Maral Mamaghanizadeh describes her successful application to Steamhouse the Birmingham maker space

I have just completed my first Arts council commissioned R&D project; “If you want to be alive…read my lips” which was a project grant of £15,000 to research and work with bone china and be mentored by a bone china artist to use the material to make decorative ear jewellery that is designed to be worn and enjoyed, but the experience of wearing the jewellery is to give the wearer an experience of hearing loss and gain greater empathy and understanding of the Deaf community. STEAMhouse enabled me to host a ‘happening’ event to the STEAMhouse and wider deaf and artistic communities to wear my jewellery and take part in an event that tests the effectiveness of the jewellery and gain feedback from creatives. I have been invited to lead similar event at Autograph gallery in London, once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. I received an arts council ‘Developing your creative practise’ (DYCP) grant at the end of 2019 and it for the duration of this grant that I would like to work at STEAMhouse. The aim of the DYCP is to give me time to test more materials and to develop my jewellery making and develop accompanying workshops and happenings as these events will be essential to developing a sustainable income as an artist. My aim is move from part-time to a full-time jewellery maker and visual artist and to continue to develop my artistic polemic, The Politics of Voice. The Politics of Voice was developed as a response to the oppressive societal control in Iran, where I was born and raised, but as a result of this work, I have been forced to leave Iran and seek refugee status in the UK and now have permanent leave to remain. As a profoundly Deaf artist who cannot speak, I intend to make work that is both innovative and provocative, pushing the boundaries of materials such as bone china to create beauty, but also to inform society of hidden oppression of women and in particular Deaf women. STEAMhouse will enable me to continue to develop my research using human hair as my primary material, but to expand the range of materials I can blend hair with, creating challenging and personal jewellery.  I am particularly interested in the the 3D printing workshop and the wood workshop as my aim is to work with both organic materials, such as hair and wood, but to blend these with 3D printing techniques. I am also keen to tap into a community of innovators and makers at STEAMhouse and feel I am just starting to meet artists at STEAMhouse. Joining STEAMhouse in December has revolutionised my practise, collaborating with Sarah and exploring weaving techniques with her. I would like to rejoin and continue my membership to enable me to expand and develop The Politics of Voice, weaving and carpet making with migrant and refugee women using human hair and non-traditional weaving materials.

STEAMhouse is a centre for innovation, creative thinking, prototyping and business development. Based in the heart of Digbeth, STEAMhouse supports entrepreneurs, sole traders, companies and citizens to build their businesses, develop products and services and bring amazing new ideas to life.

Powered by Birmingham City in partnership with Eastside Projects and funded by the European Regional Development Fund, we’re driving innovation and research for major long-term growth across the region.

We bring inventors, artists, entrepreneurs, academics, designers, engineers and innovators together to develop exciting new ideas, products and services and explore how digital technologies can play a role.

Find out more about Steamhouse by downloading our information pack HERE.