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Friday, 25 March 2011

Dissertation proposal part 2

Dissertation Proposal Part 2

Student Name Karen Smith
Course Jewellery & Metal Design
Supervisor name Bridgid Collins
Email address
Date (update as you go)

Using the template
Enter your personal details in the box above. The email address will be used by your tutor and others to contact you. You must check this regularly for news on tutorial dates.
Read each heading carefully and type into the text box below.
Email your proposal to your supervisor and load it up on Safe Assignment of the VLE
Total final word count for Part 3: between 2000-2500 words (excluding bibliography).
Title (max 50 words)
This should give an outline of your research topic. If appropriate use a title and a subtitle. You need to get specific and refine the title to capture your research as best as possible.

Narrative jewellery: The art of telling untold stories
Jewellery which allows personal interaction by the wearer through interpreting a possible story, captured moment or emotion.

Summary (Stage 2 = max 1000 words, Stage 3 = 1500)
Here you should indicate what you already know about the topic. You should already have done some reading around it. Summarise this reading with regards to the research topic and describe the research area. This will provide the basis for a literature review.

Narrative jewellery is still a relatively new genre however it is growing in popularity. This is probably due to the interaction/ relationship between the wearer and piece as it has much more meaning than just a piece of jewellery made for decorative effect. It normally tells a story or captures an emotion thus having much more of a personal meaning altogether. However it is not always clear what the true underlying story is and in some ways it is almost like displaying a secret/ something personal about yourself without actually disclosing it.
It is also somewhat strange that narrative jewellery isn’t more widely recognised. As Mieke Bal’s book Looking in: The art of viewing, which is a book of case studies of how we as human beings perceive and react to things, illustrates how visual images shape the world we live in, how we communicate with one and other and ultimately how this defines the person we are or have become.
So why then is it that narrative jewellery, being so visual, is only now starting to gain popularity, when it is clear that visuals are such a very important part of everyday life?

In Jack Cunningham’s PHD Dissertation he looks at the relationship between the maker, the person who wears it and the person or persons who observe it.
He pays close attention to European contemporary narrative jewellery and whether society and culture play a big part in the way narrative jewellery is perceived and defined.

Jack also brought out a book to accompany his PHD research (Cunningham J (2005) Maker, Wearer, Viewer: Contemporary European Jewellery) and in this book Professor Elizabeth Moignard from the university of Glasgow comments on one of Jack’s brooches which she purchased from an exhibition entitled ‘Brooching the subject’.

The brooch is entitled Memory Kit and for her it did indeed provoke memories. Each part of the brooch has a significant meaning to Professor Moignard. When wearing the brooch she found it to be very much a conversational piece with other people almost playing a game trying to piece together the story behind the brooch. She herself found it fascinating to experience the different interpretations that various people had. This made her realise just how subjective perception really is.

Cunningham, J. 2003. Memory kit (photograph) ( maker-wearer-viewer)

Perception is a very important factor in narrative jewellery. Do people who wear the item of jewellery actually understand what the maker was trying to achieve by making the piece or do they have another take on the story behind it? Perhaps their own story? After all the piece must have struck a chord with them in the first place for them to buy it. Or maybe the piece holds no significance to them at all and was only purchased as something pretty which caught their eye.

From a jeweller point of view it would be interesting to see where the story goes after the piece is made and sold. Most of the time the person that makes the piece has no idea why the person purchased it or the new story or meaning that is now attached to it through the new owner/ wearer.

Some people can become very attached to these objects almost giving the piece a life of its own. It might remind them of someone, a place or simply a moment in time. Whatever the story behind the piece it would be interesting to link the two stories i.e. the one from the maker and the other from the owner/ wearer and see how they differ, or perhaps not as the case may be.

Everyone’s take on things differs from one person to the next and in Kathyrn Schulz book Being wrong she looks at how we as human beings observe and react to things. In other words are things really as we see them? Is there a right or wrong way when it comes to observing? Through examples in history and the use of quizzes Schulz illustrates that perception is not always as straight forward as it seems.

Aims: Why are you doing this? (max 100 words)
These are a general statement on the intent or direction for the research – why are you doing this? Refer to theoretical aims and practical ones where relevant. For example: How might this improve your design practice? How does it contribute to the discourses within your discipline? Who else might benefit from your research? Is it aimed at an academic or a wider audience? What do you hope your research will achieve? State your aims concisely, perhaps using bullet points.

