Maker Project - Thinking through practice

  Research Director / Maker



Tom Sutton

Assistant Teaching Professor + Designer Maker


“Examining the
commonality
and transferable
relationships
between specialist
practices
associated across
a range of arts,
crafts and design
disciplines could
provide pragmatic
solutions towards
educating future
professionals.”

Tom is an Assistant Teaching Professor within the School of the Arts, primarily teaching on the BA(Hons) Textiles and Surface Design Course. Formerly trained as a Fine Metal Smith and Furniture Designer Maker with an undergraduate diploma in 3-Dimensional Design, he has gathered over twenty five years of underpinned knowledge and experience pursuing a portfolio career within the creative industries and higher education.

Primarily a practitioner and advocate of applied approaches to making, Tom has undertaken a range of commissions and collaborative projects working in fine metals, furniture, lighting, surface pattern and interiors. Exhibiting his work across the UK and Europe since the mid-nineties, galleries and events including London Design Festival and Maison et Objet. In addition to his own practice, he was also a founding director of 5ml promoting new creative talent alongside established designer makers at international design events between 2009 and 2013.

Working across both the academic and commercial environments has contributed towards a range of transferable skills including a comprehensive understanding of digital surface design processes and graphic visualisation using Adobe design software. This has been employed through freelance practice for companies including The Vintage Clothing Company alongside commissioned work for corporate and private clients. In turn, knowledge and industry experience continue to be disseminated through all academic channels informing the importance of professional practice and entrepreneurship in combination with creative acumen.

Alongside his teaching responsibilities, Tom is currently progressing with his doctorate exploring post–digital and applied processes that promote the proficient use of haptic skills which can be collectively directed towards pedagogical methodologies. Examining the commonality and transferable relationships between specialist practices associated across a range of arts, crafts and design disciplines could provide pragmatic solutions towards educating future professionals. A crucial part of this being understanding materials and materiality, applied in both the traditional and digital sense.

The Maker Project is an important active research project that not only investigates the practices and thought process behind making, but also celebrates the value and self-achievement in delivering artisan skills.

This comes at a very poignant time where, although celebrated for it’s contribution to both society and the economy, the future of craft faces an uncertain future due to the regression in formal arts and design education in favour of an academic biased curriculum.


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