Loraine is jewel in Royal Exchange crown
Graduate showcases collection at theatre
A MAJOR road accident which had caused serious spinal injuries led to youth worker Loraine Otoo starting a new career – as a jeweller.
The 53 year-old from Burnage studied for a degree in Three Dimensional Design at Manchester School of Art after being encouraged by tutors at City Centre College Manchester, where she had applied for a jewellery-making course to occupy herself while she recuperated.
Now Loraine’s delicately knitted silver wire creations, which are influenced as much by textile design as they are by traditional jewellery-making practices, are part of the Royal Exchange’s latest exhibition, Stitched, which runs until 28th October.
“To start with it was a hobby, nothing serious,” said Loraine. “My tutor said I should go on to university and get a degree. Even now I have to pinch myself and say ‘wow’.”
Despite being a mature student and having been diagnosed with dyslexia, Loraine threw herself into the new challenge of learning new skills and creating a jewellery collection.
She said: “It was daunting, but not in a negative sense – it was a challenge, to explore what my ideas were and if they were tangible.” And she wasn’t put off by sharing classrooms with students who were fresh out of school
“It was a source of inspiration being in that environment to see how things are done and have developed,” she said.
However she added that it was only when she stopped allowing herself to be influenced by the trends followed by her younger colleagues that Loraine’s ideas really started to take flight.
“The best thing was the sense of freedom and space – when I look in hindsight I realised I had the freedom to explore anything I wanted to do,” she said.
To add to her achievements, Loraine won two awards given by the Manchester School of Art to its students – the Success Magazine award and the Originals Award.
“To win one was amazing, but to win both – I don’t think that happens very often,” she said.
Now, in addition to teaching workshops, Loraine is working on a new collection made from coloured copper wire, and hopes to see her work stocked in retailers across Manchester and beyond.
Source: MMU News & Events
20 September 2012