Simone ten Hompel has been working with metal for over 40 years. She’s exhibited at the V&A, won the prestigious Jerwood Applied Arts Prize and earned herself a reputation as one of Britain’s most critically acclaimed craftspeople.
For over 27 years she’s been teaching at the School of Art, Architecture and Design, where she’s a Reader and supervises students studying PhDs and our MA by Project degree.
“I started working with metal really early on in my life. I did an apprenticeship as a blacksmith in Germany from the age of 13 to 19 while I was still going to school. Part of the reason for this interest is that I’m a really excellent dyslexic and I knew that school was going to be difficult. Early on I found jewellery interesting but I couldn’t grasp the idea of adornment only.
I went on to study metalwork at the Royal College of Art here in London. I really enjoyed getting into the zone of problem-solving that doesn’t involve only the body but involves other functional problems. What is really important to me, and that comes possibly from my dyslexia, is that metal has become my first language. I feel most fluent and able to express myself through metal.
I have a greater vocabulary – in the choices of materials, form and function – and it’s an embodied understanding that I have with this material.”