Rae Gellel
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Foundation Programme: An Interview With Amy Gibson

Amy Gibson is at a turning point in her career development. A Foundation Programme student, she will soon graduate having gained a Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council (GC & DC) Award, and aspirations for a future in jewellery. We caught up with her this week.

How did you first become interested in the industry?

I knew that I wanted to do something creative with my life because I come from an art background. I’ve always been interested in art and it was always my favourite subject at school. But I was looking for a viable career in the arts – something I could learn that would lead directly onto work. I didn’t really know much about the industry at all until I started doing some research, and it wasn’t until I was sat down in a Foundation Programme classroom that I really understood it all fully. I was also accepted into Glasgow School of Art, but it didn’t really feel like that was for me – the Goldsmiths’ Centre’s Programme is more practical-based.

Have you been able to apply your artistic skills to your work during your studies on the Foundation Programme?

It’s definitely different to art, but the underlying creativity is still there, and it is still the most important thing. Painting has always been something that I’ve loved, but I’m a messy painter and approach it in a messy way. So, when I started on the Foundation Programme and sat down at a desk and saw rulers, I was like ‘oh no!’ But you get used to that style and that precision. So, there’s different skills involved but it comes from the same place, and from the same passion.

What part of the Foundation Programme have you enjoyed most so far?

I’ve enjoyed having a go at everything really – just trying new things. But I’m most interested in jewellery and diamond mounting, and design in general. I like creating something from start to finish, which I know isn’t necessarily financially viable in this industry, but it’s just so satisfying. From working it out in your head, to sketching it, to figuring out what materials you’ll need, to making it. Going through all those steps to have the final product in your hands is really rewarding.

You recently did a short work placement with SVS Designs – what was that experience like for you?

That was a lot of fun. It’s a very different environment from the Programme, so it was good to experience that, and I got to create something from start to finish – a brooch made from my own design. Having that freedom was really fun, but there was also help available if I needed it because everyone at SVS was so willing to help.

What’s been the most memorable moment of the Foundation Programme so far?

Getting a Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council Award for Design Skills was really amazing! The ceremony was fun, and there was so much amazing work to see.

Would you recommend the Foundation Programme to other young people?

Definitely. I have met so many people at later stages in the industry who’ve said to me, ‘I wish something like the Programme was available when I was your age’. Obviously, a university degree has benefits too, there are different aspects to it and it can be more design-led, but in terms of practical skills, there’s no better course or path. Apart from maybe a five-year apprenticeship, but maybe that’s next!

And all the tutors have been amazing too. They’ve been in the industry for years and years – not to make them sound old! – but they always have an answer and they’re always willing to help. Even if you bring something in that needs fixing, they’ll know what to do with it. They’re fully supportive every step of the way.

What do your friends and family think of your career choice?

They think it’s cool and different, because it’s not an everyday career or path – most of them are doing university degrees. Plus, they’re just excited about having me make them jewellery! It’s quite convenient having these skills when it comes time to buy gifts!

What’s next for you?

I’m not entirely sure yet, I’m looking for an apprenticeship to go onto next and have visited a few places, but nothing is set in stone yet. But hopefully, it will be something involving diamond mounting and design!


Want to join our Foundation Programme? Discover more about this unique, full-time course at www.goldsmiths-centre.org/courses/foundation-programme

Contact Amy