ukhandmade Spring 2018
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Welcome... ... to our Spring issue. After a long and dreary winter, the sun has finally made an appearance, the birds are singing and flowers are blooming. Celebrate the season with us and discover gloriously colourful clogs, illustrative ceramics, sustainable design, beautiful jewellery and environmentally-conscious art, all alongside our regular selection of fabulous finds, features and events.
Editor & Designer/Maker
Artist & Graphic Designer www.karenjinks.co.uk
Writer, Columnist & Curator www.ruthiecollins.co.uk
UK Handmade Magazine www.ukhandmade.co.uk Copyright ÂŠ UK Handmade LTD 2018. All rights reserved. Reproduction or redistribution in whole or in parts without written permission is strictly prohibited. The editorâ€™s decision on all printed material is final. Unsolicited work is accepted but does not guarantee inclusion into the final edition. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of UK Handmade or the editor.
PR Consultant & Journalist www.scottishfestivalspr.org
Creative Director/Graphic Design: Karen Jinks firstname.lastname@example.org Editor: Bebe Bradley email@example.com Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Events: email@example.com
FRONT COVER: JACKIE LEGGETT; BACK COVER: KAREN JINKS
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6 WE LOVE
our editor’s picks from around the UK
14 JACKIE LEGGETT
discover how clog-maker Jackie Leggett brings this ancient skill into the 21st Century
26 THE YARNFULNESS PROJECT a brand new research project to explore how craft can help improve our mental health
30 LAURA LANE CERAMICS
fun and quirky ceramics that conjure up tales of the sea by Cornwall-based Laura Lane
40 SPRING FLING
save the date and visit Scotland’s premier open studios event this May
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48 ELSIEM JEWELLERY unique contemporary jewellery, inspired by architecture and minimal design
60 MADE LONDON visit Canary Wharf’s East Wintergarden to buy direct from 90 makers and designers
a new gallery opens in King’s Lynn with the environment at heart
72 DESIGN-NATION as part of London Craft Week, this diverse exhibition is called ‘Head, Hand and Heart’, based on the thoughts of Victorian art critic John Ruskin
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JUSTINE ALLISON porcelain vessels, enquiries at www.justineallison.com
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CHAO & EERO ‘Spark’ stud earrings, enquiries at www.chaoandeero.com
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PERRYMANS coffee table, enquiries at www.perrymansdesign.com
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VEZZINI & CHEN ‘Fragments’ limited edition, collection of 3 hand-carved porcelain vases, enquiries at www.vezziniandchen.com
JOSIE WALTER decorated earthenware pottery, enquiries at www.josiewalter.co.uk 10 | ukhandmade spring 2018
LIZZIE FAREY ‘Indomitus’ sculpture, enquiries at www.lizziefarey.co.uk ukhandmade spring 2018 | 11
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GIZELLA K WARBURTON sculptural textile vessels, enquiries at www.gizellakwarburton.co.uk
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JACKIE LEGGETT Following in her great-grandfatherâ€™s footsteps, clogmaker Jackie Leggett has brought this ancient craft bang up to date with her modern, bright and fun designs. Interview by Karen Jinks
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I was so pleased to stumble upon Jackie Loves Clogs. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello! I’m Jackie Leggett the designer/maker behind Jackie Loves Clogs. I was brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria, but now live in Leicester with my husband in an old cottage in the city, where I’ve cultivated a small productive cottage garden, even down to Doris and Dolly, our egg laying hens, who are now my companions outside the workshop (and sometimes in), where I make my clogs. 16 | ukhandmade spring 2018
I understand you are carrying on something of a family tradition; explain to us why you became a clogmaker? There was no getting away from shoes and making when I was growing up. My dad had a shoe factory producing women’s footwear; this was a great playground and I spent all my weekends and holidays there, helping out and learning how shoes were made in the sample department. By the age of 13, I decided I wanted to be a shoe designer, so after doing an Art Foundation course at Cumbria College of Art & Design, I went on to do the BA (Hons) Footwear degree at Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University). Footwear was also on my mam’s side of the family; my great-grandfather had a traditional clog shop in Maryport, Cumbria, and she remembers playing out in the street wearing kid’s clogs that he had made. This inspired me to research traditional British working clogs for my final degree show, and this formed the basis for the clogs I produce now. After graduating, my clog range was shown at the New Designers exhibition where fashion designer Helen Storey noticed them and asked if I could produce them to go with her next collection. Always up for a challenge and a wish to be a selfemployed designer, I developed my own wooden clog sole and a size range of lasts so I could start making them to sell. How have you developed your designs compared to the ones your great-grandfather made? I like to play with traditional shoe details and exaggerate them, such as lacing, fastenings and broguing. Appling these ideas to clogs, I developed the wooden sole to have more curves and better rock, which I feel makes them more comfortable
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for walking with good posture. Uncomfortable footwear is a bit of a bug bear of mine. Mine are more decorative pieces of footwear, but still with the solid, long-lasting, workman-like features of the clogs made by my great-grandfather. For instance, I might put a colourful full-leather lining in and cut patterns into the rubber corkers which get nailed on to the wooden sole. He would also have used irons to protect the wood from wearing down, which I don’t. What is your favourite style of clog to make? My favourites are my Seed Pod boots in turquoise leather, although I’ve recently sampled it in red leather with a pink lining. 18 | ukhandmade spring 2018
Do you do commissioned work, if so what has been your most interesting request? I love doing commission work. Most of my clogs are made to order so it’s easy to customise the clogs for individual requests. Recently I made a mismatched pair of flower ‘one bar’ clogs, with each foot having different colour upper leather and linings; one foot pink and the other purple - such fun! Please tell us about your workspace / studio. I work from home and have two workshops in the garden. In one, I have my trusty old Singer 236 post sewing machine, where I make all the leather uppers for the clogs. Just outside is an old apple tree so it’s really nice to work with the door open in
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the summer; some of our garden birds visit me there. I inherited some shoe machinery from my dadâ€™s manufacturing days and this resides in workshop number two. I tend to do my sole prepping and lasting of the leather upper to the wooden sole in here. Can you describe the techniques involved in making clogs? Working on my own I do all of the processes, starting with the cutting of the patterns, then I cut the leather by hand. I sew and put together the uppers, creating grooving detail in simple lines on some styles by scoring the leather with a handstitching grooving tool. One of my favourite processes is attaching the uppers to the sole, which I do by sticking the last on top of the wooden sole, then heating and moulding the upper to take the shape of the last while securing it with staples. I put the decorative nails and little colourful details on, then leave the last in for a day or so, to set the shape. What are your favourite tools of the trade? My hammer. I have one in particular thatâ€™s quite old, but the weight and handle length I find very satisfying to use. What does the term handmade mean to you? A considered, happy design, and skilled quality workmanship which reveals the character and personality of the maker. Something thatâ€™s been made with love. ukhandmade spring 2018 | 21
