Theresa Burger pictured receiving her award from Sonya Lennon
What does it mean to you to have received a Future Makers ‘Innovation’ award?
2012 is the first year the Future Makers gave an ‘Innovation’ award to a student, so naturally I was delighted with it. The award provides me with funding to continue where I left off with the work after my Masters course. I feel this is a very important aspect to funding students and emerging makers. Mostly we are all trying to stay afloat right now, bread and butter type work that we know sells. Receiving this kind of funding allows one to experiment, stretch out beyond ones means and hopefully be innovative.
Receiving the award was also fantastic as it made me realise that the Crafts Council are looking at supporting new methods and technologies applied to making. It can only be encouraging to future students and makers to look at starting to utilise these new ways of thinking and making.
How important is innovation in the design work that you do?
The type of work I make relies on innovative technologies, so it’s incredibly important. As time progresses so will these technologies, the quality of materials and prints will just improve. More options in 3D printing will be more assessable, what we choose to do with those is entirely up to us.
Personally innovation in both methods of making as well as in design is a strong driving force behind what I do. It’s a constant desire to get better at what I love to do, and that is to make jewellery. Utilising 3D printing has allowed me to stretch my design skills and challenge myself. It is an exciting time to be using these methods.
How do you see your design and production work progressing in the future?
For the duration of the two year MA I used 3D printing companies based in Holland and Belgium. They are pretty much the leaders in 3D printing technology accessible to the public; I know in terms of production I will continue to use them. They are constantly making new materials available, new metals recently that I am looking forward to trying out. I am very interesting in mixing 3D printing with other methods and materials. Recently I started using CNC milling, applying that to exotic wood and pairing it up with the 3D printed nylon. I enjoyed this combination and it is an area in which I have just scratched the surface.
I would love to get the opportunity to apply my skills, both with bench and prototyping for a fashion design house. I feel this technology could be applied in some incredibly creative ways in the context of bespoke catwalk adornment.
What do you enjoy most about being a designer?
I love the process of designing and making, using that combination of one’s head and hands to bring about a concept. It’s a process that should never be underestimated or undervalued when done well. So I would have to say it’s the process that I go through when designing and making an item. From starting research up until the piece is a finish product, the whole journey. For each piece I make that experience is also always different.
What is your view on the importance of rapid prototyping for the future?
As a technology, I believe it will alter many aspects of our lives. Already looking at what it has been able to achieve as far as medical implants and prosthetic limbs, its changed people’s lives; improved their standard of living. Within design, I think its importance and power of use will be in the balance it could provide makers with in their process. It aids designers and can add to their process in ways many do not realise. It is a very exciting time but saying this, there still needs to be focus on development of hand skill and design ethics and practice. I do believe there is also a danger where that essential understanding could be side-lined for the sake of perusing new and exciting technologies. There is a definite balance that must be achieved, as it is a tool aiding ones practice.
More design conversations coming soon at FM