Okay so I'm on day 5/6/7/8ish of #marchmeetthemaker and especially its #internationalwomen

about

Welcome.  I am Sophie Harris of SLH Metalsmith.  Some people may be familiar with my work as a metalwork restorer.  My love for making is based around a myriad of crafts and arts I have studied, gaining a BA(hons) in Contemporary Crafts from University College Falmouth and a PG(dip) in Conservation and Restoration of Antiques and Metalwork from West Dean College, West Sussex.  My studies have given me the perfect foundation with which to be fully immersed in all sorts of metalworking processes.

As a member of the Heritage Crafts Association, I have a great passion for traditional coppersmithing and bespoke metalwork as well as conservation and restoration.  There are few fulltime coppersmiths currently operating in the UK.  I aim to combine my love for making with conservation and restoration to encourage more people to find their love for metalworking in all its glorious forms.

My previous employments have given me some fantastic opportunities working as a Metals Conservator at the Victoria & Albert Museum and Freelancing around the UK within the conservation profession, as well as the privilege of working with the Newlyn Copperworks. In 2016 I moved back to the Forest of Dean to work on a very prestigious exhibition based in Europe for a UK Contemporary Art Foundry. On completing the metalwork for the exhibition, I started my own business, with help and thanks to the Princes Trust Enterprise scheme- they have been able to point me in the right direction as a maker of bespoke metalwork and restoration.

I was recently given the opportunity of appearing on the channel 4 programme ‘Mend it for Money’ as a professional metalwork restorer of copper alloys, which helped my motivation to develop my own practice.

My profession is not my only passion.  Alongside metalworking and restoration, I am continually striving towards self-sustainability, forever learning foraging, preserving, and conserving produce from our land; to foster more of an essential love of the land and mother earth.  This has developed into more than just a hobby and has become a way of life.  By developing my love for the land and transforming unused space into productive raised beds for selections of produce throughout the year.  I’m a lover of grafting, sewing, growing cuttings and seed production, always in symbiosis with the land.  It has inspired me to produce functional objects that hold a beauty in their imperfections.  Combining metalsmithing, gardening, and self-sustainability, I work with copper alloys and ferrous materials to make unusual tools and functional equipment that can be used in everyday life.  A practical lifestyle inspires me to create work and art to generate meaning and purpose to all my creative making.

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