18th March - 24th June 2017
Inspired by the beauty of trees we bring together a selection of talented makers creating contemporary jewellery, ceramics, glass and works in mixed media whose work captures the essence of these remarkably diverse and beautiful marvels of the natural world.
Juliette Hamilton originally trained at Manchester Metropolitan University in Textile Design, specialising in Weave. She went on to have a career designing embroidery for Marks and Spencer’s, concentrating on Ladies wear and Children swear, then started her own successful Soft Furnishing Business, acquiring clients through Fired Earth and making for customers around the North West. In need of a career change, Juliette then decided to go back to study. She received a commendation in RHS Level 2 in Horticulture and went on to get a Professional Diploma in garden design with distinction at Reaseheath College in Nantwich. During her study time at Reaseheath, they ran a willow weaving course and she became hooked. Juliette’s work is now mainly creating realistic animal sculptures out of willow and sometimes chicken wire, ranging from chickens up to cows and horses. She has made sculptures for TV and film productions including Hollyoaks and Disney. Her work has also featured in a Bollywood film.
Valérie is a fibre artist whose main fascination lies within the manipulation of fibres and textiles as an expressive art form. Taking the rural environment as her inspiration, she explores long-term interests of texture, colour, layering and process to create contemplative and ethereal artworks. Her primary technique is wet felting; a traditional craft technique using wool tops, hot water, soapsuds and friction to interlock the fibres together. The compositions are built in layers, hinting at what may lie beneath, and use translucency and light to create absorbing moods. These are highly textured felt pieces in which cloth is embedded, prints disguised, threads unravelled and details finely stitched, as a painter with her brush. The analogy with painting is significant throughout, making the viewing inquisitive, and challenging people’s perception.
Janine is a designer maker based in Bristol combining the traditional craft of enamelling with fresh, clean, contemporary design. Enamelling is the art of fusing glass on to metal. Janine creates intricate hand-cut stencils which are then laid on to copper. Her stencils are inspired by trees, flowers, seed heads and the landscape. After sifting powdered enamel over a stencil she fires each piece in a kiln. Following a BA at Sheffield Polytechnic in History of Art, Design and Film and an MA at Leicester University in Museum Studies in the early 1990s, Janine took up a career as a museum curator and later as an administrator. She did evening classes in Ceramics and Printmaking but neither of these gripped her particularly, though all the time she was making cards and embroiderie, knitting and crocheting. Janine's work with enamels is very influenced by the natural world. Trees have been a recurring theme in her work with the colour palette that she uses particularly favouring this type of imagery. The copper in Janine's panels brings the trees that she depicts to life when the light hits them and they 'catch fire'.
Helaina Sharpley is a wirework artist and designer based in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, specialising in wall art inspired by tea drinking and architecture from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Helaina started her journey studying a BA in Design Crafts at Hereford College of Art and Design. Tea became an obsession there and she particularly loved the elegance of Edwardian Architecture. It was here where her love of tea and the Edwardian way of life connected; this became the main feature in her work. Helaina loves the old way of life and believes in doing things the right way. She is inspired by tradition, old fashion values and having afternoon tea in beautiful surroundings, preferably from the Edwardian period. Illustrations turned into wire works after a college lecturer placed some wire into her hands because he wanted Helaina to make something in 3D and she kept drawing. The rest is… 'wirework history’.
Jane makes a selection of Bird in Tree Vessels, with either one or two perching birds. She has been an active potter for about twenty-five years. Since leaving college she has established a studio in the Norfolk market town of Reepham. She currently concentrate on making decorative raku, small batch production of domestic stoneware and individual sculptural pieces and her work is inspired by the beautiful Norfolk landscape and coastline, together with memories of vintage textiles and ceramics.
