I am a silversmith based in Sheffield. I trained at Grennan Mill craft school and Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 1996.
I subsequently worked as a designer for industry in India, the Philippines, and the UK, and set up a workshop in Kilkenny, Ireland. In 1998, I moved to Tokyo, to study in the metalwork department at the National University of Fine Arts and Music (Tokyo Geidai), receiving a doctorate in 2005. My research looks at the intersection between traditional craft processes and new technologies.
I am a co-founder and director of the spin out company Mikana Innovations Ltd. In 2015, I was awarded the Bavarian State Prize for outstanding contributions in applied art and design. My work is held in national and international collections. I teach on the Jewellery and Metalwork undergraduate program in Sheffield and Hong Kong, and supervise postgraduate research students.
My recent research projects have explored the use of material science to improve our understanding of tacit skills and craft materials, the appropriation of industrial technologies for craft production, and the development of new ways of using traditional craft processes and materials in the production of studio work. My research has been funded by Arts Council England, the UK Research Councils, Innovate UK, the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, and the Sasakawa Foundation.
I exhibit my work internationally and have pieces in collections including the National Museum of Ireland, the Goldsmiths’ Collection, London, and the Marzee collection, Netherlands.
I have developed collaborative projects between the Art and Design Research Centre, and the Materials and Engineering Research Institute since 2007. Sheffield Hallam University provides a unique opportunity for this research collaboration as the only UK university with both a metalwork and jewellery program and a materials science program.
Science, Technology and Arts
- Art and Design Research Centre
- Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute
Research outputs for our projects include international exhibitions of studio work, lectures, conference and journal papers. The research has found audiences across craft, design, industry and material science communities.
Other research projects that I am contributing to include the development of digital research tools (Digital memo wall) and the curation of exhibition as research events (Keypiece), both of which feed into the development and dissemination of practice based research projects.
Amal Al-Ismaili: 'Recreating contemporary jewellery of traditional Omani jewellery'