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BA (Hons) Design Crafts (Jewellery)
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.
This course includes the sandwich year options of:
*No fees are charged for this year
Why choose this course?
- Contemporary Design Crafts Jewellery degree encourages fresh ideas, inventive use of materials and techniques, and awareness of contemporary markets.
- You establish and refine your interests in the field of jewellery to reach the high level of skills demanded by the professional marketplace.
- Placements develop a versatile understanding of the workplace, establishing our graduates as contemporaries in a competitive professional market.
What's the course about?
This degree involves a practical workshop programme, establishing and refining your understanding of the tactile qualities and properties of materials and how they can be manipulated to express your ideas. In the First Year you’ll learn contemporary approaches to designing and making across a range of 2D and 3D media. Then, in the Second Year, you’ll focus your interests in order to reach the high level of refinement necessary for the professional marketplace. Our students produce a richly diverse range of artefacts, such as accessories, experimental and fine jewellery, and conceptual pieces for exhibition or commission.
What will I study?
The course combines studio projects and practical workshop based sessions, where ideas and making are integrated. Students have a base studio, where design development, group tutorials, crits and presentations take place. The Critical and Cultural Studies modules combine lectures, workshops, seminars, and tutorials, and encourage a high level of debate and interaction. Students are encouraged to see their learning as an interactive experience, in which they play an active part, so that they emerge as resourceful and independent professionals, committed to pursuing their ambitions beyond graduation. The degree is staffed by practicing professionals, and Visiting Lecturers who regularly contribute specialist expertise.
The Contemporary Design Crafts Jewellery degree at the University of Hertfordshire explores in the First Year contemporary approaches to designing and making across a range of two and three-dimensional media in the fields of textiles, jewellery and ceramics and glass. In the Second Year students choose to focus their interests within the jewellery medium and approach, enabling them to reach the high level of refinement necessary for the professional marketplace. We are offering a balance between focused specialist study and experimental mixed media approaches.
This results in the production of a richly diverse range of artifacts - such as experimental and fine jewellery, accessories, objects and conceptual pieces for exhibition or commission. The emphasis is on questioning function and tradition to arrive at fresh, lively alternatives for a sophisticated market.
The workshops are the focus of the student experience our students are using the latest digital textiles printing, laser cutting and rapid prototyping equipment as well as the traditional equipped workshop to develop their practice.
With a variety of live projects and competition projects the course provides you with a confident start to your professional career; you will evolve from learning basic skills in your pathway through to a position where you are an independent creative thinker capable of making an effective contribution in the sector as a designer maker.
'Visiting an open day really was the deciding factor to choose this course. They had examples of current students work on show which was great to see what I could be making!'
Itziar - My Week at a Glance
My Week at a Glance
Most of our week hours are spent in the workshops. In our first year we have to do all four specialisms: jewellery, ceramics/glass and textiles. We also study Design Theory, which is the only subject that is taught every week. The practical subject workshops are run fortnightly, and they last the whole day, with taught time in the morning and tutorials/independent work time in the afternoon. So we have two week-plans: one week you may be doing textiles and ceramics, and the following one you will be learning jewellery skills and will have a group tutorial with the course leader.
The workshops are totally practical, and normally technical details are given as hand-outs by the lecturers. After the initial teaching (showing how to do), you practise the new technique, with the support of the tutor.
Once you have the knowledge and have done the necessary inductions in any extra machinery (normally taught by the technicians of each department), you can access the workshops and work independently any time in your free days. Some workshops require that you book your space in advance.
From the second year you choose one specialist subject and continue to do Design Theory. You are also engaged in seminars, which help 3rd year students present their projects to 2nd and 3rd year students. It is a very good experience to get used to talking about your work to others and get some useful feedback.
Besides attending course lectures or researching and preparing our projects and sketchbooks, there is plenty of time to get involved in the large number of extra curricular activities on offer, such as sports and clubs. Some people may have a part-time job, and there are also some opportunities to get paid to do work at university as proctors or ambassadors. Proctoring has been part of my weekly schedule, whilst as an ambassador I have worked at open days and interview days, which happen a few times a year.
All in all, the weeks consist on learning and practising through making. In other words, having fun! When assessment dates approach there is a bit more pressure, but in general I would say that if you keep a good weekly work management, there is plenty of time to enjoy your favourite sport, relax or simply have fun with your friends!
