Apprenticeships in the Making
Paper Converse trainer
Made during the apprenticeships with Jennifer Collier. (click ''view media file' below, click the 4 arrows for full screen)
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An action research project
You can see work from this project in the Made in the Middle exhibition.
Click on the link above to view the film.
The first two images in the gallery also have media files of our films from the original project and one year on. Click on 'view media file'.
Apprenticeships in the Making was an action research project which took place in the run up to the current Made in the Middle exhibition.
The project worked with young people who are not in education, employment or training, to discover and challenge their preconceptions of craft and to introduce them to potential pathways within the sector.
Through a series of taster sessions the participants experienced the skills of three makers from the exhibition, before progressing onto a week long residency.
An aim of the project was to provoke the makers to contemplate the implications of taking on an apprentice long term and to consider what support, as sole traders they would need to make this a viable proposition.
Silversmith Kevin Grey’s taster at BCU’s School of Jewellery guided the participants through the principles of metal working. They were challenged to make a bowl and ring. They learned that by heating the metal (annealing) it became soft enough to work. By hammering the metal (planishing & raising) they discovered that it moved and shaped with relative ease.
Amy Twigger Holroyd introduced the participants to hand and machine knitting before showing them her new technique of stitch-hacking. This entailed creating a ladder through the rows of knitting, then using a crotchet hook to re-stitch the ladder into an alternative pattern.
Jennifer Collier’s session involved the participants creating surface patterns using recycled materials, focusing on bonding, waxing and trapping to produce unique paper fabrics.
The residencies were selected through observations, recording the opinions of each participant, and asking the makers who had shown the most affinity with their craft.
Chris and Mark joined Amy Twigger Holroyd at her studio in Herefordshire. The apprentices learned many machine knitting skills including casting on and casting off, basic stocking stitch and more complicated patterns using punch cards. They used a linking machine, learning how to identify garments that have been constructed using this method and why this is the signature of a quality product.
Tom and Vicky travelled to Stafford for their residency with Jennifer Collier. They used templates to create 3D paper shoes and sandals, once mastered they set about manipulating the patterns to create their own designs including a Doc Martin boot and Converse trainer.
Finally, we wanted to highlight the commissioning process, illustrating how it enables the customer to buy a piece of work which is truly personal.
Jennifer took time to talk with Vicky and Tom, discovering their interests. She requested they bring in objects and pictures that have personal meaning. From these articles she made collages which formed the fabric used to create the objects chosen by each young person.
Craftspace work in a reflective manner and it became apparent while working with Chris that he had a growing passion for knitting. On discovering he was actively searching for his own knitting machine, we agreed for Amy to source and recondition a machine, enabling Chris to further develop his newly acquired skills.
“I’ve seen the patterns on brass stuff before, but I had never realised they were actually the marks from its making.” Vicky
“I hadn’t really considered what a craftsperson did before, but working with Amy has made me realise the skill involved in knitting.” Mark
“My Granddad used to knit, he taught my Dad too. Amy has inspired me; even my Dad has started to knit again.” Chris
“Jennifer’s taster session was the most free and creative. The others were more about learning a fixed technique, you either did it right or you did it wrong.” Vicky
Jennifer Collier www.jennifercollier.co.uk
Amy Twigger Holroyd www.keepandshare.co.uk
Kevin Grey www.kevingrey.co.uk
Developing people, ideas and opportunities through contemporary craft.