Katrin Moye is a ceramicist whose work is collected by customers all over the world. She began her career in 2006 after working in a bookshop for several years. She is an English Literature graduate and a preoccupation with narrative is carried through into her ceramic work. Katrin started by making small batch slip decorated tableware; she then branched out into making more detailed and large scale one off collectors’ pieces. Her distinctive intricately patterned surfaces tell the story of her childhood, referencing the books she read and the folk art, interior design and style of Germany and Scandinavia in the 1970’s. She is also drawn to mid-century pattern design, and simplified motifs of trees, leaves and flowers often feature in her work. Her observations on the relationships people have with special objects in the context of domestic surroundings are an ongoing and developing theme and she loves hearing stories about the significance of these things to their owners, both with her own work once it has left her studio and with the countless multitude of other apparently worthless, but hugely important, objects that people use to keep their memories in.
Linda’s work explores the diversity and fragility of meadows, and the profusion of flowers, grasses and herbs that live within. In order to capture this diversity each sculpture is hand formed and so each piece is unique. Linda feels passionate about our environment, and her concern lies with the impact of modern society upon our British countryside. “I see an explosion of shapes, colours, smells. Stems rustle, tall, spiky, prickly, short, thin, fragile, swaying, twisting, tangling. Delicate, soft fragrant flowers flourish in every colour, size, shape and scent conceivable. Names provoke the imagination even further Hairy Sedge, Ladies Smock, Yellow Rattle, Sneezewort, Wild Angelica all reflect the fragile yet enduring aspect of our environment.” Her response lies within the smooth, red, earthy clay that she works with. Slabs are shaped, rolled, pinched, pressed, formed and shaped. Smooth milky slips are infused with colour, painted or poured, and then patterns emerge and evolve. Finally, firing and glazing complete the picture.
Through turning, burning and carving, Sam aspires to evoke some of the integral essence of what wood is. He is inspired by organic form that he sees in many places; the great outdoors and the small details of nature. Often the inspiration and ideas for a piece comes directly from the natural features of the tree that he is working with. By developing the texture of the grain and contrasting polished wood next to burnt he tries to expose both the beauty and substance of wood. From the age of 16 Sam spent 4 years living in different temples in England, Ireland, America and India. In 2000 he moved to Newcastle to attend various courses in art, design, and technology. There, he started turning wood and worked at developing his work artistically and technically. In 2004 he moved to Spain, briefly, and then Wales. He spent the next 8 years focused on sustainable living, farming, building his own straw-bale, timber frame round house and raising children. Since 2012 he has returned to making and has dedicated himself to non-functional artistic work.
David Mayne is a sculptor of national repute with work in both public and private collections throughout the UK. Over the past 30 years David has developed his work from raw assemblage with found objects to the much more refined pieces he now creates. One thing has remained constant, his use of metal. David started using this material after visiting one of Sheffield’s many scrap yards while studying his fine art degree. He was instantly drawn to the colour and texture of discarded steel and the inherent quality it possessed. David has a lifelong passion with nature and landscape; from his early days of climbing and hill walking to mountain biking and fell running. He now lives in Holmfirth near areas of stunning woodland and wild and beautiful hills and moorland. The work he now creates is a response to this landscape and other wilderness environments he has encountered. When he is not working on exhibitions and private commissions, Mayne continues his practice as a sculptor working in the public realm, creating landmark features for local authorities, visitor centres, large scale PLCs and health trusts. Clients include, Marks and Spencer, Leeds University, Carilion Civil Engineering, Taylor Wimpey, British Waterways and the sustainable transport charity Sustrans.
Sarah began to create pieces for her Cameo Series during her time studying at the Royal College of Art. She was strongly influenced by the historical aspects and traditions that are inherent in glass making. Referencing their importance while developing the technical and narrative elements in her own way, she took inspiration from the tradition of ornament in English cameo glass from the 19th century. The imagery she creates for these pieces follow the traditional motif of a bird as it escapes its 19th century scenery and explores new surroundings.
