DIANA PORTER

 

 ‘I wanted to be an actor. I trained as a teacher, had two children, was a single parent , did lots of amateur acting, found feminism, worked for twenty odd years as an arts administrator during which time I did fascinating jobs such as running theatre companies both in London & in Bristol, setting up a small scale theatre and community arts centre in Bristol, running Birmingham Women’s Festival. I campaigned for more money for the arts, for equality of opportunities for women, disabled people and ethnic minorities; I demonstrated against nuclear armaments. I got grants for people from the Arts Council of Great Britain, Local Authorities and Regional Arts Boards. I did budgets, wrote reports, filled out a thousand forms. 

And then in 1990 I went to the University of Central England to do a 3 year full time degree course in Jewellery and Silversmithing. 

I loved the way that working with metal centred and concentrated my mind; I learnt about design and form and my teachers pushed me to develop my design ideas which I now thank them for; I loved the History of Art part of the course and became passionate about investigating the history of the involvement of women in the arts and crafts. This was 3 years to take stock and to create – it was a gift and my jewellery is an outcome of that. 

On leaving college in 1993, I immediately started my own business making jewellery in my front room. In 1999 I was awarded UK Jewellery Designer of the Year! ‘

I still cannot believe how lucky I have been. The collections are in galleries and shops in several countries and I have the shop of my dreams with workshops behind it in Bristol – one for the 5 jewellers who hand finish my work and another for me – a room of my own to create and play in!

My current concerns centre around investigating the sources of the materials we use, trying to find ‘ethically’ produced metals and taking care of the environment. 

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