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Diana Porter

Diana Porter
33 Park Street
0117 909 0225
The jewellery is a synthesis of my life experience. At college I was inspired by ancient images of powerful women. So my work is about women and assertiveness (Sibyls), it is about wisdom ('Wisdom of Life' triple ring set), it is about togetherness whilst being separate ('The Feeling of We' pair of rings). It's about change (moving rings etched "This will change"). It's about the spirit in all of us (the gold bead etched 'the spirit'). It's about the design suiting the form; about words being ambiguous; about challenging conventional ideas both in jewellery design and in the way we organise our lives. It's about tiny precious moments (little diamonds). When you wear one of my rings etched with 'on and on..' is it about 'eternity' or 'interminability'? It's about not knowing and knowing........(heavy stuff! - maybe it's about humour?). We sung this song in the 70s:

'You can't kill the spirit
She is like a mountain
Old and Strong
She goes on and on and on'
'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 by women in the arts and crafts. This was 3 years to take stock and to create - it was a gift and the 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! '

Now, as we approach the end of the first decade of the ‘noughties’, I still cannot believe how lucky I have been. The collections are in about 60 galleries and shops all over the country and in the US and I have the shop of my dreams with workshops behind it – one for the 5 jewellers who hand finish my work and another for me – a room of my own to create and play in! I get to choose beautiful work to display in the shop from other designers and I meet lovely people who come from miles around to consult about commissions. Employees have come and gone, some have stayed – we’ve had work experience people who’ve then joined us, stayed for years and have gone on to set up their own jewellery businesses. We’ve become a limited company and I’ve recently appointed a co director who has relieved me of all the business side leaving me to make jewellery, take photos and sometimes do the shop window!

My current concerns centre around investigating the sources of the materials we use – the silver, gold, platinum and the diamonds and other stones. In trying to find ‘ethically’ produced metals, my research took me to Bolivia where small artisanal miners are working towards improving working conditions and taking care of the environment.
Image 1
Pair of 18ct yellow gold and diamond rings etched 'on and on'
Image 2
Silver and 22ct yellow gold etch bangles
Image 3
Silver and oxidised etch ring with 7 diamonds and attached ball and chain