Jennifer is an award-winning multi-disciplinary designer maker, researcher and educator. She uses a diverse range of materials in her works and as part of her teaching. Her original training focussed on jewellery, silversmithing and general metal work and these disciplines still remain at the core of what she teaches and her own practice. Jennifer has applied the skills established through a foundation in jewellery and silversmithing in various capacities elsewhere in the design sector.
Although the objects she makes and the materials she uses may vary with each piece, each series is underpinned by her use of both traditional methods and digital technologies developed on Jewellery and Silversmithing programmes.
The work Jennifer produces would not be possible without her experience of both traditional and current digital methods. She aspires to produce work that can leave anyone viewing it uncertain as to how it was made and hopes to demonstrate that new technological approaches can blend quite naturally into a piece of work as a means of enhancing tradition rather than replacing it completely.
Jennifer designs and makes jewellery and homeware in a range of materials. She sells and exhibits her work nationally and internationally in museums, design shops/festivals and art fairs. She works with commercial as well as private clients and regularly collaborates with Artists, Designers, Historians on practice-led research projects.
Her work is quite often informed by research into historical sources, which is undertaken alone or in partnership with museums, national organisations, historians or Archaeologists. Off-shoot ideas, themes or techniques from these projects are adapted into bespoke one-off pieces or commercial small-scale production ranges of products.
Jennifer is a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art and Royal College of Art in London.
Jennifer contributes to all undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Jewellery and Silversmithing. Across all year groups she aims to support a cross-disciplinary, student-centred learning experience whilst maintaining a proficient, practical understanding of the making processes and materials at the core of the Jewellery and Silversmithing discipline.
Her teaching is fundamentally concerned with instilling knowledge of materials and making processes; to use materials experimentally, express themes/ideas through materials and to find and explore new/different ways of using them.
Jennifer aims to encourage student curiosity through studio-based learning, group work/collaboration with fellow students and live industry-linked partners. She aims to broaden student knowledge of the industry by inviting experts/professionals to give department lectures and discuss their career path.
Her continued design practice keeps her abreast of current industry demands and changing trends. Jennifer believes it is important for design students to be taught by active practitioners and researchers in the field with relevant and practical experience of the industry. All members of the Jewellery and Silversmithing staff body have active and varied practices who can support students to be as good as they can be in whichever area of the discipline they choose.
Jennifer has lectured on her making/research methodology at the various National and European conferences and at a number of UK universities. She has been invited to be part of discussion panels during International Design Expo, SOFA Chicago, USA and has also been invited to chair craft-related panel discussions at the National Museum of Scotland and Craft Scotland conferences. She gives regular talks for the Crafts Council through the Hothouse Programme for which she is also a mentor to early-stage practitioners.
Jennifer has worked on funded research projects with archaeologists and historians to uncover new knowledge using design and making processes. For example, in 2014 she worked with Archaeologists from the National Museum of Scotland to recreate a Pictish drinking horn. The discoveries gained through this collaboration have been used to reassess further objects in the Museum collections from a similar period.
Jennifer is currently undertaking a part-time practice-led PhD, which she began in September 2016. Her doctoral studies are supervised by Edward Hollis (ECA), Helen McCormack (GSA), and Geoffrey Mann (ECA). Her research is concerned with exploring how craft and design process of re-making/reconstruction can be used as a means to reinterpret and gain new perspectives on historical objects. The project proposed will demonstrate how the act of making can be used as an effective research methodology, offering new ways of understanding, interpreting and experiencing the complex/layered histories of public buildings.
Jennifer is a co-founder of the design research collective Making Enhanced. The collective is made up of 12 designers and design historians with backgrounds in architecture, design, jewellery, history and ceramics. Together, their research spans across the politics of governmental architecture, spatial ownership, heritage and domestic rituals.
Through this collective they pair up designers and historians with similar research interests and support them to work collaboratively towards a shared purpose.
The collective's objective is to use this collaborative framework to produce work that introduces new audiences to alternative, critically-informed ways of experiencing their environment. They are creating live projects working in a real context. The collective launched in the form of a 'work in progress' at the Saatchi Gallery as part of Collect Open 2015. Other events have been hosted at the Royal College of Art at which industry experts were in attendance. This event helped to inform the next stage, which will focus on public engagement.
Jennifer Works in partnership with Design Historian Soersha Dyon who works at the Institute of French History in Paris. They are currently working with historians at the National Archives in London to reimagine/recreate the 'Period Room' museum model through contemporary design and making processes using 16th century probate inventories from the British Reformation.
- Goldberg, M (Senior Curator of Early Historic and Viking collections, NMS), Gray, J, Maxwell, M. The interplay of digital and traditional craft: re-creating an authentic Pictish drinking horn. Included in 'CAA 2015 KEEP THE REVOLUTION GOING'
- S. Campana, R. Scopigno, G. Carpentiero & M. Cirillo (eds) 2016. 2 vols, pp. 1182. Oxford: Archaeopress. ISBN 9781784913389 (Peer-reviewed paper, first delivered at the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology, Annual Conference Siena, Italy 2015)
- Bottomley, S. & Gray, J. (2014). Beneath the Surface: Digital craft borderlands in education. In K. Bunnell & J. Marshall (Eds.), All Makers Now, International Conference, Falmouth University, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9544187-9-3
- Gray, J, Maxwell, M. (2014). Design Archaeology: bringing a pictish drinking horn to life. In K. Bunnell & J. Marshall (Eds.), All Makers Now, International Conference, Falmouth University, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9544187-9-3
Jennifer delivered three papers at 'All Makers Now?' Conference with Autonomatic Research Group at Falmouth University, 2014.
She delivered a joint paper with Dr Mhairi Maxwell on the recreation of a Pictish drinking Horn at IICA7 - 7th International Insular Art Conference, National University of Ireland, Galway, 2014. The same paper was presented at Computer Applications and Quantitive Methods in Archaeology, Annual Conference Siena, Italy 2015.
She delivered a joint paper with Soersha Dyon on Practices of making, collecting and re-enacting art and design at the 'Material Culture in Action' Conference, GSA 2015.
Jennifer is assisting Dr Helen McCormack and Dr Anne Nellis Richter to convene a series of papers and a panel discussion for the annual conference at the Courtauld Institute of Art and King's College London, April 2018. Jennifer will also be presenting a paper on her own research in relation to the session subject: 'Looking Out and In: Reflecting and Reimagining Historical Interiors from Contemporary Viewpoints'.