rewarding at the end of the day. After contacting James Newman, a successful business here in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter I have been offered a day’s work experience in March which I am very excited about! I really respect James Newman and the work that his workshop produces as it is high quality and a bit different to your more traditional fine jewellery.
Last week we also had a talk from Jo Stroud (business owner of 'Fabulous' in Leamington Spa and Solihull) and Sinade Prosser (Retail supervisor and the creative + buying manager in the Solihull 'Fabulous' store) who talked about all of the areas you could go into in the jewellery industry; so not just a designer, maker, or sales assistant. You could go on to be a window/ display designer, buyer for a larger retail department store or a sales manager for example. This got me thinking more about the different routes i could go down so I asked Sinade for some possible work experience and I have 3 days coming up in March working in the Solihull store learning about various parts of the business and how it runs successfully. Talking to Jo and Sinade made me feel much calmer about my future and understanding that nothing is set in stone in terms of your future.
This week we had two talks from Managing Directcor of Westom Beamor, Andrew Morton, and School of Jewellery alumni, Jack Rowe who has gone on to be a successful designer maker of luxury pens and a freelance CAD (computer aided design) designer. Both of whom offered an invaluable insight into this industry and stressed that doing what you love is the main aim of the game and to remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing every day. Jack is someone to look up to because he was been through this course and seven years on. He still wakes up every morning excited to get to work. Andrew Morton also gave some very good advice to go and get experience in other creative industries and work on your transferable skills as those are what will stay with you no matter where you’re or where you're working.
So who knows what the future holds for me but I'm excited to explore my options and see where things take me. my main focus for the next few months will be to design, explore and develop a collection for my final project at the School of Jewellery and go on to sell it.
As always commission work is always an option and please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out further details on my 'Contact Me' button at the top of this page. I'm always happy to have a conversation and help you get what you want.
Thanks for your time,
I am a third year student at the School Of Jewellery in Birmingham. Posts will be based upon my progress through my final year on this DFI course.
© 2016 Jewellery by Rebecca Wilkes.
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