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Craft Commissions

Nicola Naismith

Maker and Social Practice Artist

Nicola is a visual artist and academic who has a particular interest in the reach and uses of social practice and participatory arts: she first studied craft in 1995 when her major study combined paper-making and hand sewing processes, and in 2003 she completed an MA in Textile Culture, where she explored the multiple hand and digital production connotations of an ordinary white shirt. After completing her MA she started to explore approaches to social practice through collaborations and residencies.  
Nicola has worked with architects, engineers and most recently an ergonomist to explore aspects of practice related to making, often considering the relationship between hand and digital processes. Over the last 3 years Nicola has been undertaking AHRC-funded research exploring creative practitioner wellbeing within participatory arts, and she also leads modules in Reflective and Ethical Practice and Professional Practice on the MA Art and Social Practice programme at University of the Highlands and Islands.  
For Nicola the hiCraft research project is an opportunity to look at relatively recent technological developments – in the form of the fitness tracking devices – and consider their place in people’s lives. With research interests focused on work, wellbeing, the body and movement, Nicola is exploring how the visual representations of data presented in apps can be integrated with other sources of information leading to designs for hand made artefacts which represent aspects of our daily experiences. 
portrait photo: Cath Cartman 

Sean Kingsley


Sean runs the ceramics facility at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, supporting students and researchers from any discipline to make things in clay.
He gained a BA Degree (1986) and a Post Graduate Diploma (1987), both in Design and Crafts (Ceramics) at Edinburgh College of Art, went on to a residency of self-directed study at Banff School or Arts and Crafts (1998-1999) and later obtained a Master of Philosophy by Research in Design (2006) at the University of Dundee.
Since 1991 Sean has made and sold pottery as Sean Kingsley Ceramics and then from 2011 as Butter Wynd Pottery, reflecting a change in approach from that of the designer/maker/ceramicist to craft potter. The difference came through deepening interests in localism, sustainability and learning from past practices while attempting to adapt them for the future.
hiCraft offers new challenges and opportunities in a field that has always developed technologies alongside material understanding. As with most crafts, pottery making and pottery products are interactive in nature. There is an intimate connection to, and affect on, the individual’s body, which is unique to that person. Merging pottery and the Internet of Things gives the opportunity to explore and extend the meaning and function of a pot, and our interactions with it, into a shared experience. It may also be extended into making with clay, using alternative ways to describe and understand processes, particularly between the teacher and student.
search for Butter Wynd Pottery on social media

Rachael Colley


Rachael Colley is an artist and senior lecturer in jewellery and metalwork at Sheffield Hallam University. She gained a BA (Hons) in 3D design, specialising in jewellery and silversmithing at Loughborough University in 2007 and went on to obtain an MA in goldsmithing, silversmithing, metalwork and jewellery from the Royal College of Art in 2010. In 2021 Rachael gained a Goldsmiths’ Centre Career Catalyst Grant and the QEST Howdens Scholarship, supporting the progression and development of her specialist metalworking skills. Pieces from her multi award-winning Sha-green jewellery series are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts and Crafts Itami, Japan, Archivio Negroni and Le Arti Orafe, Florence, Italy.
Rachael thinks through materials, producing cutlery, jewellery and sculpture which are explored in experimental dining events, exhibitions and visual art projects. Based in Sheffield, the UK’s ‘Steel City’, she creates ambiguous eating implements that challenge our collective connections with food and communicate aspects of her lived experience as a sufferer of the autoimmune disease Systemic Sclerosis. Through the elevation of food waste as a luxury material, her jewellery questions traditional notions of preciousness and value, highlighting broad societal issues surrounding consumption and encouraging reflection on the waste we generate.