Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Escape to the Cotswolds

A few weeks ago The husband and me went for a little camping getaway to the cotswolds. We stayed in a fantastic campsite in Slimbridge. Having arrived in the brilliant sunshine we get out our tent and just that moment the heavens open and down comes the rain. Torrential rain. There was so much rain in fact that once we actually managed to get the tent up I had to bail out 23 mugfuls of rainwater that had nicely gathered INSIDE the tent. 

Anyway once we were all set up looking out over a field full of sheep, watching the geese fly overhead and hearing the squawks of the flamingos over at the wetlands we relaxed quite nicely! 

If you are ever down that way I recommend visiting the Wetlands, and if your a big child at heart like me then I definitely recommend in shelling out the £1 to buy some bird feed oh and spending a little more money on getting lost on the canoe safari. 

My husband had some great entertainment watching me wade through a steam determined to retrieve myself a beautiful flamingo feather. I got a few strange looks and scratched my arm up all in the name of collecting. 

The fruits of my madness. 

These feathers may come in handy for a new line of products I hope to make in the near future. I will reveal all soon i promise. 

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Chair Stories...

In the last post I talked about the stories left by visitors that got involved with my work at the Contemporary Craft Festival, Devon. 

I finally got them all uploaded to my website today so come on over and have a nose at them! 

Monday, 1 July 2013

The Curiosity Chair

Collections and those that Collect them fascinate me, and reoccur often as the basis for my work. Their obsessive nature makes for a pretty interesting character trait that resonates with so many of us. 

With my latest work, The curiosity chair, I wanted to create a piece that would conjure up a character in peoples minds, and encourage them to create their own story about the history of this unusual chair. 

This piece was a massive undertaking for me as I have not done a great deal of carpentry before, and this involved many different techniques, as well as upholstering with leather for the first time. Time was the other massive factor in the making of this piece as I wanted somewhere to show the chair where people could interact with it and contribute to the piece by way of their own story, as part of Hothouse we were offered to exhibit as the Contemporary Craft Festival in Devon, and I decided this would be an interesting place to engage with the public. I asked visitors to write down their own stories about the chairs origin and stick them up on my story wall.

My story wall filled up as the weekend went on. 

It was fantastic to see all the different reactions I got from people at the festival from all ages, from looks of pure wonder, to confusion, even to anger!

I am currently working on a way to use all the great stories I collected, so if you have your own story you would like to add to my collection, about the history of the chair, who owned it? what did they keep in it? where was it kept? please contact me here

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Sentimental? Me? Never!

Everyone has at least one of those objects, you know the one, the thing that is pretty useless but for some reason you just can’t get rid of it. Every time you clean out your house somehow it survives the cull. 

I have many, many objects like this. Things I just can’t bring myself to throw away. Like many girls, given the opportunity I would have a wardrobe full of shoes! Except mine might look a little different to what you might imagine a shoe wonderland to look like, there are no pristine boxes or glossy high heels. No, mine are old, a bit grotty and unusable unless you like cold, wet feet. 

My Bertie’s. I actually have an older, grottier pair of shoes, but I have a particular soft spot for these. They have survived even the strictest of spring cleans. I would have even more old pairs of unusable shoes if I had more space, and my mum hadn’t thrown several pairs away when I was living with her. My poor nine west school shoes *sob*. 

Who knows why I have a strange attachment to these? Perhaps they have too much character for me to say goodbye. Maybe they have too many stories to tell? Either way I’m glad I hung on to them, because I am going to use them as a starting point for a new project. For this project I need people like you!

Do YOU have such an object or objects? I want to know about them. I am looking for people who are willing to show me their ‘I just can’t get rid of them’ objects, have themselves and these objects photographed (preferably in the place they are generally kept) and have a conversation about these objects. 

This information will then be used as a starting point or directly as part of an installation that will take place later on this year. 

If you are interested in being a part of this project, or know someone who is please contact me HERE with the Subject 'My Object'

For practical reasons I am mainly looking for people within the UK but if you are outside the UK and are interested please contact me and we can discuss options for getting involved.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Studio Sweet Studio

In November I took the plunge and got myself a studio which, as I live in a little one bedroom flat (with no space for all my stuff let alone a workspace) really was a necessity if I wanted to carry on making. I’m really quite a worrier when it comes to money so I doubt I would have started to rent a space so soon had it not been for Hothouse, but I don’t regret it one bit. I can’t even begin to explain how good it feels to have somewhere of my own to work and make a complete mess (although I surprise myself with how tidy and clean my studio is!).

