JOHN POULTER - Who said jewellers can't be tough?

“The only disruptive elements for me are the bench itself, workshop banter, stressful outbursts and extreme music blasting through my earphones.”

 

 

Where did it all start?

Art Deco work, an area I’m proud of and love doing. Perhaps growing up home in Napier, regarded as the Art Deco capital (due to being destroyed by the quake of 1931) somehow left a subconscious imprint, which allows me a particular grasp and flow of the style.

 

What makes your practice and style disruptive?

As far as my disruptive practice and style, as it would be seen in a day to day basis of High End jewelry. Simply for me, there is more. In fact, disruption is the complete opposite to what is required.

Bespoke and handmade jewelry manufacture require a structured, well trained and disciplined eye. It is hard to execute what is often a very detailed, structured and precise end result.

The only disruptive elements for me are the bench itself, workshop banter, stressful outbursts and extreme music blasting through my earphones.

 

"But let’s just say this, I am drawn more towards the “left hand path,” the non-conformist, the outsider, the darker side. Unicorns and rainbows I ain’t."

 

Describe your most consistent sources of disruptive inspiration

I know it sounds cheesy, but the world around me. It has given me all the things naturally that are my influence: the people I meet, the countries and cultures I explore, the music and art I live with, movies I watch, the nature that surrounds me. Each has had an effect on my creative practices and outlet.

But let’s just say this, I am drawn more towards the “left hand path,” the non-conformist, the outsider, the darker side. Unicorns and rainbows I ain’t. 

 

 

How do you see the importance of Art/Design/Music/Tech shaping our future lives?

Design will ALWAYS shape future lives, it just all depends on what level you want or are forced to embrace, or even care about! For me, it is purely a generational thing.

I’m from what I consider one of the perfect and indeed interesting/luckiest generations in what has happened design and tech wise. From dial to push button phones, and the birth there of which seems to have replaced the dog as man’s best friend… haa, the mobile phone. That in itself, from LED screens to the smart tech we see and grooval before now. Arcade games consoles for multiplayer online. Beta, Vhs, DVD, BluRay. Vinyl, cassette, CD, stream and download. The INTERNET itself. My list could go on forever.

But it is the clothes we wear, the car we drive, our streets, place of work, the interior of our abode, the gadgets we surround ourselves with. And sadly, the way we even interact as humans. Design will always be there, waiting around the corner.

This, of course, is all great, and we can’t deny had many positive effects on humanity. I just wish more people would step back and appreciate the design already there, all around the us every day: the art, architecture, the tube, the streets you walk, the area you live.

 

"I get great pleasure in thought of the happiness, satisfaction and end result achieved."

 

How do you think your work connects with people and communities?

The work involved, I guess at my level, connects the client with the final physical realization of a design, commission or project. I am what stands between them, their initial concept, idea, discussion of practicality and design, the final physical manifestation of a touchable, wearable piece.

Whether that be to mark a chapter in life, the future, such as an engagement/wedding, or to celebrate/acknowledge the past (remembrance) or simply a show of fashion, wealth or own creative outlet. Each as important to each individual client, for each individual reason and purpose.

However, I get great pleasure in thought of the happiness, satisfaction and end result achieved.

 

Do you feel certain subjects/areas of practice remain unjustly taboo/are looked down upon?

Nothing is taboo as far as I’m concerned personally.

But I often sit thinking for some side project, or perhaps someone will come through the door with some messed up might push this.

 

 

How do you balance being commercial with authenticity?

Unfortunately, I don’t! The nature of my everyday work, being employed in a private workshop where 99.5% of all the initial talk, design options etc., are out of my hands, can, and often is, extremely frustrating.

Haa funny! I guess that is a form of disruption itself. Think of me in this particular, often regimented area of the jewelry world as a ‘strategically shaved monkey, making sparkly thinks come true’, haa!

 

Since you started your career, what has been the biggest change to your industry and what changes do you see happening?

Changes hmm… The one biggest change, like in so many other industries, both regular and creative, is ‘technology’. Of course, this is a double-edged sword, both solving and sometimes creating problems, Eryo disruption.    

Coming from a classically trained background 25 years ago, the industry now has technology which has come on leaps and bounds. Wiring pieces and components in place, soldering with a steady hand, now replaced by being able to use a hazer machine to ‘tack’ elements in position beforehand. Hand cut and pierced designs, taking sometimes, hours, now rendered and replaced by computer imagery and laser cutting.

Design once prized for the personal process of chat, design (sketch/drawing), fabrication. Now simply available on a computer screen, using CAD (Computer Aided Design) before being 3D rendered at last. So, in this sense many of the old traditional ways are looked over, cut or lost often due to our good friends TIME and MONEY!

However, all this can have its place too in a positive way. Any advances that make a procedure a little easier, quicker, frees up time and costs can only be a good thing, right? Well, yes and no, as far as any ‘hands on’ creative practice/trade is concerned. And so, the double-edged sword principle kicks in. For some gain, there will always be a sacrifice, and out of a sacrifice we often find a gain!   

 

"I guess with age comes experience, being around people and technologies you didn’t have before, learning and applying new found knowledge and skills."

 

What’s the hardest personal challenge you’ve had to overcome?

“Sort your shit out!” My biggest gripe is bullshit and project shortfall and disorganisation. Plan! Get those in check, your checks in a row and all will, from your side of things at least, be ‘good’!

 

How has your experience helped you career and your work?

Ha… Hmmm… Get back to me on that one. I, of course, HATE clichés, but it’s the old favourite of many throughout the years, “If only I knew then what I know now.” But I guess with age comes experience, being around people and technologies you didn’t have before, learning and applying new found knowledge and skills.

 

All interviews are directly penned by the disrupters. 

Edited by Maria Micu

 

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Tagged with: Art Jewellery

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