Meet the Maker
For our August update of ‘Meet the Maker’ we would like to introduce to you, Laura Johnson. Having graduated from Manchester School of Art last year she has continued to live and work in Manchester where the surrounding urban streets provide her with bursts of inspiration.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
I am inspired by the forgotten urban areas of Manchester, the alleys and in-between places of the city where you can find left behind objects and hints of history. In particular I study some of the old mills of Manchester that are in the process of being demolished or on hold and to be re-furbished into new buildings. I collect found objects from the areas and re-invest them into contemporary jewellery, preserving a part of the past while creating wearbles that have an industrial feel.
What drew you into making Jewellery and pursuing a career in the craft?
After my Foundation Art Diploma I discovered that I really wanted to go into 3D art/design. So during my first year on the Three Dimensional Design Course at MMU I found my love for jewellery design/making. I really liked the idea of a 3D piece of art that you get to carry around with you and wear on your body, and felt it meant much more than paint on paper. Experimenting over the next few years at university stretched my imagination and tested my making skills, I like the challenge of jewellery.
When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I had a lot of ideas when I was younger! I wanted to be all sorts, from a hypnotist to a zoo keeper, but in a way I always knew I was going to go into art, I always enjoyed drawing from an early age.
What is it about having your own jewellery business/independently making jewellery that you enjoy the most?
I love the freedom that comes with designing and organising your own time, and seeing happy customers is such a pleasure. I don’t have a complete business as of yet but It’s something I’m working on!
What hasn’t gone as you expected in your career?
Finding time for everything and balancing work and making is quite a challenge.
What are your key inspirations in your practice?
I love the urban architecture: the grates, doorways, shutters and details we fail to see in our surroundings until we remember to look. The bright colours of flaking paint on buildings and graffiti are my colour inspirations.
What is your favourite tool in your toolbox?
My masking tape, it keeps everything neat and tidy while I am working on a piece.
Finally, could you choose one of your favourite items/designers from MJN and tell us why?
I’ve always been a fan of Francesca Lobb’s jewellery. It is a total contrast to mine as it is delicate, vintage and really precise. Her wire work is amazing and I love the collaborative commission she made as part of a rucksack, where she challenged her style by scaling up her work.