I have had a great time carrying out some design workshops and technical exercises with the students. I’ll be posting some of the highlights of these over the next few days.
The students had asked me to design something for them to fabricate but I thought they would benefit being more involved in the design process so I developed a design exercise for them instead. A handout was prepared with some instructions and visual references and signed a book out from the library on Turkmen jewellery to get them started. The students are already familiar with Turkmen jewellery forms and the techniques particular to this style of work, most of their 2nd year is spent studying and making in the Turkmen style. The idea was for the 3rd year students to look at Turkmen jewellery for inspiration but design a contemporary piece that relates to one element of Turkmen design, either the form or a technique or style of decoration particular to Turkmen jewellery. To focus on one part of a larger traditional design and to use that in their piece. To change the form of the design - a traditional pendant design into a ring or to use a contemporary form but use Turkmen style decoration, detail or piercing in an unexpected way or in an unexpected place. This workshop followed on from them making a traditional Turkmen style ring with the Turkmen Ustad earlier in the week.
I had intended it to be a design exercise but the students were very keen to make so Ustad Javed (who teaches modern jewellery making) and I adapted it to a technical exercise of making a Turkmen ring, inspired by a traditional Turkmen pendant design.
They were reluctant to get started coming up with their own individual versions but I carried out the exercise along with them and they soon got going and came up with some really interesting templates for the rings. All coming up with really different designs in the end which was great.
Following on from this exercise one of the students has completely taken the concept and run with it. He has designed a series of gem-set earrings using variations of the same forms, fantastic!