Oliver Smith

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Where and what did you study and what year did you graduate?
Master of Philosophy (Gold and Silversmithing), 2003, Australian National University.
Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours (First Class)(Gold and Silversmithing), 2000, Australian National University.
Bachelor of Visual Arts (Jewellery and Object Design), 1995, Sydney College of the Arts., University of Sydney.

Where did you head after graduating?
In between studying I spent time working in jewellery, silversmith and coppersmith studios in New Zealand, Mexico, Germany and England. During my postgrad study I also taught at a number of tertiary institutions. Upon completing my Masters I established my own workshop and continued to take part in exhibitions, commissions and collaborations.

When did you launch your own business?
In November 2004.

What motivated you to start your own business?
Starting a business was a natural progression from making unique objects by hand to moving into producing multiples.

How would you describe your business to someone who didn’t know you?
Conversationally I say I make cutlery and tableware and that I work as both a silversmith and designer. More formally I’d say that I create tableware to enhance the sharing of a meal and that this ranges from production design to unique objects.

How would you describe the products you design to someone who hadn’t seen them?
Beautiful functional tableware with flowing lines, pure forms, clean surfaces and bold proportions. I always aim for longevity which leads to a certain classicism.

What are the most challenging parts of being a designer running a small business?
Discipline is required to combine the things I love doing with the less desirable aspects. Budgeting and financial planning are a huge challenge. I’m slowly learning to be more business minded.

What are the next steps for you?
I’m keen to release one and tenderfoot , my next product designs and aim for the global market. Within 12 months I would like to see these objects available in a retail setting and see them in continued production as part of a larger collection.

Published 15 July 2008.

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