I personally keep the weekends for other activities: two or three weekends a month I volunteer at a charity and coach hockey to young players with learning difficulties. They give me the energy to start a new uni week!
Itziar - Guide to the Facilities
Guide to the Facilities
As a student of Design Crafts, during your first year you will be introduced to the main tools and machinery required to follow the jewellery, ceramic/glass and textile workshops. When you go to the jewellery workshop you can borrow one of the toolboxes with the basic jeweller’s tools: pliers, files, punches… In the jewellery space you will also find a rolling mill, a fly press, a soldering area, enamelling kilns, polishing station, and all the other bits that a jeweller needs to form and finish their pieces. In textiles you will be using sewing machines, dyes, and you will have access to the digital printer, the digital embroidery machines, felting machines, screen printing facilities… In ceramics you will be introduced to hand building techniques and you will also be taught to use the pottery wheels. There are a number of kilns, struders, glazes, oxides, and everything you can imagine to create ceramic pieces. The basic tools (knifes, kidneys…) are available to use in the workshop.
Once you know the basics techniques of each discipline, the technicians will be able to induct you to the more specialized machines.
2D and 3D workshops
As a student of the Creative Arts School, you have access to any of the 2D and 3D workshops within the School. In textiles you will learn printmaking techniques that may include the use of the Albion presses within the 2D workshop to produce block printed textile pieces. As part of your course you will also learn to use band-saws and other wood cutting and sanding machines, and you will be encouraged to use the laser cutters, 3D printers and the vinyl cutter. The 3D metal room has a workspace with basic tools that can be used after the workshops have closed in the evening. They also have dedicated metal cutting, shaping and polishing machinery that you can be inducted to.
All the spaces run very useful extra workshops that I would encourage you to do, as they teach you techniques that you may find very useful one day.
The Art Shop
There is a shop in the Arts building that stores all the basics you may need during your studies. Your tutors and the technicians will also be able to recommend specialized shops and websites where you can find what you are looking for.
You need a Wacom tablet? A DSLR camera? Want to try some video and you don’t have the equipment? The loan room is the place to go. They store a very large list of equipment that you can borrow for the day, or a few days.
If you need to take photographs like a pro, you can also book one of the photography studios and borrow lighting… Visit the loan room and find out everything that you can borrow for future projects.
Computers and printing
The School has a few areas where you will be able to use PC or Mac computers as well as a number of printer/scanners. Some of the computers have the latest specialized 2D and 3D, music and film software installed.
You can find the same computing/software facilities in the LRC, in case you need to work during the school closing times.
There is also a very broad selection of books related to crafts and design, art and all the other disciplines that are taught within the University of Hertfordshire. It also has great facilities to work in groups sharing a large display or read quietly in one of their comfy sofas!
Itziar - Why I chose Herts
Why I Chose Herts
Hi! I am Itziar and I will be entering my final year at jewellery. My family and I have been living in Hertfordshire for a few years. Because of my personal circumstances, staying local was quite important. I was excited to go through university experience again, this time as a mature student. However, as I had to finance it myself, my choice had to tick quite a number of boxes.
I attended a UCAS fair with a few friends out of curiosity, just to see how it would feel to consider doing some art course at uni. It was an eye opening experience. There was quite an ample choice in the area, more than we had imagined. Unfortunately, when we went to inquire about the course that they offered, most universities (prestigious or not) had very little or no information. Some of their ambassadors didn’t even know that the courses we were inquiring about existed at their universities! Very disappointing. We ended up having to pick up quite a load of brochures to do our research back at home (something we could have done online without having to travel to London).
The day was saved by the very vibrant and colourful team of ambassadors and staff representing the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire. They managed to answer most of our questions: finances, facilities, timetables, how the courses could work around family life... and we even got engaged in a rather picturesque discussion with one of their members. All in all, a very good impression of what was likely to be our experience if we decided to come to Herts. Besides this positive starting point, the prospect of spending a year having a go at four disciplines was a winner for me. In fact, although I applied to do the ceramics BA, by the time we were starting our second year and we had to make a choice, I had already been convinced that jewellery was the way to go. Great decision, it seems!
Another point that I think students who come here are likely to enjoy is the proximity to London. Only 20 mins from central London, one can easily enjoy the advantages of the big city: concerts, exhibitions, sport events… or anything else you may think about! If you prefer quietness, there are lots of pretty towns and villages around, and great pubs along beautiful walks in the countryside.
Whatever your taste, there is something waiting for you at the University of Hertfordshire.