Five tips to start your jewellery portfolio as a BA applicant

Many creative courses require prospective students to submit a portfolio of their work as part of their application. This helps the institute to gauge the applicant’s skill level and see whether or not they will be able to excel on their chosen course. Putting together your first portfolio can be daunting but it is really an opportunity to showcase and celebrate your creativity, as well as your passion for the subject.

British Academy of Jewellery’s BA (Hons) in Jewellery Design and Production requires a portfolio submission as part of the application process. Looking for some tips on how to get started? BAJ’s Sofie Boons has shared her top five tips on creating an impactful portfolio below, and shared a peek into her very own portfolio from when she was a student.

1. Take good images

A good portfolio starts with including a range of diverse and impactful images. A good image of an object or of a sketchbook page will show the object or page clearly and in full. You can also create compositions of your images on a page. For this, you can experiment with lighting the object in different ways to show that you are creatively exploring the object. Listen to our podcast episode with Leo Bieber for some inspiration around photographing your work.

2. Consider variety when making your selection

You only have a limited number of pages that you can submit for the portfolio. Therefore, you should select images and pages carefully. Ensure the portfolio shows your range of skills and, if you have ever worked in wood, ceramics, glass, metal, or another material, ensure you include images of this work. If you have experience sketching by hand, or working with a computer programme (2D or 3D), include a sample of this work. We want to see what you have learned and experimented with in the past, so include examples of the techniques and skills you have developed.

3. Experiment – but don’t overload

You are welcome to experiment with the compiling of your portfolio. You are free to create a portfolio that shows us who you are. Just be careful not to overload the pages. Sometimes less is more for conveying your message. A single drawing in a sketchbook can be as powerful as a compilation of images of a piece. If you have not worked in many materials before, don’t worry, just showcase what you have done in your spare time or have a go at sketching something. We want to know what level of skill you have, it is OK if you are just at the start of your creative journey.

4. Date your work

Add dates and a small description of your work and images. This helps showcase how your work has developed over time. 

5. Show us your passion for jewellery.

Last but not least, we are looking for students who are passionate about jewellery. Ask yourself – does my portfolio show that I have an interest in the subject of jewellery? If the answer is no, try to think what it is about jewellery that inspires you and try to add some of that into the portfolio. Maybe you are excited about detailed work, and your work in the past shows you spend a lot of time on perfecting small details, that is great to highlight. You do not have to have any experience making any jewellery, but if you have made something before that speaks to the subject, ensure you include it. 

BAJ’s BA (Hons) in Jewellery Design and Production is a future-facing jewellery course which will set up students for a wide variety of careers in the jewellery and creative industries. The course mixes practical jewellery making with business skills, theory, design, and more and our next course begins in September, 2023. Enquire here.

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