Who or what is influencing you right now? I’ve always been influenced by 20th century British youth cultures, growing up in the 1970s, and 80s punk and Two-tone ska always inspired me. I like the way traditional garments and objects would be repurposed to create a new look. I’m also a bit of a magpie where bright colours are concerned, and find ideas in nature from the garden or the wild that inspire shape or colour combinations. Who are your favourite artists and designers? A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to be asked to be a brand ambassador for fashion designer Gudrun Sjoden, who I greatly admire for her use of colour and bold graphic patterns. I really appreciate her business and design ethos, how pieces from different collections can be combined, giving longevity to the clothes. I like the idea of clothes and footwear never being ‘in fashion’ or ever out of fashion. I aspire to this concept in my own work. I also like Vivienne Westwood, Issey Miyake for his striking silhouettes, and the early work of Salvatore Ferragamo who was a truly inventive shoe designer in his day. Do you ever have creative blocks and, if so, how do you work through them? Who doesn’t! Simply walk away and do something else for a while and it’ll come. I have a small notebook that I jot down sketches and ideas for designs when they come to me, referring to this can help. What advice would you give someone looking to start a creative business? Stick to doing what you love and don’t get side-tracked doing what you think other people will want. Never stop pushing your designs. What was the best advice someone ever gave to you? Not everybody is going to like your work. 22 | ukhandmade spring 2018
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What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects to what you do? The most rewarding thing is when I see people try on the clogs and they realise how fun and comfortable they are to wear. The most frustrating is marketing. If you had the chance to learn a new creative skill, what would it be? Recently I did a beginner’s pottery course. I’ve always had a thing for mugs and bowls, so I’d love to learn more and make my own. I guess it’s an extension of developing designs in 3D. Describe your perfect day… That would depend on the seasons. In spring, a warm day in the garden planting seeds with my hens; in summer, getting an early train to London and heading for Gudrun Sjoden’s shop to try on the new collection. In autumn, a crisp day kicking fallen leaves in the park, and in winter, a bright cold day walking up a hill in Cumbria. What are your goals for the future? To continue making and designing my clogs, hopefully adding a new lower sole to the collection. Where can we see your work? I sell my clogs from my website. This spring, I’ll also be taking my clogs on tour. You’ll find me at Kirstie Allsop’s Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire from May 11th – 13th and at The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracy from June 8th – 10th.
For more information, visit: www.jackielovesclogs.co.uk To follow, visit: www.facebook.com/jackielovesclogs www.twitter.com/jackieloveclogs www.instagram.com/jackielovesclogs Images courtesy of Jackie Leggett and Gudrun Sjoden
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THE YARNFULNESS PROJECT
by Emma Palmer-Cooper and Anne Ferrey
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CREATIVE PROJECTS CAN be a welcome diversion from the stresses and annoyances of daily life. Those of us who knit or crochet often intuitively feel that this has a positive effect on our lives – whether it is due to the joy of creating, the fun of learning something new or the triumph of finally mastering a difficult pattern. But is there any scientific evidence that crafting has positive benefits? This question interested us, as researchers who are also crafters, and it’s a question we’ve been asked by members of the public, who often have a vague sense that crafting might lead to positive results but wonder whether there is scientific evidence. People who enjoy knitting or crocheting have told us that the repetitive nature of the craft can feel quite meditative and that they find it helps them with stress relief. Some people have compared it to mindfulness or meditation, which are certainly linked to positive mental health benefits. We looked at the scientific literature to see what kind of evidence has been collected. One research group did an international survey of knitters* and found that they reported health and wellbeing benefits, including happiness, feelings of calm and increased social contact for those who did their knitting in a group setting. However, not much work has been done on why this might be, or what physical effects might be related to this feeling of calm (lowered heart rate? Lowered blood pressure? A decrease in stress hormones?) We thought it would be interesting to dig into this a little more deeply. For example, there are several ways that knitting or crochet could help mental health – by distracting from stressful thoughts, by fostering socialisation, by encouraging creativity or by helping people to
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Before we start looking at specific research questions, we want to talk to as many crafters as possible to find out whether people feel that crafting helps their mental or physical health and, if so, what kinds of benefits it seems to bring. We also want to know what research questions are the most important to crafters, and would like to recruit a few people to help us design the research so it is more likely to answer the questions that are important to people who knit or crochet. Our goal is to use this feedback to help direct the research and make sure we address the most relevant questions. We’ve put together a website to gather feedback about this research and about peoples’ experiences of crafting. If you are interested in this line of research, you can keep up to date with the project on the Yarnfulness website. We’d love to hear from as many people as possible, so please get in touch with us and have your say. stay focused on the present – but we don’t yet have solid evidence for any of these. One way that knitting or crochet might have a positive impact is by encouraging a state of ‘flow’. The term ‘flow’ has been used by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihlayi to describe an altered mental state brought on by concentrating on a challenging task. It is a state of complete absorption in the task in which the outside world seems to disappear, as attention is focused entirely on the task at hand. It’s clear that such a state could lead to a pleasant feeling of joy in the work and relief from stresses and worries. Indeed, even if the project does not take up all of your attention, focusing closely on a creative task could break the loop of negative thoughts that is common in depression or anxiety. 28 | ukhandmade spring 2018
