In the Spotlight
5th November 2016 - 7th January 2017
Intriguing collections of jewellery, turned wood, porcelain, small keepsake items and lots more besides are showcased in this annual exhibition where we explore the intricacy and diversity of contemporary craft by some of the most talented British makers today.
Raised in the Scottish Borders, Jennie’s early creative influences came from the local textile industries and the rich traditions and folklore of the region. Graduating with a BA in Graphic Design and Illustration from Leeds Polytechnic School of Creative Art & Design in the 1980s, Jennie was awarded a travel bursary by the Royal Society of Arts and used this to study the study the traditional arts and folklore of Mexico. Jennie then moved to London where she worked for several years as an illustrator before settling in Leicestershire and developing new skills in textiles, ceramics and bronze. Inspired by myth and nature and the youthful aspects of collecting small found objects, the Nest + Nurture Collection is a range of porcelain and mixed media work with delicate sculptural collections of nests, animal skulls, bones and feathers. Evoking mystery and intrigue, these sculptures capture the translucent and pure qualities of this challenging media.
Angela works in silver and uses a variety of techniques to create surface texture and embellishment. Manipulating silver by doming, folding, hammering and die forming allows her to produce three-dimensional pieces, especially hollow beads. She makes small themed, evolving ranges, limited editions and one of a kind statement pieces. Her jewellery usually incorporates unusual gemstones and she particularly like stones with matt finishes. Often the inspiration for shape and texture comes directly from the stone.
Stephanie Tudor is a surface designer who contrasts unlikely materials to create textured surfaces for fashion, interior and architectural spaces. Fascinated by the power of tactility, Stephanie uses simple casting methods creating pieces with a strong focus on naturally occurring pattern and manipulated textures. Treating each surface with the same sensitivity that she would a fine textile, her designs challenge our preconceptions of the conventional, using both natural and industrial materials. Stephanie set up her own business in 2014 after being selected as part of the Craft Council’s prestigious ‘Hothouse 4’ programme for emerging designer makers.
To Ann Povey, hand making can be illuminating, informative and enlightening. “You become involved with the tactile elements of the materials, enabling an intimate relationship to develop with the form and create a piece of work that contains all your ideas, notions and thoughts that reflects your attitude and personality. The demands of the materials themselves can often decide for you a certain way forward and it is the experience of those demands that I relish.” Working with clay, glass and metals allows Ann many opportunities to consider and reconsider her design intentions, and experience the reactions of the materials to extreme heat from the kilns or the flame that forces them to do what she has asked of them.
Beauty from simplicity, perfection in form, the natural environment and working with natural materials are some of the things John is passionate about and which informs his work. John specialises in the challenge of making small boxes from sustainable European hardwoods, striving for the perfect shape, the perfectly fitting lid, and beautiful tactile finish. His design cues are taken from the natural environment and can be witnessed in the smooth, gentle curving and flowing profiles. Wood is a natural material, so the colouring and grain pattern of each box is truly unique. The woods used are either primarily indigenous woods to the UK, reclaimed or upcycled timber or less frequently strictly approved and ethically managed FSC sources. The wood is carefully chosen for its properties and each box made to make the most of the wood figuring. The boxes are exquisite miniature art forms, for display as accent pieces and beg to be handled and felt.
Jane is an artist living and working on the edge of the Pennines in Yorkshire. She works with Paper Mache and mixed media to create a range of small sculptures, wall pieces and vessels; inspired by the shapes, lines and textures of the harsh, weather scoured landscape around her home. Jane has sold her figurative work in galleries throughout the country for many years, including The Craft Centre and Design Gallery, but this new work is more abstract and inspired by the natural world. Jane keeps the use of colour to a minimum to concentrate on the textures, lines and tones; particularly the wearing away of layers and revealing of sub layers, as the weather does to the land. Some of the wall sculptures can be vessels, with the incorporation of small found objects such as dried seed heads. Some already include additions made from found materials, which display evidence of weathering from its time exposed to the elements. You can see Jane's freestanding sculptures in this show and some of her wall hung pieces on display in our show Up Front.
Mauri Ann Beardshaw
Designer and maker of jewellery and objects, Mauri is inspired by the intricate patterns found on Diatom frustules. Using saw pierced metal and laser cut acrylic, her bright silver containers and brooches explore depth, layers and pattern. With the addition of warm glowing elements, Mauri strives to intrigue the viewer and celebrate the microscopic wonders beyond human vision.
Emily Richard designs and makes jewellery in precious metals from her workshop in Rugby, Warwickshire. She trained at Birmingham’s famous School of Jewellery before launching Emily Richard Jewellery in 2008. Her work is influenced by geometric patterns and shapes, often using simple elements to make up more intricate, often three-dimensional patterns. The Torus Collection displayed here is a collection of stylish, geometric jewellery made up of intricately intersecting slices of silver in a variety of different finishes.
Mauri Ann Beardshaw
John Parsons and Roger Bennett
Unable to visit us just yet? View our video & we hope to be able to welcome you here soon.