Laura Potter is a jeweller, even when she is not making jewellery. For her this describes an approach to the world, and to making objects, rather than a strict set of skills employed in the production of wearable things. Her aim has always been to reflect everyday habits and common beliefs, whilst at the same time challenging abiding perceptions of jewellery's status as a Decorative Art.
She works with ideas first and foremost, developing material outcomes in response to theories, conversations and situations. She utilises a mixture of materials and processes and if necessary she will learn a new technique to produce just one object. Her approach to research is from an outside perspective very systematic, where reading, drawing, note-taking, material testing and making are conducted in an incredibly fastidious manner. There is an analytical and reflective process inherent within all that she does resulting in key artefacts which examine the emotional significance of individual objects and possessions.
My Life in a sock drawer was an AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) funded project undertaken in 2007. It was born out of a previous collaborative project that Laura had undertaken with jewellery colleague Lin Cheung entitled ‘Treasure’. Working from the premise that personal possessions are integral to the way an individual constructs an identity; composing and communicating who we are through the things we own, My life in a sock drawer focused on jewellery that was considered to have little financial or aesthetic worth, was never worn but had been identified as a treasured item.
Primary data collected during interviews with a group of women, combined with references drawn from the social sciences on material possession attachment guided the creative research process. By tracing the relationship between unworn jewellery, individual identity and the means by which women use jewellery to access and evidence their life experiences resulted in a series of objects which propose alternatives to conventional storage boxes to house these treasured possessions.
Laura Potter is a Senior Lecturer in Design at Goldsmiths, University of London. She also tutors in the Department of Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery at the Royal College of Art, from where she graduated in 1997 with a Masters degree. Her work is about jewellery, and sometimes it is wearable. She works with ideas first and foremost, developing material outcomes in response to theories, conversations and situations. Her work utilises a mixture of materials and processes; if necessary she will learn a new technique to produce just one object. Her practice is focused towards exhibitions, commissions and research projects, and recently has included more collaborative ventures (Pas de deux 2011; DWFE 2009 ongoing). After initially struggling to define her territory as a practitioner, she finally decided to call herself a jeweller and she stands by that decision. She doesn’t mind what other people call her.
The Modern Jewel, mima, Middlesbrough 2011; Jerwood Contemporary Makers, Jerwood Space, London (Touring) 2010; Nowhere Now Here, LABoral Centro de Arte, Spain 2008; Then and Now, Barrett Marsden Gallery, London 2007; Alchemy, Middle East (British Council Touring Exhibition) 2007; Ceremony, The Pumphouse Gallery, London (2005); New Work, Galerie Marzee, Netherlands 2005; Treasure, The Pearoom Centre, Lincolnshire (collaboration with Lin Cheung) 2003.
DWFE, experimental design syndicate (collaboration with Jimmy Loizeau and Matt Ward 2009 ongoing); Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, mixed media artworks (research-based commission) 2007; My Life in a Sock Drawer, unworn jewellery and the construction and preservation of the self (AHRC funded 2007); This is me, exploring concepts of ‘self’ (action research for Craftspace) 2004; LJP IUD, perceptions of intrauterine devices (research-based placement) 2000.
Selected work in public collections : mima (Pas de deux collaboration with Lin Cheung 2011); Galerie Marzee (2005); Cleveland Craft Centre (2002); National Museums of Scotland (2001); Crafts Council (1998); The British Council (1998).