For more information, visit: www.yarnfulnessproject.org *Riley J, Corkhill B, Morris C. The Benefits of Knitting for Personal and Social Wellbeing in Adulthood: Findings from an International Survey. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 2013; 76(2): 50-7. Images courtesy of Emma Palmer-Cooper and Anne Ferrey
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LAURA LANE CERAMICS From her organic smallholding in South East Cornwall, Laura Lane creates contemporary ceramics that embrace the spirit of her rural landscape and the past generations of storytellers who have lived and worked there. Interview by Karen Jinks
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Who is Laura Lane Ceramics? I am a 30-something mum to 3 children and, with my husband, we live and work on our organic smallholding in beautiful South East Cornwall. Please tell us about your background; have you always been a ceramicist? No. I had my first child at the young age of 21. At the time we were growing veg, doing farmers’ markets and living a slightly alternative lifestyle (we still are really) but three children later, I found that although life was crazy busy there was still something missing. So, I bought my other half a Jamie Oliver cookbook and a pinny, and I went to college to do an access course in art. Do you have any formal training? After I completed the access course, I went to Plymouth Uni to do a 3D Design degree. I knew I wanted to be a maker and this allowed me to play with materials like wood, metal and ceramics. I’d really not had any experience with clay until this point and I fell in love with all things clay! Industrial slipcasting and mould making, hand building and throwing. By the time I reached the end of my BA, I felt like I was so close to where I wanted to be but I hadn’t quite nailed it. I was lucky enough to be able to complete a Masters in Design, again at Plymouth Uni. This helped me to find a process and way of pulling together all the key elements of my work. I love the quirkiness of your pieces; they tell a real story. What is the inspiration behind your designs? All of my designs and illustrations are inspired by folktales. I also love slightly more contemporary tales and they all relate to real places or people. 32 | ukhandmade spring 2018
How important is your local environment in terms of creating a strong brand for your business? This is absolutely key to my work. I use local materials as well as site-specific narratives. It means that my work is honest and I know where my materials come from. I collect my clay from St Agnes where there has been a shallow clay pit from medieval times. But more than this, it’s about my own sense of ethics. I feel exactly this way about my food too!
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What is your favourite piece so far? I think it has to be the folk clock, partly because I get to work with my best mate who makes the gorgeous, hand cut brass clock hands. Do you do take commissions? If so, what has been your most interesting request? I do take commissions if they work within my framework! Just before Christmas, I made a mug for a lady’s daughter who worked on a refugee ship, saving lives. It was a lady sailor with an Aquarius symbol (the name of the ship) and waves on the back. Tell us about your workspace. So in the summer of 2016, I was sitting in bed with a cup of tea, worrying about how Brexit might affect my business, when my daughter shouted “Mumma, the barn’s on fire!!!”. In the space of 30 minutes, it was pretty much burnt to the ground. Both my husband (an agricultural engineer) and myself watched our livelihoods go up in flames. I had just bought a new kiln and whilst moving the other kiln, the top bung was removed and the heat from the kiln set the mezzanine floor alight. Since then I’ve been working at the kitchen table whilst the rebuilding takes place, and we’ve just started on my workshop. Foolishly, we didn’t have insurance so it’s been quite a task to rebuild. I will, however, get a purpose built pottery that suits my needs and we’ve separated the buildings just in case!
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Can you describe the techniques you employ to get the designs onto your pieces? I use a technique called sgraffito. I brush a slip on to the pots and then scratch through my designs. It’s a lot like doing a linocut. Do you keep sketchbooks? How important are they to you in developing your style? I did. Unfortunately, I lost them in the fire but I always sketch out my designs. What are your favourite tools of the trade? Well really it has to be my hands and my wheel. I have favourite tools for different jobs, so there’s a tool I like best for each. I love my Mudtools, cheese wire and sponges, and my red-handled glazing tongues. What does the term handmade mean to you? For me, handmade means quality, knowing who makes it and where it has come from. It means supporting small businesses and independent makers, that create bespoke, thoughtful products. Who or what is influencing you right now? Wow, this is hard! There are so many people that I admire but I wouldn’t say that I am influenced by them. The thing that really influences me, bizarrely, is the weather. Being rural and being out in all weathers, looking after the horses or sheep, totally exposes you to the changing seasons. At the moment, all the crocuses and daff’s are flowering and the result is that I’ve been making quite a few seedling and crow pieces! 36 | ukhandmade spring 2018
Who are your favourite artists and designers? Again, really hard. I’m a big fan of Ken Eardly ceramics, it’s bold and colourful. Hannah Batstone’s jewellery is simple and beautiful. I also really love the work of Australian potter Bridget Bodenham too. I really like a LOT of Australian artists’ and designers’ work. Do you ever have creative blocks? If so, how do you work through them? Yes for sure. Sometimes I just need to do other stuff and I’ve learnt that there is simply no point in forcing yourself to do something when you are really not in the right frame of mind. I go for walks, do stuff with the children, eat well and give myself space. This means not touching clay for a few days. I often end up doing something else creative, like making curtains or painting. What advice would you give someone looking to start a creative business? Just go for it, but seriously think about what makes your creative business different from the next. Authenticity is the key. What was the best advice someone gave you? I was at a craft fair opposite Poppy Treffry (Cornish super-stitcher, business woman and all round good egg) who gave me some great advice about having something in various price brackets and clear price labels. Whilst doing my MA, I met one of the only female Cornish fishmongers (Pengelleys in Looe), and she told me just how valuable the local environment is. It struck me what an important part her heritage, family culture and place, played in her business. In fact, it was far deeper than just a USP ukhandmade spring 2018 | 37
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What are your goals for the future? My main goal for the foreseeable future is just to get my new studio up and operational - it’s all about achievable goals! Where can we see your work? My next event is The Contemporary Craft Fair in June. You can find my work in a selection of galleries: Blue Bramble Gallery in St Ives, Mulberry Tree Gallery in Swanage, Baxters in Dartmouth and Lantic Gallery in Tiverton are just a few. You can follow me on Instagram to see regular updates too! For more information, visit: www.lauralane.co.uk (unique selling point), it was an incredibly powerful and emotional rationale for her particular lifestyle. It was part of her identity, not just as a business woman but as an individual.