As I plan on making narrative jewellery for my degree show I would like to link it with my dissertation as this would be helpful during the design process. It would allow me to explore avenues that I might not have otherwise contemplated. Also it would give me the chance to research automata in more depth as this lends itself to narrative jewellery due to the personal interaction.
My research would be aimed at a wider audience, i.e anyone with a keen interest in narrative jewellery. I also hope to gain a greater understanding of this jewellery genre, its possibilities and how people perceive and interpret the images they see. This would allow me to gauge if the message I am trying to get across through my work is actually being noticed or not.

Objectives: What will you produce? (max 100 words)
Objectives are the things you will produce in doing the dissertation, e.g. a review of the relevant literature, a collection and discussion of people’s experiences/opinions, an assessment of a debate or collection of work etc.
Like your aims, these will help your tutor (and you) assess your success. They may change over time but aims and objectives are useful to keep you focussed. Again be concise here – you may want to use bullet points.

Below are two examples of my own narrative jewellery work. I will show these pieces to various people. Asking them what they think they see, what they think the story behind the piece is and what they think it means to them, if anything. I will then repeat this process with the same people. But the 2nd time around I will give the piece a name and see whether or not this changes the meaning behind the piece for the person observing it.
This would allow me to pay close attention to how different people perceive things and whether there are any similarities.
I’d also like to interview several narrative jewellers to get their views on the subject and what they are trying to achieve through their own work. In particularly I would like to contact Jack Cunningham as he is not only one of the most well known narrative jewellers but has also conducted his own research on the subject.

As I would like to include automata I would also try and interview possibly a kinetic sculptor.

Keywords (min 5 and max 10)
This should be a list of key terms that help us see if you are aware of where your research ‘sits’. For example, if you are writing on depictions of women in advertising your list might include ‘gender, feminism, representation, advertising, semiotics’. Keywords will help you when doing electronic searched for research materials.

Narrative, Story, Emotion, Movement, Perception, Cognitive, Reaction, Memory, Thoughts

Expanded Bibliography (min of 24 books, articles, websites)
Place here alphabetically a list of materials which you intent to use for you dissertation. Format these according to the Harvard Method.
Please make sure you have critically assessed these as being appropriate for your topic and write a short paragraph for each one summarising the content and its relevance to your research area.

Arnold, Z. Zoe Arnold Jewellery & Artefact (online) Available at (Accessed November 2010)
Zoe is a narrative jeweller who also makes automata. I am currently researching her for a project and have already interviewed her about her work and what she is trying to achieve.

Astfalck, J, Broadhead, C, Derrez, P (2005) New Directions in Jewellery. London: Black Dog Publishing Ltd
This book has a whole section on Narrative jewellers

Barton, R. Metalsmithing jewellery design (online) Available at
(Accessed 2011)
Another narrative jeweller

Bal, M (2001) Looking in: The art of viewing. London : Routledge
Collection of essays exploring the way people perceive things.

Bernays, E, L (1929) Propaganda.New York : Horace Liveright
This book discusses manipulation by propaganda. How we can be influenced by things that we see and hear.
This would possibly be a good book to look at with regards of how people are influenced.

Betman, K,F Haveman,J (2008) Herinnerring Remember. Holland: Stichting Raad van Tien
Book based on narrative jewellery which captures a memory from the jeweller who made the item

Brown, B Berkeley Brown Jewellery Design (online) Available at (accessed February 2011)
Narrative jeweller who uses movement in her pieces

Cheung, L (2006) New Directions in Jewellery 2. London: Black Dog Publishing Ltd
This book has profiles and examples of narrative jewellers and their work. Also some examples of kinetic pieces.
This would be useful to look at other narrative jewellers work. What materials they use and where they draw their influences from etc.

Codrescu A, Herman Lloyd E, (2001) Thomas Mann Metal Artist. Wisconsin: GUILD Publishing
Biography about Thomas Mann one of America’s most famous narrative jewellers. Makes jewellery and sculptural objects. Discusses how Mann started in jewellery and how his fascination with particularly narrative jewellery evolved over the years. This book has some particularly good examples of narrative jewellery and explains the meaning behind many of the designs.

