"Diamonds in Brown Paper; They were everything that women were not supposed to be." Gill Booth, 1988
I was born and raised in Sheffield, with the ‘Steel city’s’ industrial and cultural history always being prevalent in my life. From school trips to the old cutlery factories and local museums, to the post industrial landscape. Hearing about how the city was once a hive of industry, manufacturing world famous cutlery, lead me to want to know about the workers behind it all. Using this as my inspiration, I aim to create a collection that celebrates their work and coveys the personality and spirit of the workers.
When starting my research, I had a particular fascination with a group of women known as the ‘Buffer Girls.’ They finished all the cutlery, buffing out any imperfections and giving every piece the signature Sheffield shine. The grimy nature of their job meant the women developed an unofficial uniform of paper wrapped clothes. This led me to explore different ways of incorporating paper into my work.