To follow, visit: www.instagram.com/lauralaneceramics Images courtesy of Laura Lane
What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects to what you do? Ceramics is endlessly frustrating! No joke, sometimes it just does its own thing. However there is nothing more rewarding than opening a gently warm kiln full of beautifully glazed ceramics! If you had the chance to learn a new creative skill, what would it be? I think it would have to be letterpress. I really like fonts. I’ve touched on screen-printing at uni and would like to do more of this too. Describe your perfect day… A perfect day would be able to work without interruptions! ukhandmade spring 2018 | 39
26th - 28th May 2018 www.spring-fling.co.uk by Matthew Shelley
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ONE OF LIZZIE FAREY’S great pleasures in life is harvesting her own willow, ready for drying and weaving into the delicate sculptures that have earned her an international reputation. Most of the other materials she uses, such as larch, heather, bog myrtle, hazel, ash or birch, are all readily available in the landscape near her cottage in the small village of Rhonehouse. Lizzie is one of the 86 specially selected artists and makers who visitors can meet and talk to during Spring Fling, Scotland’s premier open studios weekend, which takes place across Dumfries and Galloway from the 26th to the 28th May. Like so many of the participants, Lizzie’s work is inspired by the natural beauty of this sparsely populated southwest Scottish region, with its abundant wildlife, seemingly endless coastline, vast skyscapes, mountains, moors, forests and gentle farmland. Local lore has it that there are more artists per head of population here than anywhere else in Scotland. True or not, the abundance of talent is undeniable. Each year, thousands of visitors seize the opportunity for a Bank Holiday break that allows them to enjoy everything from superb ceramics, jewellery, glassmaking and textiles to painting, original printmaking and photography. Many say they would love to learn more and try their hands at some of the art and craft forms on show. This year, five Spring Flingers, all accomplished in their fields, will be offering intimate workshops and classes either side of the event. Amongst them is wildlife and landscape artist John Threlfall, who is based in the secluded village of Rockliffe, with its charming beach and cliff top walks along the Solway Firth. Although well known for his oil paintings, his first love is pastels and it’s the secrets of this medium that he is keen to share.
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“For me, art is about mark-making and there is no better mark-making medium than pastels. It’s a very fun and immediate way of working. You are using pure pigment and it goes straight down on the paper, so you can establish an image very quickly,” he explains. John finds it ideal when he’s out in the field and wants to capture a scene at any of his favourite haunts like Carstramon Wood at Gatehouse of Fleet, where he goes when the bluebells are out, or the RSPB reserve at Mersehead for the lapwings in April. Sometimes he develops the spontaneous pastel images into large oil paintings back at his studio. A former ski instructor and one-time employee of the British Geological Society, he was drawn to Dumfries and Galloway a quarter of a century ago because of its remarkable environment. John 42 | ukhandmade spring 2018
says, “We have woodlands and moors, we have mountains with golden eagles, and the least polluted major estuary in Western Europe. In winter, I love the way you have the wild geese coming in through the wild skies of the estuary.” In addition to the joy of creating art and wandering the countryside (it’s hard to find him at home for much of the year) John also has a strong sense of mission. “If there’s a role for me on this earth, it’s to open people’s eyes to the glories all around us. It’s not about looking, it’s not about painting, it’s about opening your eyes and seeing. The world out there is such a beautiful and wonderful place.” He is also concerned about wildlife conservation and this year will probably put some focus on the region’s red squirrel population (threatened by the onward march of the greys) in his work for Spring Fling.
Jewellery maker Lisa Rothwell-Young, from the small town of Langholm, also has a strong commitment to ethics and beauty. She will run a class for two people where they can design and create their own silver ring, learning to use a jeweller’s saw, to solder, texture and polish, culminating in a piece of work to wear and cherish. Lisa is part of the ethical sourcing movement among jewellery makers and only works with Fairmined or recycled metals, and with stones that have a clear provenance to show they are not the product of exploitation, either of workers, the environment or are funding violence. She likes her work to have meaning, rather than just being pretty. Much of it is made to commission and she often takes pieces of jewellery that are of sentimental value and remodels them into something new. “I want to transform each piece into something unique and special, so I’ll spend time talking to clients, asking about their lives, perhaps how they met, or about the people that used to own the pieces of jewellery I’m remodeling. Together we’ll tease out the important things and use that to base a design on, giving the finished piece meaning. Everything I make has a story behind it, a reason for it being like it is. She adds, “I remember one of my customers brought her mother’s engagement ring in to see about it being remodelled. We talked about her mother, and one of the things that came from our conversation was that she loved peonies. So, the piece I created had three peonies and I reused the sapphires and diamonds from her engagement ring in the centre of each flower.” Like John Threlfall, she enjoys teaching and has run special classes where couples can make wedding rings for themselves or each other. People not only find extra meaning in something they
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have created but discover something about themselves. “There’s a creative spark in everyone and they just have to find it, for some it’s painting or poetry or singing, for others it might be jewellery making. People are fascinated by how things work, by the process, and want to try it for themselves, but sometimes they fear they will be no good at it and I say ‘let’s wait and see’. But it’s not for those seeking instant results; it takes time and patience. You need to be precise and careful.” The workshops also include the chance to join textile artist Jo Gallant who is admired for her vibrant use of colour. Her favoured materials are cottons, silks and linens, which she hand-dyes to make cushions, scarves and wall hangings. It’s work that is once again strongly influenced by her surroundings – birds, trees, mountains or even the weather. Jo will be offering the chance to try fabric bonding and stencilling, using simple shapes to create a bird design, then collage and stencilling to create it in fabric. There is also an opportunity to work with landscape photographer Phil McMenemy who describes himself as, “an artist who strives to capture the natural beauty, both literal and abstract, of this wonderful region”. Visitors can discover oil painting with the classically trained Elizabeth Gilbey who will offer guidance on drawing and composition, seeing the values of light and shade and introducing naturalistic colour. Whilst he is not running classes, sculptor Max Nowell always spends time talking to visitors about his work. Over the years, 44 | ukhandmade spring 2018
