Diana Porter – Biography
‘I wanted to be an actor. I trained as a teacher, had two children, was a single parent , did lots of amateur acting, found feminism, worked for twenty odd years as an arts administrator during which time I did fascinating jobs such as running theatre companies both in London & in Bristol, setting up a small scale theatre and community arts centre in Bristol, running Birmingham Women’s Festival. I campaigned for more money for the arts, for equality of opportunities for women, disabled people and ethnic minorities; I demonstrated against nuclear armaments. I got grants for people from the Arts Council of Great Britain, Local Authorities and Regional Arts Boards. I did budgets, wrote reports, filled out a thousand forms.
And then in 1990 I went to the University of Central England to do a 3 year full time degree course in Jewellery and Silversmithing.
I loved the way that working with metal centred and concentrated my mind; I learnt about design and form and my teachers pushed me to develop my design ideas which I now thank them for; I loved the History of Art part of the course and became passionate about investigating the history of the involvement by women in the arts and crafts. This was 3 years to take stock and to create – it was a gift and the jewellery is an outcome of that.
On leaving college in 1993, I immediately started my own business making jewellery in my front room. In 1999 I was awarded UK Jewellery Designer of the Year! ‘
Now, as we approach the end of the first decade of the ‘noughties’, I still cannot believe how lucky I have been. The collections are in about 60 galleries and shops all over the country and in the US and I have the shop of my dreams with workshops behind it – one for the 5 jewellers who hand finish my work and another for me – a room of my own to create and play in! I get to choose beautiful work to display in the shop from other designers and I meet lovely people who come from miles around to consult about commissions. Employees have come and gone, some have stayed – we’ve had work experience people who’ve then joined us, stayed for years and have gone on to set up their own jewellery businesses. We’ve become a limited company and I’ve recently appointed a co director who has relieved me of all the business side leaving me to make jewellery, take photos and sometimes do the shop window!
My current concerns centre around investigating the sources of the materials we use – the silver, gold, platinum and the diamonds and other stones. In trying to find ‘ethically’ produced metals, my research took me to Bolivia where small artisanal miners are working towards improving working conditions and taking care of the environment.
Diana Porter has recieved the seal of approval from the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and has been invited to join Who’s Who in Gold and Silver the company’s prestigious directory of the leading jewellers, silversmiths and art medallists working in the UK.
Website: Diana Porter