JORUM JOURNAL is a monthly glimpse behind the scenes at Jorum Studio. Find out what’s inspiring us, what’s motivating us, what we’re celebrating – the thoughts and stories behind our fragrances.
JUNE at Jorum Studio saw applications reopening for the Jorum Craft Award – the first of two rounds in 2022. This year, we're doing things a little differently, asking makers to consider the theme of ‘Biomimetics/Biomimicry’: studying elements from the natural world as the basis of complex problem solving within craft and design. The Award always attracts an incredible array of talent, and we can't wait to see what this year has in store!
Applications close at midnight on 30th June 2022, with the recipient being announced after 7th July 2022.
A MOMENT WITH: SCOTT SMITH
J: When referencing your practise, you speak a lot about the importance of meditative craft. Could you please elaborate on this? Where did this start for you, and what does it mean in relation to your creative process?
S: During the pandemic, I returned to my childhood home: a farm in rural Banffshire. Here I was surrounded by ancient woodland, rugged coastal landscapes and the opportunity to slow down and reflect. Initially in my studies, I had been predominantly inspired by the urban environment, but this changed during my reconnection with the area I grew up in. I rediscovered wood carving – a skill I learnt while in Portsoy Scouts – and instantly engaged with how the repetitive and rhythmic process allowed for critical thinking and reflections on my craft.
As I carved wooden spoons, I found I was only producing them for an excuse to carve – to sit outside, reconnect with the natural world around me, reflect on my practice and making processes and think about what traditional craft means to me. I found these reflections to be the fundamental changing point in my creative process: they opened up my research into The Heritage Crafts Association’s Red List of Endangered Crafts, as well as sustainability and what it means to craft.
J: Your work interrogates early Pictish carvings – a fascinating reference point! Were you always intrigued by ancient Scottish history? What meaning have you found in this ancient iconography?
S: As a proud Scottish maker from rural Banffshire, my heritage has always been important to me and is key in shaping who I am as a craftsperson today. The Banffshire Coast is full of ancient heritage sites, unspoilt landscapes and relics of our ancestors which has always interested me and inspired my work. However, after visiting the National Museum of Scotland’s ‘Early People’ exhibit in early 2020, I became deeply interested in the craftsmanship of the artefacts on display. Repetitive and deeply considered markings were key themes in these objects – ranging from tableware to functional tools and ceremonial pieces – and each exemplified the work of highly skilled craftspeople from Scotland.
I began to be fascinated with hypothetical scenarios where my work would be displayed alongside these ancient objects and questioned where they would fit in. Would my pieces be considered replicas or inspired-by pieces? Would they look out of place, or as if they too had been buried for hundreds of years? I like to consider these questions when I am designing and making new work, questioning what it means to make and why I do what I do.
J: You've spoken of the wild Scottish landscapes that shape your designs – we can relate to this, having just released a new collection focusing on the modern Scottish landscape. Does scent ever feature in your creative process?
S: As my pieces are inspired by the landscape in which they are carved – unspoilt coastline and ancient woodland – smell became an important part of immersing myself in the surroundings. The salt from the sea is something I miss everyday while in my studio in Glasgow and I crave the feeling of safety the woodlands of home give me as I walk through them. Being able to connect with home and my upbringing using all my senses is an important part of my design process and cannot be replicated in my silversmithing workshop. To be truly inspired and reconnected to my childhood, family and friends, I need to touch, see and smell the area I call home.
If my pieces of tableware had a smell, they’d smell of the North Sea: the salt and wind from the coastline washing over the farmland and making their way to my pieces. This smell is something I always associate with home and am always (unsuccessfully) trying to mimic in the city environment.
J: What does craftsmanship mean to you?
S: Craftsmanship, to me, means to connect to a chosen material or technique and begin to understand the properties of that material. Learning to respond to a material’s feedback as you manipulate and interrogate all avenues of possibility, and beginning to understand what that material can do for the narrative you aim to convey. I believe craftsmanship and mastering a craft are two different things and I do not aim to ‘master’ a specific class. I aim to understand the possibilities of a material through craft and learning, developing a signature style along the way and enjoying the process rather than striving for a specific outcome.
Scott is currently preparing for two prestigious exhibitions this year: Goldsmiths Fair in London and Elements Festival in Edinburgh. In his words: 'I am extremely excited to exhibit alongside fellow makers in the industry and participate in an in-person event after the constraints of the pandemic.'
He aims to develop a new collection of work that celebrates the importance of meditative craft and raises awareness of The Heritage Crafts Association’s Red List of Endangered Crafts, while celebrating the coastal landscape of Banffshire.
Everything Everywhere All At Once dir. Daniels
Cheating again with this one, but we had to include it! See it if you have the chance. Perfect blend of chaos and poignancy.
The Language of Things by Deyan Sudjic
A fascinating look at the psychology of things, and the changing role of the designer in a post-industrial society.