many have come to think of his cottage and garden at Auldgirth as a highlight of their weekend, returning time and again to see what’s new. Max, a former farmer and stone dyker who turned to art after working with the celebrated Andy Goldsworthy, is not only inspired by the outdoors but adorns it with his large-scale work. This year he plans a sculpture trail through the acre of woodland behind his home. Some exhibits will be fantastical like a globe carved with the continents and countries of an imagined world. Working mostly in slate or red sandstone, some pieces are so large that they have to be created in situ or transported in sections. Most are private commissions, providing compelling features in gardens and estates in the UK and overseas. Two of his favourites are public commissions. One is a 15m long piece in Lothian Park in Jedburgh commemorating the geologist James Hutton. Another is deeply poignant, again a large work, which is the centrepiece for the area of the St Michael’s cemetery in Dumfries reserved for stillborn and neonatal deaths. Max has a deep sense of connection with nature, something underlined by the story behind one of the sculpture trail pieces. “A storm split the top of an oak tree in the garden and the crack went straight through a woodpecker’s nest; it was like a section drawing. So, I have created a woodpecker’s egg in white limestone. In it there is a hole like a woodpecker’s nest.” Some of Lizzie Farey’s sculptures have also been fashioned for the outdoors, ukhandmade spring 2018 | 45
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including large and complex intertwining spheres like the one that stands near the Wasps Artists’ Studios complex in Kirkcudbright. The lovely rabbit warren of a building is a key destination during Spring Fling as it’s where Lizzie and a variety of other participants show their work during the event. This year there is even more reason to visit the town as Wasps, which is Scotland’s largest creative community and provides studios for over 800 artists and makers, is holding a special 40th birthday exhibition (including work by Lizzie) at the new Kirkcudbright Galleries in the former town hall. In addition to this, there is also A Fine Line, a diverse exhibition of printmaking, drawing, collage, sculpture and ceramics by Lizzie and fellow Scottish-based artists Frances Priest, Angie Lewin and Bronwen Sleigh, which will have transferred from Edinburgh and be on show at the Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. A fundamental quality of Lizzie’s sculptures is her adaption of ancient techniques to create delicate, often semi-abstracted pieces that sit proud from a wall, casting shadows that shift with the light. These have proved popular in high specification, architect-designed contemporary homes where she is often commissioned to create made-to-measure sculptures that suit non-traditional angles and spaces far better than a painting in a rectangular frame. With fixings so fine that the sculptures appear to be floating, there is an appealingly playful three-dimensionality about Lizzie’s work and the way she uses willow with the same precise delicacy as many artists use a drawn line.
Despite the sense of modernity, much is rooted in her family’s past. An upbringing in places like rural Worcestershire and memories of ‘Mum’ planting raspberry canes have proved indelible and indeed, Lizzie has a range entitled My Mother’s Garden. It was this background that spurred the sculptor to create a vegetable garden of her own and to weave the natural world into her own artistic practice. Rural Dumfries and Galloway has proved ideal, with everything she requires to live and work, and no need to jump into a car and drive to a city centre for art supplies. “If I suddenly realise that I need some lichen for a piece, then all I have to do is pull on my wellies, go out into the countryside and walk until I find what I need.” For more information, visit: www.spring-fling.co.uk
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Elsiem Jewellery Working from her studio in Cambridge, Lorraine Hitt creates elegant, timeless pieces of jewellery, inspired by architecture and her love of minimal design. Interview by Karen Jinks
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Who is Elsiem Jewellery? I am Lorraine Hitt, director, designer and jewellery maker. I create stylish, contemporary and simple forms using various materials and mediums. Please tell us about your background; have you always been a jeweller? No, but Iâ€™ve always been a designer spanning a few disciplines throughout my 28 year career. I left school and trained as a graphic designer, obtaining a City & Guilds, and landed myself a placement at a small design studio where I became junior designer for a couple of years. I then decided that 2D design wasnâ€™t enough for me so I expanded my training and later became designer and production manager at a signwriters, where I designed and applied vinyl cut and printed graphics to shop fronts/vehicles/signage/POS, etc. 50 | ukhandmade spring 2018
On the arrival of my son, I took a short time out of work then returned to college and gained a distinction in a National Diploma for Interior and 3D Design. Following my qualification, I started as a freelance conceptual visual designer and quickly progressed to an architectural interior designer, which led to being a partner in a small company, designing and project managing both commercial and residential projects nationally, specialising in bar and restaurant design. However it was during my Diploma course, when I was awarded a silver award for my jewellery shop display and interior design two years consecutively, presented by The Goldsmithsâ€™ Company, which fuelled my passion for jewellery design - plus I always had a natural desire to hand craft, so the transition from my interior to my jewellery design business was an intuitive move.
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Do you have any formal training? Yes, in several design disciplines as mentioned before, which have all proved invaluable in all areas of building my jewellery business. Regarding jewellery making, I was taught metalsmith skills and techniques by a very experienced jeweller over a two-year period, and also self-taught and developed those vital skills in my workshop. Your jewellery has a very strong, graphic style, what is the inspiration behind your designs? I find myself naturally designing pieces that I would wear myself and I get inspired by small elements in other simple forms of architectural, product, graphic, and sculptural designs which I extract and develop in my own style. The material, medium and technique that I am experimenting with at the time, also influence my designs. How important is good branding and photography in selling your items? Imperative. Obviously any product needs to be photographed at its best; visual opulence sells most things but jewellery needs some special attention due to its reflective and small-scale detail. I’ve found that adding a lifestyle image helps enormously too; a person modelling your design always enables the customer to imagine them wearing it. I’ve been on a steep learning curve with this skill and I’m still developing it now, as I’m not a trained photographer and not currently in a position to hire a professional every time I want to sell and promote. Also, I’ve learned that people like familiarity where branding is concerned, they generally need to trust and know the brand and the product behind the brand before investing 52 | ukhandmade spring 2018
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their money, so threading your image across all promotional platforms is important – albeit you may tweak and rebrand from time to time to keep it fresh. Do you do commissioned work, if so what has been your most interesting request? Yes and I welcome it if I feel my style of work will do their request justice. I’ve had some lovely commissions with enormous sentimentality attached. They include a lady’s late husband’s white gold wedding band, remodelled into a necklace; another was a late Grandmother’s topaz set necklace remodelled into a contemporary silver necklace setting. Both customers were very 54 | ukhandmade spring 2018
emotional when I presented the finished piece, which makes it all worthwhile for me. My biggest challenge so far was to design and make a silver contemporary pendant setting for a large piece of Blue John, which is not only quite a rare stone but very fragile; the shape was awkward and to add to the pressure it was left to my customer by her late best friend. However, the result was, in fact, one of my best pieces of workmanship to date! Tell us about your workspace. Until very recently, I was working from my tiny spare bedroom at home in Cambridge and, frustratingly, I grew out of it a long time ago. Finally, within the
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appreciated and connected to the customer in a way, and that is priceless to me. Who or what is influencing you right now? The same things that have always been an underlying influence; simplicity with a understated touch of something different and always stylish!