Julia Smith graduated from Glasgow School of Art in 1996 then followed a career in community art until 2010. That year she moved to the Highlands and set up her pottery studio in Ardersier. Julia’s playful handmade pottery is made using traditional processes and decorated with handmade glazes and printed surfaces. Her unique rustic illustrative style is applied across a range of tableware bringing creativity and colour into our everyday lives. Strongly influenced by her coastal location by the Moray Firth, she often features small details from her natural environment such as trees, houses and wildlife and she uses the natural qualities of glaze to evoke light and weather across wild landscapes and beaches.
Member of the Northern Potters Association and associate of the Craft Potter’s Association Kit has a background exhibiting as an Arts Photographer and gained her MA in Photography from De Montfort University in 2004. Drawing on this and a working life as a ceramic teacher and technician, she set up Foto Ceramica in 2006, with the aim to bring these two distinct areas of arts practice together. In 2007, Arts Council England awarded a Research and Development grant which enabled her to establish her current ceramic practice using the Gum bi-chromate process, a photography process originally used on paper which has developed to use on bisque ceramics. This allows her to expose her own photographs directly onto the surface of the ceramic piece where they are fired on permanently. Her photographs of natural landscapes and botanicals , or urban and domestic life use a subtle monochrome palette giving each piece a beguiling narrative quality. Her collection of medium format monochrome or hand tinted ceramic ’gum photos’ compliments a range of hand built wall pieces, vessels, and jewellery.
Scottish designer maker Tina MacLeod creates tactile pieces of jewellery that evoke a sense of place. The concept of the island and the unique atmosphere of the Hebridean coastal woodland are central to her work, capturing an essence of that sensed but unexplained aura often experienced within the forest. By using precious metal techniques that produce delicate but deliberate layers of surface texture, she is able to convey a sense of the ephemeral nature of the living landscape. Designing through making, she works intuitively with natural materials gathered from specific places, and by exploring hollow forms, creates jewellery which represents a connection to place which is realised through the importance of touch.
From an early age Charlie was attracted to jewellery and she avidly collected stones, shells and pieces of metal. She started to make jewellery in Portugal where she studied a summer course in jewellery design. She became hooked and completed a HND and City of Guilds course in jewellery design and silversmithing on her return to the UK. The underlying link between all of her pieces is the influence of her environment. Many pieces of her jewellery have an organic origin, adapted to be a wearable piece of jewellery. In some instances Charlie has focused on the texture of natural objects and in others she has concentrated on the pattern or the shape. Shells, leaves, flowers and pebbles have been particularly influential, as well as landscapes, buildings and other manmade objects. Even the feelings aroused by an object, place or an event have a part to play in her designs.
Laura Baxter makes precious jewellery inspired by botanical forms. Twigs, buds, blossom and leaf structures are abstracted and magnified in different scales to create graphic silhouettes of nature. The intention of the work is to create pieces which capture the essence and beauty of plant life. The work reflects how plants change and grow throughout the seasons and explores the potential of working with light and shadow. Laura describes her relationship with nature as being central to her life and work This commitment can be seen in the sensitivity she has to the beauty of roadside weeds as well as more exotic specimens. Laura hand constructs all of her own work using shaping, piercing, die-pressing, soldering and forging techniques. Surface texture and finishes are applied using roll-printing, punches and oxidising. Many of her brooches have a life when not worn and can be displayed as small works of art which cast beautiful shadows.
Jessica Jewellery Design
Jessica Sherriff creates a unique range of contemporary acrylic jewellery. Inspired by the colours and views of her beautiful surroundings, Jessica uses her own photographic images, from the overall landscape to close up trees and flowers, and displays them within the jewellery using a unique printing technique. She uses the acrylic in a variety of thickness, and combines matt and shiny surfaces to create an unusual distorted, but intriguing effect to the images. This technique allows her to create both bold and subtle colour waves and designs. She enjoys exploring the possibilities of acrylic and her enthusiasm grows the more she experiments.
