In the latest of our explorations into creative career paths we talk to jeweller Jane Sedgwick, who joined Design-Nation in 2018 and is part of Hatch’19 at the National Centre for Craft & Design until Sunday 22 September.
Design-Nation: Where did you study and what course did you do?
Jane Sedwick: I found the Foundation Studies course at Jacob Kramer College of Art in Leeds to be absolutely mind blowing… in the best possible way! At times, I was very confused – so much new information – but I was very enthusiastic, worked hard and just went with it. There was a very intensive core of visual studies: encouraging different approaches to drawing, mark making and colour theory. I then studied BDes (Hons) Metalwork and Jewellery, at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee and later I gained an MA in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery at the Royal College of Art, London.
DN: Are you still working in the discipline and materials that you studied?
JS: I have returned to jewellery after several years teaching on a very broad based crafts course with a focus on sustainability. Wood is still a fairly new material to me. At first when I moved to Norfolk I taught briefly at Norwich University of the Arts, then focused on my interest in gardening and worked as a jobbing gardener and worked in retail again for a few years to gain an income. Ten years ago my partner and I started to manage a small woodland in Norfolk, and I decided I had to use our sustainable materials and learn new skills for making in wood such as turning and carving.
DN: If you didn’t work in the discipline or material that you work in, what other discipline or material would you like to work in?
JS: I have always liked paper, textiles and clothing – colour, textures. I particularly like the blurred edges in between jewellery and clothing, and anything body-related such as dance and costume.
DN: How did your time at art school or university shape you as a person?
JS: Ultimately, my time at art school gave me confidence to be different, but also suddenly I felt like I belonged; the other students were a bit bonkers – like me! I grew up in a small mining village in West Yorkshire. None of my family, friends or neighbours had been to university, never mind studying in Art and Design. I am so grateful to my Art teachers at School for encouraging me to study art and design at a higher level.
DN: What is your strongest memory from your time at art school?
JS: Study visits to Paris whilst at DJCA, and Vienna and Barcelona whilst at the RCA.
DN: How do you think creative education has changed since you were a student? Are you optimistic about creative education in the UK, or do you have concerns about the future for those wanting to study arts subjects?
JS: I think there is now much more preparation for life after graduation, with a much more robust approach to careers advice and work experience. Also there is a more personalised focus on final-year work, to help ease the transition into working life. I think it is changing all the time and it can differ widely depending on the subject and the institution. Potential art students now seem to have much more information and guidance about what a course will provide and how this might be translated into career opportunities.
DN: Knowing what you know now, what 3 pieces of advice would you give to your student self?
JS: Trust your intuition, believe in yourself, play hard – but work harder!