last month, I expanded and moved into a large reception room in the house, which was formally used as a general dumping ground and had no purpose. I designed my space and my husband has kindly built a bespoke jeweller’s bench and workspace. I love it, my ‘woman’s cave’. What are your favourite tools of the trade? Although it’s a noisy, filthy job, I love using my polishers and compound. Seeing the dull firestained metal shine and come to life gives me great satisfaction. What does the term handmade mean to you? Something handmade almost has the maker’s identity ingrained. Their skill, passion, love and soul are in the piece. I think that’s why I initially found it uncomfortable promoting and selling my designs, in fear of them being rejected which I felt was a personal rejection because it was part of me. On the positive side of that though, when I’ve designed and handcrafted a commissioned piece for someone and received such an overwhelming emotional response, I have felt so proud, valued, 56 | ukhandmade spring 2018
Who are your favourite artists/designers? From my studying days, I was drawn to Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, especially his architecture. For many years I have loved the work of Karim Rashid, and both his interior and product design has inspired my work. The work of both these designers is generally simple, clever forms, sometimes geometric and I guess quite masculine, which I emulate in my work. I am in awe of a very current jewellery designer called Evgeniia Balashova. I love her 3D printed designs and she inspires me to want to venture into a similar technique in the near future. Do you ever have creative blocks, if so how do you work through them? Oh yes! Usually when I feel under pressure to produce something impressive for a particular
event, person or collection. I have a habit of convincing myself that whatever I design isn’t quite impressive enough, so my creative mind shuts down. I usually overcome it by being inspired by other people’s work and researching new jewellery components or findings which can sometimes spark an idea. Once I feel that I’m on to something exciting, I can’t put it down until I’ve perfected it. What advice would you give someone looking to start a creative business? There is a lot of advice I could offer based on my experiences (too many to mention). However, if I had to choose one, it would be to never underestimate the power of networking with your fellow creatives, which in turn can also open doors with relevant non-creatives too. Also, helping and encouraging others, that goes a long way. What was the best advice someone ever gave to you? You are your brand, so you have to believe in yourself in order for others to believe in your brand.
What are the most rewarding and most frustrating aspects to what you do? As I mentioned before, the overwhelming response from a commissioning customer when you present the finished piece, and seeing people wearing my designs, is very rewarding. Frustration comes when I’m working on a new design in the workshop and I realise it’s not going to work quite as imagined and I’ve spent many hours developing it and wasted materials. I appreciate this happens in most creative processes from time to time and mistakes have taught me lessons too but gosh, it’s frustrating at the time. If you had the chance to learn a new creative skill, what would it be? CAD designing jewellery and 3D printing them. It’s on my list to do! ukhandmade spring 2018 | 57
Describe your perfect dayâ€Ś It would start with an early morning walk with my dog, followed by a morning in my workshop designing and creating, then meeting some creative friends for a long, long lunch before returning home in time for the family to come together for a meal and a catch-up of our day. Or alternatively, a day being pampered in a spa! What are your goals for the future? I have quite a few smaller goals but apart from learning 3D printing, Iâ€™d like to have my designs in a few select retail outlets that reflect my style of work, and maybe design and produce an exclusive range in a premium precious metal such as gold. Where can we see your work? I have my own website where some of my work is listed and I occasionally sell at local handmade events. I also have an exclusive collection currently for sale in the shop at Kettles Yard, Cambridge, which is selling like hot cakes and keeping me busy re-stocking regularly.
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For more information, visit: www.elsiemjewellery.co.uk To follow, visit: www.instagram.com/elsiem_jewellery www.twitter.com/elsiemJewellery www.facebook.com/elsiemjewellery Images courtesy of Lorraine Hitt
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MADE LONDON 25th â€“ 29th April 2018
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CONTEMPORARY DESIGN AND craft fair MADE LONDON returns to Canary Wharf’s East Wintergarden this April. Free to the public, over ninety makers will be showcasing and selling bespoke handmade jewellery, original ceramics, textiles, unique glass, furniture and more over the five days. The established craft fair presents the perfect opportunity to purchase a host of original works, as well as the chance to meet the makers and designers, who will be on hand to discuss their work and inspirations. The impressive array of talent this year ranges from glass chandelier designer Aline Johnson, to jewellery designer Sue Gregor who uses 100% recycled acrylic. Furniture maker Edward Johnson from Sussex set up his workshop in 2009. His three main collections, Ripples, Freeform and Murano all involve the unique technique of lamination. The Ripples collection took almost three years of trial and error to master. The first completed piece in 2012 won Edward the UK’s Wood Awards prize for bespoke furniture in 2013. Lise Herud Braten will be bringing a Norwegian influence to MADE LONDON with her ceramic work inspired by her childhood in the mountains, forests and rocky beaches of Norway. Lise’s work, often categorised between “fine art and functional”, was recognised in 2017 and been gaining momentum ever since. The unusual Japanese technique of stretching and carving, often in combination with wheel throwing, helps to create natural forms reminiscent of elements in the wild. Jewellery and silverware maker Rebecca Joselyn designed the casing for the world’s
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CHAO & EERO
most expensive coffee, available to purchase in Harrods. In the past, Rebecca has worked on several awards and commissions, including a large oil container which was on show in the Museum of Modern Art in Kuwait. Kathrin Friedrich, a German art jeweller now living in Chester, will be exhibiting an eclectic range of neck-pieces, with each piece suspended individually from a fashion rail. Each object is entirely hand-made from a range of materials including rubber, fabric, bronze and copper. Woven textile designer and hand-weaver, Pamela Print, will be showcasing her luxury, sustainable textiles for the contemporary home. London born, with a studio situated in the creative hub of Brussels, she fuses multicultural influences. Her interior accessories are inspired by the local Art Deco movement and feature textural geometric patterns woven using British-sourced wool with a Slow Textile ethos at heart. Lucie Moore, Head of Arts + Events at Canary Wharf, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome back MADE LONDON to Canary Wharf to our stunning East Wintergarden. The team is proud to be championing upand-coming and established artists, while raising awareness of their work and giving these talented individuals and companies a platform to build a profile”.