Ruth Sutcliffe - Ruth Makes Jewellery
Ruth’s jewellery is created with her partner Jeremy. They are located in the hills of West Yorkshire where they create individually handmade sterling silver jewellery capturing the beauty and drama of the creatures and trees they see around them, not forgetting their own animals. Natural shape and form appear in their organic and geometric jewellery which includes their fascination with the solar system. Each piece of jewellery is sawn out of Sterling Silver sheet, sometimes incorporating features in copper, brass and gemstones. A certain tree had always captured their attention with its individual shape and location down the fields from their home so it was inevitable that the tree would appear in their work, and hence ‘My Favourite Tree’ has become a regular creation, in richly polished, satin and recently oxidised forms.
Each piece of Elizabeth’s Jewellery is designed and individually hand crafted in her Herefordshire studio. She uses recycled precious metals and traditional goldsmith techniques. Elizabeth's current collections are inspired by the British countryside; a contemporary and minimal twist on this very classic theme. “I studied in Leeds for my art foundation and it's always nice to send collections to familiar places.”
Drawing on interests in both natural form and science, Kate is currently focussing on lichen species. Their form, function and their chemical components makes up the main inspiration for her work. The striking shapes and forms in her jewellery are frequently taken from lichen Kate has observed and photographed when out and about. The pieces she creates often have a hidden meaning or function incorporated through the subtle use of chemical compound structures, which relate to the lichen and their various functions in the wider world. Kate is keen to experiment with different materials and processes when designing her jewellery and blend a variety of materials into her work including porcelain, silver, steel, copper, brass, glass and felt.
Naomi has always loved making things and has been making jewellery since she was 14; when a jewellery workshop opened in Lewes and she started evening classes. “I knew it was what I wanted to do straight away and I still can't imagine doing anything else!” Since then she has enjoyed working in several shared workshops and has been at Rose Hill in Brighton for the last 13 years. She comments how fantastic it is to be surrounded by a group of creative people producing a wide range of different work and where they are there to help and inspire each other. Naomi has always designed as she worked, allowing the making process to inspire the final design. Many of her designs use real leaves, plant structures and feathers to create natural textures on silver giving her work a 'found' quality; almost as if the pieces were produced by a natural process. She particularly likes the contrasting textures of different plants which she combines in one piece of jewellery and complements with touches of 18ct gold.
Award-winning jewellery designer Claire Troughton’s stunning collections are all made in her workshop in Chester, drawing inspiration from the glorious Cheshire landscape that surrounds her, as well as travels further afield. Her exquisite attention to detail and the striking use of gold and silver help to create her distinctive style. Claire’s fascination with nature began on woodland walks in Yorkshire as a child, accompanied by her parents who were keen gardeners and who took delight in helping Claire identify plants and leaves as well as birds and insects. Claire felt compelled to follow her creative passion to Art College, where her love of the miniature was really uncovered. She began using leaves and twigs, binding them together with grass, raffia and pine needles, to form intricately detailed vessels. The way the pieces were held together was as important as the actual form, with each connection being finely worked. This led her tutor to suggest applying for a degree in jewellery design. Claire found the perfect course at Edinburgh College of Art and once she arrived in the workshops there she felt immediately at home, gaining a BA (hons) in Jewellery Design & Glass in 1995. After moving to Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter to fine tune her making skills, Claire set up her business in the Autumn of 1996, relocating to Cheshire in 2006.
Since 2005 Sue has been making acrylic contemporary jewellery with wild flower designs. Wild plants and weeds that grow in front gardens and wastelands, in hedges and along paths are a rich source of material. Her latest collection uses conifer leaves where the leaves are collected, dried and pressed. She uses them to create the designs using a process she has developed which she calls ‘fossilized'; where the fine detail and even the veins of the leaves show on the embossed surface of the acrylic. The leaves perish in the process so each piece is unique as the leaves and flowers differ from each other. They are a memory to each individual leaf. Sue wants to convey the narrative of nature claiming back the man made so she confronts the synthetic with the wild, by using plants to produce beautiful and individual acrylic jewellery.