Hare we Go
2nd May - 25th July 2015
Jan Beeny makes one-off, slab-built ceramic pieces on a variety of scales. Her pieces are based largely on animals, particularly how they move, behave and how human societies throughout time have been compelled to bestow significance upon animals by producing images, objects, stories and mythologies. “At present I’m looking specifically at secondary sources for ideas such as the stylised depiction of animals in heraldry, mediaeval stained glass windows and tapestries. Often people find humour in my pieces although sentimentality is something I try to avoid”.
Lilia Umaña-Clarke was born in Colombia where she trained as an architect before moving to England in 1979 to gain her BA in Fine Art at the University of Hertfordshire. A great source of Lilia's inspiration comes from the ceramics of early South American civilizations and their symbolic use of human and animal imagery. She explores ideas about relationships and states of mind, combining geometric abstraction with more expressive sculpture. Specialising in stoneware ceramics, Lilia's unique textures are achieved using her signature combination of dry glazes and oxides. All her pieces are suitable for indoor and outdoor display.
Hares are entirely responsible for Rachel Elliott’s diversion into creature making after the opportunity to make ‘Glare’, a 2m tall glass boxing hare for Perth Museum & Art Gallery in 2011. The small sitting hares that accompanied this piece proved so popular that it encouraged more animals to be added to the range, which now includes hedgehogs, bears, foxes, boars and oak trees. Rachel is creating a pair of glass boxing hares especially for the ‘Hare We Go’ show at the Craft Centre featuring engravings of stars that cluster around the ‘Lupus’ constellation as seen in the night sky. "The making of my sculpture ranges broadly uses two techniques; water-jet cutting to produce the intricate shapes cut from the thick glass and screen-printing which enables me to print coloured glass enamels onto the surface, which is then permanently fired in place in the kiln. I use screen-printing over digital printing of enamels as it gives a thicker layer of colour on the surface of the glass which upon firing is water-resistant, non-fading and will not peel or scratch off.
Juliette Hamilton originally trained at Manchester Metropolitan University in Textile Design, specialising in Weave. She went on the have a career designing embroidery for Marks and Spencers, concentrating on Ladieswear and Childrenswear. When children came along, she started her own successful Soft Furnishing Business, aquiring clients through Fired Earth and making for customers around the North West. Juliette then got the gardening bug when she took on an allotment and decided to go to college to make sure she was doing it right! 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. Whilst at college, Juliette was fortunate enough to have her design chosen to be made at the Tatton Flower Show. So in 2008, she exhibited her ‘Children’s Butterfly Garden’ and was awarded a silver guilt medal. During her study time at Reaseheath, they ran a willow weaving course and she became hooked! After studying at various workshops around the country she started selling at artisan markets and fairs and doing work for commissions.
Educated at Edinburgh College of Art, Brendan Hesmondhalgh has been a full-time sculptor since 1996. As a ceramic sculptor initially work quickly evolved to include bronze editions of his original works. British wildlife remains a source of inspiration and many animals reoccur in his work including hares crouched on arches.
Rachel Higgins is an award winning artist creating life sized automata sculptures of birds, insects, mammals, fish, and crustaceans through the use of perforated metal and meshes. It’s these materials that have become the material of choice to define form and create a transparency to observe the mechanics and the drawn wire structure. A Fascination with Alexander Calder’s ‘Circus’, constructed from found objects, along with The Cabaret Mechanical Theatre’s automata, inspired me to construct mechanical sculptures and automata at college. Found objects from the family farm turned into life size scratching pigs and walking geese, assembled using a variety of techniques. The relationship between human and animal is a recurrent theme, as the manipulation by hand cranks to animate the creatures suggests.
David Mayne is a sculptor of national repute who produces work for galleries, public spaces and the domestic environment. His artwork has been commissioned through-out the country and can be found in town centres, rural locations, public buildings and private homes and gardens. Working in mild steel, stainless steel, bronze and cast-iron David creates a range of sculptures exploring landscapes with trees and animals.
Welcome to Annie Mongomerie’s world of storybook beings. Curious creatures from the outside to display inside. Each piece is individual and unique, because of the recycled nature of her work no two pieces will be quite the same. “Most of my fabrics are foraged locally where I live in Dorset. I use muslin, 100% wool felt, ‘up-cycled’ wool garments, velvet, leather, cotton, moleskin and blankets for my animal trophy heads, wall hangings and figures. I then stitch on curious little things I find including vintage buttons, charms and jewellery.”
Martin Norman sculptures takes inspiration from the surrounding flora and fauna. His hare sculptures are of an illustrative style and he exaggerates parts to create character and give each piece a personality. “I sculpt for myself and hope others appreciate my work which ultimately makes the viewer smile. I have always been interested in the use of movement within sculpture and have created a range of water features that compliment my other work.” Martin currently casts all of his pieces in cold cast resin achieving different finishes such as a traditional bronze resin, verdigris bronze resin, rusted iron resin and copper.
Rosie O’Connor’s lifelong love of living things was enhanced through two years creating and conserving wildlife areas in Scotland, and two years working at an RSPCA animal home. She also loves her garden, but she says “you wouldn’t know it to look at it.” For the last twenty-odd years she has been teaching maths in comprehensive schools in England. She loves the coast and is happiest when she is collecting driftwood along the shore in north-west Scotland. Her creations are wonderfully charming and full of character where she carefully carves pieces of driftwood into beautiful creatures; some which move as automata and others which are freestanding sculptures.
Penny Phillips creates unique, ceramic sculptures which portray a very interesting take on a number of English animals including hares. Penny’s career has been incredibly varied, spanning from a degree in Film and Theatre to her more recent ceramic sculptures. “I have always had a strong interest in the arts”, she tells us, “but film mostly.” Her true passion, however, lies in the fascinating textures of her work. “For me, it’s the rougher the better really.” This, she explains, goes back to her hatred of things being perfect and measured. “I felt like that was what people were telling me to do, or what I thought I should do, but that wasn’t where I was happiest”. Nowadays, however, she is constantly experimenting, using materials such as pastry or paper to create her unique textures. “You name it; I’ve shoved it in clay.” She very rarely puts titles on her work, which she believes contributes to the viewing experience. “I just want people to look at the work and get something from it, whether it’s the textures, the expressions on the animals, or the fact they happen to like hares a lot. For me that’s what art is about, looking at a piece of work and feeling something for it, without having any presubscribed idea about what you should think”.