EDWARD JOHNSON ALINE JOHNSON
Venue: East Wintergarden, 43 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, E14 5NX Opening Times: Wednesday 25th – Sunday 29th April 2018 Standard Admission: Free For more information, visit: www.madelondon-canarywharf.com Images courtesy of MADE London ukhandmade spring 2018 | 63
TRASHART by Ruthie Collins
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‘EVERYTIME I SIT down in the workshop to make new work I ask, can I justify this? Yes or no?’ Lieta Marziali, international jewellery artist, is based in North Norfolk, Holt. Together with works by a collection of artists and makers, you can see her narrative pieces as part of TrashArt, at GroundWork Gallery, King’s Lynn, from March 10th until June 2nd this season, as part of Dutch artist Jan Eric Visser’s first solo show in the UK – inspiring action on waste. Already home to a sprinkling of makers, contemporary artists and festivals, GroundWork Gallery is a welcome addition to the East Coast art circuit, a multi award-nominated and awardwinning space for art and the environment. The creation of Veronica Sekules, former Deputy Director of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, GroundWork Gallery is unique in the UK. All of its artistic programmes are centred around the environment and last year it won the prestigious Nick Reeves Award for its ‘outstanding’ contribution to environmental arts. A former employee of Friends of the Earth, Veronica Sekules herself is a leader in the field of art and the environment, and an author of published titles, most recently including ‘Cultures of the Countryside – Art, Museum, Heritage and Environment’ (Routledge). GroundWork has a growing educational and outreach programme, with a new project Waste Transformed started in March and funded by the British Science Association. A group of local women, survivors of domestic violence, will be making works out of waste found on the River Ouse, supported by social enterprise 4 Transform and artist Jan Eric Visser. Education makes up a significant part of GroundWork’s activity, with resource packs for educators available, on teaching
BIRD AFTER BIRD art and the environment in the classroom. Plus a sparkling range of talks, projects and panel discussions. “Someone said at the last one of these events, which was about art and climate change, that the discussion was much more positive and open than it would have been at a political meeting when things can quickly turn bitter”, Veronica says. The event drew together experts from a mixture of sectors, from art to science, tackling climate change and exploring art’s ability to help us reimagine our futures. Art’s capacity to inspire fresh perspectives, a starting point for change, is one of her inspirations. “I am committed to the idea of the gallery being a place of exchange, which opens them up for people, to start new conversations”, she explains.
Whilst also a champion for environmental arts in the region, GroundWork’s relevance is global. With images of our seas saturated with plastic only too well known, the need for action on waste is critical. Research fuses much of the work exhibited at GroundWork. GroundWork’s show Bird after Bird, exhibited in Autumn 2017, has recently been awarded Arts Council funding to travel to The Steel Rooms in Brigg, North Lincolnshire. At the heart of the exhibition – and giving it its title – is the work of another Norfolk-based artist, Jayne Ivimey, which involved months and months of research, observation, drawing in archives, at the Rothschild museum in Tring and Norwich Castle Museum. The Red List of bird species that are threatened and endangered is increasing at an alarming rate, ukhandmade spring 2018 | 65
JAYNE IVIMEY, RED STATUS (CERAMIC ON TABLE) AND RED LIST (DRAWING) 66 | ukhandmade spring 2018
and day by day. Jayne’s work is a moving tribute, in the form of a dramatic installation of white bisquefired stoneware effigies of dead birds, presented ‘bird after bird’ - and not too dissimilar in feel to Ackroyd and Harvey’s ‘Seeing Red, Overdrawn’ installation, a nod to the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species which you can see here www. iucnredlist.org. This is hard-hitting, research-based work that doesn’t fail to provoke action. Similarly, Lieta Marziali’s work is fused with an intellectual rigour and purity that is refreshing. All her actions, as well the materials in her works, are considered; objects become a mark of emotions, of a point in time, a sense of place. Even trash. “Trash is not just trash, but a complex conglomeration of physical and emotional capital”, she comments, referring to the themes of GroundWork’s upcoming show, TrashArt. “It is composed of the physicality of the resources that are needed to produce objects, and also of the less-talked-about energy embedded in the growth, procurement, transformation and manufacture of these resources”, explains Lieta. Work like this invites us to slow down, to reflect. It’s a little considered aspect to the environment or to making itself, the energy that we imbue our waste with and how each object we discard marks a point in time in a person’s life. The simplicity of her work leaves you feeling inspired, somehow, to need less. “Trash also bears the physical and emotional energy invested in the labour and time of those employed in the manufacturing, marketing and selling, buying and storing, distributing and, finally, disposing processes. Seen in this light, a paper item of trash might, yes, biodegrade more quickly, but is actually not very dissimilar from a plastic one.
