Design Crafts graduate wins £1,000 to develop jewellery business

A talented jewellery artist has won £1,000 and free studio space to help expand her own business, just months after graduating from the Design Crafts course at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

Kerry Butterworth won a sought-after spot on the Cultivated scheme  at Unit 12 Gallery with Jennifer Collier and Iain Perry - a six-month graduate support programme which bridges university and independent practice - thanks to the experience and support she gained at DMU.


The 22-year-old said: “Jennifer is someone I’ve looked up to since school and she’s been a huge influence on my own work. This amazing opportunity is like a dream come true for me.”

During the placement, Kerry is being mentored by Jennifer, receiving practical advice on all elements of setting up and running a business, including branding and filing tax returns.

Kerry, who graduated with a Design Crafts BA (Hons) in July 2015, also works part time as a school technician, a job she secured after a work experience placement encouraged by her tutors at DMU. Through Cultivated she is being supported to develop a workshop plan to share her skills with others, “As an emerging designer I see it as my duty to give back to the next generation of makers in the hope of keeping craft alive."

Without the help of her tutors at DMU, Kerry doesn’t think she could have achieved as much in such a short space of time. She said: “For my Professional Practice module, my tutors researched roles I wanted to apply for and tested me with mock interview questions. If it wasn’t for their dedication I wouldn’t have gotten through my Cultivated interview.”

Kerry’s contemporary enamelled jewellery designs portraying romance and beauty first caught Jennifer Collier’s attention at New Designers. Kerry was one of a handful of students selected by her tutors to attend the annual exhibition which brings together the very best in UK graduate design.

During her time at DMU, Kerry benefitted from a number of opportunities with exceptional outcomes. She was one of 15 young designers invited to exhibit as Young Meteors at Lustre, a high quality craft selling event, resulting in a substantial order from Ada Gallery in Market Harborough.

Taking part in DMU Graduate Champions - an innovative scheme offering recent graduates paid internships with leading UK businesses - gave Kerry the chance to design beading for Senior DMU Lecturer and electro-chemical textile design specialist, Jo Horton. Kerry’s work will be incorporated into Jo Horton’s garments due to be exhibited at the V&A Museum next year.


In addition, Kerry’s outstanding exhibition and professional portfolio at the DMU degree show led to the commissioning of three pieces of jewellery which will be used by the university as corporate gifts.

Imogen Aust, course leader for Design Crafts at DMU, said: “Our new Design Crafts ‘Professional Practice’ modules encourage students to be ambitious about their future, supporting them to fulfil their career aspirations after graduation.”

“Kerry really came into her own once she realised she had a number of practical craft, design and personal skills which are in high demand. Exposure to experiences like New Designers greatly improved her confidence and helped her make the connection between her jewellery practice and her professional practice.”

Posted on Monday 21 December 2015

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