Cunningham J (2007) Practice based PHD Dissertation – Contemporary Narrative Jewellery.
(online) Available at (Accessed November 2010)
Jack pays close attention to European Contemporary Narrative jewellery and the relationship between the maker, wearer and viewer. This is useful as Jack is a world renowned narrative jeweller. This PHD dissertation is rich with information and research on this topic

Cunningham J (2005) Maker, Wearer, Viewer: Contemporary European Jewellery/Introduction by Jack Cunningham. Glasgow. Glasgow School of Art
Book showing the exhibition Jack Cunningham used to research his PHD on European Contemporary Narrative Jewellery

den Besten, L . Reading jewellery. Comments on narrative jewellery (online) Available at ( accessed February 2011)
Good article on narrative jewellery. Also refers to Jack Cunningham’s PHD research

Facere Jewellery Art (online) Available at
(Accessed February 2011)
Online art gallery which has a wide selection of narrative jewellers’ work.

Gosling, S (May 2009) Snoop: What your stuff says about you. London: Profile Books
This book is all about interpreting a person from the belongings they have or things they choose. This could be helpful again with the perception theme. Especially with narrative jewellery i.e Why did a certain person pick a certain piece to wear?

Gould, N Kinetic sculptor (online) Available at
(Accessed February 2011)
Kinetic Sculptor

Groome,D (August 2006) An Introduction to Cognitive Psychology. Psychology Press
This book looks at all aspects of cognition, including perception, attention, long-term memory, working memory, thinking and language.
This would be helpful as I am interested in looking at how people perceive things

Herman, D. (2009) Basic Elements of Narrative. Wiley:Wiley-Blackwell
Looks at what narrative is and it’s key areas.
This could be a good book to look deeper into the concept of narrative.

Jensen, T Strandbeest. (online) Available at (Accessed November 2010)
Kinetic Sculpture who makes wind propelled walking creatures.
Crosses the boundaries between art and engineering. This could be interesting to look into as I am interested in incorporating movement into my work.

Metcalf, B Studio jeweller & writer (online) Available at
(Accessed February 2011)
Famous American Narrative jeweller.

Morton, G contemporary jewellery incorporating vintage found objects (online) Available at (accessed February 2011)
Another narrative jeweller. Grainne uses found objects in her work to create stories.

Newstead, K Automata (online) Available at (accessed February 2011)
Good source for automata

Schulz, K, (2010) Being Wrong. Adventures in the margin of error. London: Portobello Books Ltd
Through this book Kathyrn Schulz explores what it is to be wrong and to make mistakes. She also looks at the way we perceive things and whether what we see is actually right. This is useful as I would like to look further into how people perceive and react to things.

Sharmanka kinetic theatre (online) Available at
(Accessed March 2011)
Theatre and exhibition of kinetic sculptures made by Eduard Bersudsky.
I plan on checking this out and hopefully interviewing him about his kinetic sculptures

Ted Blog (2007)Theo Jansen creates new creatures (online) Available at ( Accessed November 2010)
Interesting film about Theo Jansen and his beech creatures. Explains how they work.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Our next assignment for design studies is to come up with a business proposal that provides a product or service that will appeal to a Post consumer. Pretty daunting if you ask me considering that I don't really know much about post consumerism so this should be interesting.

Before coming up with an idea the first step was obviously to come up with a profile of a post consumer i.e what age they are, income, what products or services might they use?

So my group did a bit of brain storming coming up with key points and also individually sourcing several different images that we thought represented post consumerism. We then collated this information in the form of a poster.

This week we all met up and had yet another brainstorming session. We first spoke about the different sustainable companies and products we'd came across and then discussed what ideas we all had for a business. I think we all found it quite difficult coming up with an idea as this is a subject area that many of us are not too familiar with. However we did have a few ideas but the one we decided on was to do with sponsoring an animal. In this case it would be a farm animal i.e a chicken or cow. In return for sponsoring this animal you would get fresh eggs and/or milk.
This is obviously still in the planning stages and for the time being we have all taken on a different roll in researching this. My roll is to look into the ins and outs of how sponsoring works. So next week hopefully when we meet again we'll be able to see whether this idea has a chance of working or not. Otherwise it's back to the drawing board :/

Monday, 24 January 2011

Semester 2 Design Studies

So semester 2 of my 3rd year at Art School has begun and we're already getting stuck into our assignments. Found it a little bit daunting at my first lecture last Wednesday when our lecturer was outlining all the stuff we have to get through this semester, yikes! And that's not including our studio practice:/ I have a lot of hard work ahead of me!!