Brooch (2018) by Lieta Marziali, “Norfolk Fields: Of the Alchemy of Before, Between and Beyond” Materials: sheep’s wool, shotgun cartridge case, wood, rusty wire, 18ct gold, iron, stainless steel
Brooch (2013) by Lieta Marziali, “Round The Bend” Materials: zinc-cast toy car, aerosol can top, jar lid, copper, base metal stud earring, brass, stainless steel
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Three Mourning Brooches (2013) by Lieta Marziali, “Lost”, “Gone Before”, “Beach Road”. Materials: copper, beach-combed building material, vintage faux pearls
And this is why reducing, well before reusing and finally recycling, is at the very core of building a deeper and more sustainable ecology. I not only employ mostly reclaimed materials, but also strive to reduce the amount of all materials and tools I use in an increasingly minimal and low-tech approach to making. All of this while keeping in mind that my own work could, one day, become somebody else’s trash”. There’s an almost spiritual ethos to her Lieta’s process, that’s not too dissimilar to veganism, which she has also made the journey to embrace. Every act, every choice of material, is consciously considered – not simply in making, but in life, too. These facets to human life are key to Lieta’s process, as a jewellery artist. Not simply on a personal level, but a social one, too: being aware 68 | ukhandmade spring 2018
of who makes the clothes we wear, the computers we use, in a world marked by throwaway culture, somehow, becomes radical. “It’s about practising what you preach. I don’t just think about the environmental issues, but also the immediate environment that I’m in. The field. The birds feathering their nests. Out foraging, I might think, “this wool, the birds need this”, I don’t hoard what I don’t need”, she explains. As well as having a rolling programme of shows throughout the year, GroundWork also sells works by artists and makers. “I like mixing media and including what people would call crafts and makers. There can be the perception that crafts can’t be engaged with ideas, but they do. It’s part of my Sainsbury’s background that most of the world’s art can be sat on, eaten, etc.”
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The works are rigorously selected by Veronica, not so much for their homespun appeal, but for artistic excellence and ability to stimulate fresh thinking and ideas. “I think the gallery is a great addition on a national level. Setting out as it did to highlight environmental issues, it showed a pioneering attitude not only in its vision but its great desire to be a catalyst for change”, says Lieta. “And the choice of location feels part of that ethos of valuing an often misjudged town and its people, themselves an integral part of the larger environment”. Veronica established GroundWork Gallery in King’s Lynn, partly because of the need for action. The need to encourage cross-collaboration and debate across sectors. But also, a long running love for the city. “I’ve always liked the town and wanted to do something’”, she says. Lynn itself is enjoying a resurgence of growth and has long had a loyal arts community, yet its potential as a location for thriving contemporary arts can be overlooked. “Kings Lynn is tainted with this opinion that it doesn’t have a great deal going on here. It’s great seeking out new places like this. Taking the children I teach somewhere like this would be fantastic”, comments Lorna Karman, an artist and educator from Norwich, visiting the gallery with her mother for Fire & Ice, GroundWork’s climate change themed show, in Autumn 2017. Norfolk’s natural landscape is a huge influence on Lieta work. “Looking back, there is so much of Norfolk that is imbued in so many of my pieces”, she says. Lieta moved to the UK from Italy twenty four years ago, but it was only when she settled in Norfolk that she really felt at home. In fact, it was while attending a stained-glass class, after moving 70 | ukhandmade spring 2018
to Norfolk with her partner, that Lieta realised she wanted to do more with this process of ‘making’. “There was something about the place that just felt right, and it did so very quickly, even before we had time to explore the area properly. Learning about a slower pace of life, taking us back into the countryside and beach, having to learn about the rhythms of the tide. We were very much not city people anyway (in fact, we had been working outdoors as archaeological excavators the year before!), but being immersed in this landscape made us feel as if we ‘knew’ this place, as if it belonged to us before we belonged to it. And without Norfolk, my art practice would not have happened. In fact, both our lives changed completely to the point that my partner also retrained and became a landscape historian, specialising in Norfolk’s lost villages and medieval churches. Being in Norfolk has (re-)taught me about ‘being’ and feeling in a space and time wherever I happen to be”. Indeed, here’s hoping that as GroundWork Gallery’s traction increases, Norfolk’s potential as an emerging arts scene for the UK – its joyous, slow pace of life, abundant with a sense of possibility for makers and artists, plus the public alike, will not go unmissed. For more information, visit: www.lietamarziali.co.uk www.groundworkgallery.com Images courtesy of Lieta Marziali and GroundWork Gallery
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9th - 13th May 2018 www.designnation.co.uk
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AS PART OF London Craft Week 2018, Design-Nation will present a diverse showcase of members’ works. The exhibition theme is ‘Head, Hand and Heart’, based on the thoughts of Victorian art critic John Ruskin: “Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together”. Located in the charming showroom of Helen Yardley Studio, the selected craftspeople will inspire, delight and inform through their contemporary craft works. Working in partnership with Helen Yardley (designer) and Barbara Chandler (design expert), Design-Nation have invited selected members to respond to the Ruskin-inspired theme of ‘Head, Hand and Heart’. The exhibition will explore the makers moments of inspiration; the intricacies of their hand made works; and importantly, what is it about the making process which makes their hearts happy? Design-Nation have curated a display of 10 makers and their inspiring work, including furniture and marquetry from Christine Meyer-Eaglestone and Hugh Miller; ceramics by Harriet Elkerton and Linda Bloomfield; rugs by Helen Yardley and Angie Parker; interior textiles by Anna Gravelle and Jacky Puzey; and objets d’art by Ruth Singer and Gizella K Warburton. The exhibition will be complemented by a full programme of events each day, including demonstrations, maker talks, and a Thursday Late with special partners. Alongside the showcase, the Design-Nation members’ online portfolio can be used to buy, commission, collaborate, consult, trade, collect, source, research and innovate. For more information, visit: www.designnationshowcase.co.uk www.londoncraftweek.com
HUGH MILLER GIZELLA K WARBURTON
Images courtesy of Design-Nation
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See you soon...
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Welcome to our Spring issue. After a long and dreary winter, the sun has finally made an appearance, the birds are singing and flowers are b...
Published on Apr 23, 2018
Welcome to our Spring issue. After a long and dreary winter, the sun has finally made an appearance, the birds are singing and flowers are b...