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Graduate's Winning Jewellery Designs Set To Bloom

7 June 2011

TALENTED Ulster designer Laura McLaughlan has picked up a top award for craft innovation  for her clever range of sustainable floral jewellery.

Supported by Craft NI and Invest Northern Ireland, the 5th annual Craft in Business Award recognises emerging craft-designers who are fuelling the creative economy with an innovative approach to their craft.

Laura, who was presented with the award at the University of Ulster’s graduate prize-giving ceremony, explained that her winning product idea was inspired by her training as a florist:

“The collection of rings depicts exotic flowers and other colourful seasonal blooms that I sold in my flower shop”.

Originally from Magherafelt, Laura ran her own successful florists in Cookstown for several years before starting a three-year degree course in silversmithing and jewellery at the University of Ulster in Belfast.

Laura is hopeful that her collection will bring something fresh to the accessories market:

“To achieve the final design, each ring is cut from sustainable wood using laser-cutting technologies”, Laura explained.

“The collection is then packaged and sold as a flat-pack product and comes with its own instructions and a set of paint and brushes.”

“This means that the wearer has to get creative by putting the ring together and painting it to their own unique style”.

“The good thing is that if the colours don’t suit, each one can be repainted again”.

Joe Kelly, Director of Craft NI said: “Laura has received this prestigious award because she has taken a fresh look at jewellery design and has demonstrated great potential for new craft markets”.

“Building a creative economy involves recognizing and nurturing creative talent like that of Laura and other young designer-makers”

“These graduates are among Northern Ireland’s future entrepreneurs”,

Donal Durkan, Invest NI’s Director of Life Sciences and Creative, said: “Invest NI is committed to supporting and nurturing the local talent which exists in our creative industries, including the craft sector.”

“I commend the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated by our emerging craft designers who have shown they have the capabilities to be successful in the business world.

Laura’s collection of rings goes on display for the next two weeks as part of the Ulster Festival of Art and Design.

Editor’s notes:

*  The Craft in Business Award is a jointly funded award by Craft NI and Invest NI. The purpose of the award is to highlight the opportunities for application of creative practice to business innovation and entrepreneurship within the creative and cultural industries sector.

*  The Craft in Business Award is presented to a final year student in applied arts at the University of Ulster whose work demonstrates the most potential demonstrates potential for innovation and application to entrepreneurial business.