So my seminar group met for our first assignment of semester 2. We all had to first take a test to determine what kind of personality we have. We then had to hazard a guess as to what the other people in our group might be. I say hazard a guess cause tbh we don't really know much about each other.

Anyway the different personality types are as follows:


Turns out I am a reflector. Which in a nutshell means that I am more of a listener and a thinker. I do agree with this to a certain extent as I do think things through carefully but I wouldn't say that I am scared to take on challenges or being put in charge. However I also scored high as a activist, which is kinda the opposite to a reflector, and also high as a Theorist, which is again observing and taking things one step at a time.

So I don't know whether that means I'm pretty much balanced. Haha! I'm sure there are a few people out there that would disagree with that statement.

As for the rest of my group it turns out that the majority of them are activists. Which makes us a very unbalanced group I guess.

Catherine was an Activist
Caroline a Reflector but also an Activist
Debbie an Activist
Max a Pragmatist
Kyle an Activist
Grace an Activist
Louise an Activist/ moderate Pragmatist

I only managed to guess about two of them right. I must admit I was a bit surprised at some peoples results as I'd never have put them down as what they came out as. But like I said it just goes to show that we don't really know each other. Something we really need to work at I think.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Boken Pieces Brooch

Here are some pictures of the brooch I made for my latest project. This was a project where we had to research a jeweller, in my case it was Zoe Arnold. Zoe makes almost wearable mini sculpture with a surreal twist. She also makes automata. We had to then make a piece of jewellery inspired by the jeweller we researched without copying them.

Zoe writes poetry which she gets inspiration from for the pieces she makes. So I took this idea and tried my hand at a bit of poetry and then based this brooch on the poem I wrote. I also incorporated moving parts into this brooch seeing as Zoe also makes automata.

Monday, 29 November 2010

2nd summary

So here it is finally! My 2nd 500word summary for my dissertation proposal.

Summary of the book Being wrong by Kathryn Schulz

In her book ‘Being Wrong’ Kathyrn Schulz examines how we as human beings in our everyday lives perceive and react to things. She poses the question what if everything you thought about being wrong is wrong? Taking this different approach looking closely at human error and how being wrong is part of everyday life. Using a combination of philosophy, history and neurology to illustrate this. She explores attitudes towards making a mistake and why when confronted with being wrong we nearly always insist we are right. Giving you a very different perspective on what it means or should mean to being in the wrong.
Schulz looks at many different aspects of being wrong that are often not realised. Also why as human beings human error is inevitable and is fundamental to our development. She examines not only the attitudes of today’s society but also throughout history on why making a mistake is so frowned upon and in most people’s eyes makes you a lesser person.
She examines the notion of how what we see is not always right. Instead almost an optical illusion. Tricking the brain into seeing something else. Schulz makes reference to examples in history to illustrate this. One in particular is that of the Scottish explorer John Ross who whilst sailing through Arctic waters he saw a mountain range. His fellow explorers following behind him in a separate boat did not see these mountains at all. When they went back a second time his fellow explorers did indeed see the mountain range Ross spoke about and sailed straight through it. In other words the mountains were in fact a mirage and not actually there. Another example is through the quizzes she uses. Asking you a question about what you see in the following pictures or diagrams. Then offering three different possible answers. These quizzes appear at first glance pretty easy and straightforward, almost childlike. However when you get to the end and see your answers, which are all wrong, you realise things really are not what they seem.
Throughout this book Schulz uses a wide variety of primary and secondary sources such as interviews, both formal and informal, radio broadcasts, news items, websites, journal articles, conversations and books
This is an intriguing book which offers a fascinating insight into the meaning of being wrong. Schulz offers you a different take on how and what it means to make a mistake. Making you wonder if being wrong is really being wrong? And why should we have such negative attitudes towards it. She concludes that instead of seeing this as a negative thing we should really see it in an optimistic way. Giving examples of how her neighbour insists that he’s smoked his last cigarette and how a friend of hers during a four week holiday decided to read one of the longest and hardest works of literature ever written.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Dissertation Ideas

So it's hard to believe but we are already having to come up with ideas of what we might base our dissertations on. I've been really struggling with this over the last couple of weeks. Mainly because I really want to make sure that I base it on something I am interested in and also I wanted to link it into my studio practice.

