Can you tell us a bit about your collaboration with Stoke-on-Trent kids?
We have recently completed an amazing project with some Year 10 students from Trentham High School. They were challenged to make a piece of jewellery based on our I Am Acrylic brand, as part of their Design & Technology G.C.S.E. We were so excited to see the results, and we weren't disappointed!
We chose four winning designs from all of these, and we've produced a limited edition run of them that we're now selling though our online shop.
The profits from the sale of these designs are being donated to charities chosen by the four winning students: The Douglas Macmillan Hospice, Children Today, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, and Chester Zoo.
How did the project come about?
We were contacted by their D&T teacher, Fabia Hully who had seen our stuff at the Design Museum shop. She emailed us saying she'd love to set her students a project based on our brand.
We were really keen! And then, when we realised that they would NOT be using a laser cutter but would be using fretsaws, needle files and wet and dry paper, in the same way that we do, we were even more excited to get involved!
It must have been fun to go back to school, did you learn anything yourselves?
We actually didn't make it back into the classroom - more's the pity! We kept in constant contact with Fabia through email. She was able to share a lot of their designs, as they made them, via a Dropbox folder that we'd set up. We have since had several email conversations with Fabia about new techniques we're trying, and fun things that she's done with acrylic too, so we nearly made it back to school : )
How did you pick the winning designs?
We had said to Fabia that we could do a limited run of the winning design, as a prize, imagining that we would need to adapt it quite a lot and refine it etc. to fit with the brand (remembering what we had managed to make in D&T at the same age!). But when she uploaded all of their finished projects we were stunned by the breadth of their ideas and the quality of manufacture.We decided that we were going to need to give more prizes or it just wouldn’t be fair! We ended up picking four winning designs, to make as ltd editions, under the category ‘Best Design’ that we felt really fitted the brief: Meg’s Apple brooch, Emily’s Cupcake brooch, Harry’s Iguana brooches and Lydia’s Princess & the Pea necklace.
There were eight more designs that we thought deserved special mention and a certificate .Five of these fell under our ‘Originality of Design’ category. These were designs that really embraced the ideas and design stage but that we felt would be maybe too complicated or too niche for us to ‘mass-produce’ at a reasonable price: Kieran’s Unicorn, Alex’s Parachute Man, Ellen’s Birdcage, Chloe’s Love Letter and Alice’s Globe & Moon.
The other three designs we put under the category ‘Use of Techniques’ – these students had really excelled in the making of some very ambitious projects with great attention to detail and finish, or using a great mix of materials: Tish’s Flamingo, Becky’s Pineapple and Athena’s Owl.
What did you find most rewarding?
The students seemed to really enjoy the project! Their involvement in, and their comments about the project were probably the most rewarding things. One student, Lydia, who designed the Princess and the Pea necklace, said this about the project:
“I have loved every single part of the ‘I Am Acrylic’ project. It has been one of the most exciting, interesting and most fun projects we have worked on! The best part of ‘I Am Acrylic’ was when we were faced with the design brief and then generating ideas. I thought of the princess and the pea necklace by coming up with a theme; fairytales, then developing it into an individual idea. When I found out my design was chosen to go into production I was ecstatic. This is one of my greatest achievements so far and I can’t wait to see it selling on the ‘I Am Acrylic’ website!”
We're just so excited now to see how many of this range we can sell and how much we can raise for their chosen charities : )