This seems to be where I spend most of my time at the moment, writing proposals and doing admin and design work. Hopefully soon more of my time will be spent making.

My amazing shelving unit which my wonderful father in law and husband kindly made for me from my doodle on the back of an envelope!

All important tea making facilities.

Yearly planner of awesomeness. 


Monday, 18 February 2013

An Alternative view of the Horniman

Last Saturday I dragged the other half out, in the pouring rain to go to the Horniman Museum. He is pretty used to being taken around exhibitions and museums by now; hearing me waffle on about new idea's in the process. Luckily for him he is not embarrassed to stand there while I take pictures of things that I'm quite sure the museum never intended to be photographed (mostly because he grew up with his dad doing the same thing!)

Firstly I would like to apologise for the poor photographs, I remembered to take my camera with me but unfortunately managed to leave the memory card in my laptop and so I had to take all the following images on my phone. 

I was mainly interested in the old part of the Horniman and apparently took no photos anywhere else! 

Here are few normal views of the museum for those that have never been before... 

The Birds...

A view from above

These are pretty creepy!

Half and Half

What we're not meant to focus on...

                                  Nothingness....                                         The case of the invisible crab

The missing 'A'

Threat of theft?

Bad Sun.


In and Out - where do these doors go??

I would really love to do a whole project based on this. Hmmm... now how to convince the museum to let me loose?

Friday, 15 February 2013

Telling Tales

A long time ago (only about 2 and half years actually, but it feels like forever) I made some glasses for a project for uni, they were pretty well received so I decided to turn them into jewellery and see if they would sell. As much as I originally liked them, and did sell a few I was never that of proud of them.

I already had a few idea's on how to improve them to something I could be proud of and when Shire Hall Gallery contacted me about being part of an exhibition I decided it was time to actually do it!

Introducing the 'Telescope Brooch' and the 'Monocle necklace'...

I'm not planning on making more of these for the time being as I want to concentrate on my installation work and getting my practice up and running so get them while you can! They are available from my Etsy or Folksy stores (as they are one offs there are different ones listed on the different sites).

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Hothouse 3

Back in Oct/Nov I received an email telling me I had been selected for the Craft Council's Hothouse scheme. I have attempted to explain what Hothouse is many times now and I'm really not very good at explaining it so I'm going to use the Crafts Council's explanation instead!

Hothouse is a sequential core programme over a six month period, and it’s led by expert trainers and experienced practicing makers. The programme comprises: group sessions on developing business skills, market knowledge and creativity; networking events which bring participants together as a national group; support from a peer buddy from a past cohort; 1:1 sessions with a specialist mentor from the sector.

So far I've participated in three sessions, all quite intense! My view of my business and where I want to push myself has pretty much completely changed already so who knows what I'll be doing by the end of it!

Anyway thats enough of me rambling, Here is a good overview of all this years Hothouser's and their work;

Hothouse 3

Monday, 11 February 2013

Final Major Project

It's a bit overdue but here is an overview of my final major project from university. I can't quite believe that I started this project exactly a year ago and I'm only just posting about it, but if i don't post now I probably never will!

I decided that I wanted research to be a big part of my project, so I was looking for a collection of objects that had an interesting history, and I came across The Foundling Museum Tokens

* as a side note there is currently an exhibition of these tokens at the Foundling Museum, worth a look (I haven't managed to get there yet but am hoping to go this week) follow the link above to read about these tokens.

What was most interesting about these tokens was not the objects themselves or even the stories behind them, although that was the lure of them to start with, it was people's reaction to them that most excited me.

I decided to explore this in my own pieces, so I chose an object, a child's chair and decided to recreate this object over and over, using different materials and processes, and then exhibit them as a group to see what people's reaction would be to each object.
Mary J (Spineless), 2012, digitally printed fabric, foam, cotton filler

Richard Lawrence (Bruised and Broken) 2012, Porcelain, Steel mesh, beeswax, sealing wax
Elizebeth Slipton (Make do and Mend), 2012, Stoneware, gold resin.

Susanna Bickerton (No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk), 2012, Porcelain, Beeswax

Broken Chair, 2012, Porcelain, Beeswax

My installation at New Designers with 6 of my chairs, including 4 of those shown above plus one made with brown paper (back left) and wax (back middle)

Some people reacted very strongly to certain chairs, the fabric chair probably had the funniest reactions when people realised it wasn't made of burnt wood, one guy even had a go at me for 'tricking' him!

Wow, I guess leaving this post this long has it's benefits. If I had written this just after doing the project this description would have been much, much longer!