After doing a narrative jewellery project recently, which I based on perception, I thought that it might be a good thing to look into perception further. In other words how people perceive and react to things. After all no two people are the same.

Finally I had a starting point!

Off I went to the library to find some books on Ethnography and Anthropology. The books I did find at first glance seemed to be what I was looking for but once I started reading them I found them a bit too clinical which kinda lead me back to square one. So once again I was racking my brains for ideas and I kept coming back to the same thing. I like making narrative jewellery and the books that I had borrowed from the library kept going on about the narrative of life which lead me to think that I should run with the narrative jewellery theme for my dissertation. Something along the lines of Narrative, the jewellery interpretation. This would allow me to Look into the difference between jewellery which is either purely decorative, or functional or both. And jewellery which allows personal interaction by the wearer through interpreting a possible story, captured moment or emotion. Also this form of jewellery can very much be observed as purely a piece of art with a life of its own.

We had to find two key texts relating to our dissertation topic and write a short 500word summary for both.I've been trying to find books,journals etc on this subject. So far I have found quite a lot of information online but not so much in the way of books. However I will keep looking. So I am a little behind but it's not for the want of trying. Plus I'm still recovering from glandular fever which is not helping me one bit:(

I did come across Jack Cunningham's PHD Dissertation online which is based on Narrative jewellery. I found it quite interesting so I have written a summary on that. I also have found a book by Kathryn Schulz called Being Wrong. Which is all about how people perceive things. However I only got this book yesterday so I haven't started reading it yet let alone writing a 500word summary on it but hopefully I will get this done soon.

I've also recently discovered the world of Automata and kinetic sculptures due to a research project I am currently doing. I'd like to incorporate this also somehow into my dissertation but am not sure how to as yet. Will have to talk to my dissertation supervisor about this on Tuesday.

Anyway enough of my ramblings. Below is a copy of the summary I wrote on Jack Cunningham's PHD dissertation.

Summary of Jack Cuningham’s PHD Dissertation on Contemporary Narrative Jewellery

Through his PHD dissertation Jack Cunningham discusses the genre of Contemporary European Narrative Jewellery. How it is perceived, defined and ultimately worn. Looking carefully at the relationship between the maker, the person who wears it and the person or persons who observe it.

The key question raised in this PHD dissertation is how Contemporary European Narrative Jewellery is perceived and defined. Whether society and culture play a big part in this, if there are any recurring themes that stand out and how the different creative processes interact with each other

The most important information in this article is that Jack looks at a large variety of jewellers who specialise in Narrative jewellery making, paying close attention to their practise and what they are trying to achieve through their work. He also looks at where the first beginnings of narrative jewellery appeared and how it has evolved over the years through certain art movements such as Dada and Surrealism. He then goes on to discuss how jewellery, especially narrative with its symbolism, can be or is a statement to the world about personality or individuality. Jack also looks at the design processes from beginning to end examining their relationship and differences.

The key secondary resources used are various quotes from narrative jewellers, artists and gallery owners, cultural theorists and critics to back up his views and arguments. Most jewellers mentioned in this dissertation are supported by photographs of their work.

The key primary resources used in this dissertation is the setting up and curating of an exhibition called ‘Maker, Wearer, Viewer’, the largest European Narrative jewellery exhibition ever mounted, with addition of a symposium. European narrative jewellers were invited to exhibit their work and took part in a discussion and peer review. The purpose of this exhibition was to see if there were any similar underlying themes to European narrative jewellery and also to judge people’s reactions. In other words was what the initial idea the maker was trying to get across still relevant to the person wearing/ viewing it? Or had the meaning/ interpretation changed completely?

Jack also reflects on his own personal perspective of the design process from sketches and environment to finished piece and exhibiting.

The main conclusions that Jack comes to at the end of his research is that there were more questions raised than answered. Which in itself would lead Jack into another area of research on Narrative jewellery? Stating that there was no satisfactory way of defining this form of jewellery. However his research did indicate that social and cultural factors did indeed influence the creative process and that there is indeed a relationship between Maker, Wearer, Viewer whether this is realised or not.

The key concept/ concepts we need to understand in this article are firstly and foremost Narrative jewellery is hard to define. There is obviously more to this type of jewellery than meets the eye and there is a definite relationship between the maker, the person who wears the piece and the observer.

I found Jack’s PHD Dissertation to be very informative opening my eyes more to the world of narrative jewellery and its possibilities