Image; Faye Hall
In the Spotlight
6th November 2021 - 29th January 2022
Intriguing jewellery, intricate paper artworks, ceramics and textiles with a twist; this year’s In the Spotlight makers have been selected for their innovation in their chosen craft. Delve into amazing collections by Anna Cook, Helga Mogensen, Faye Hall, AliJoe Designs and Rachel Larkins.
Helga lives in Reykjavik, Iceland. She graduated in 2007 with a degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing from The Edinburgh College of Art. Her main focus is her connection with nature and the materials that show up for the process; driftwood and found wood being the main materials. “For me making jewellery is like working with a canvas, I am drawn to making flat surfaces that become a part of the body, but I am also curious about the possibility of the pieces being displayed, even as wall pieces. My ideas are often linked in with a piece of paper and I believe sketching is a whole different universe with drawings and texts that join the made pieces subconsciously. Ideas can often come up like photographs in my mind, and I feel my purpose is often to capture these photographs and make them into something tangible, basically to process the energy received into materials.” The driftwood in her jewellery is found up north in Iceland; “I go there with my family every Summer and wonder around the beaches often in a meditative state of just merging with nature. The magic behind my materials is quite amazing as driftwood is not really coming to Iceland any longer but the small pieces I use show up. It’s actually a big trust process towards the universe, not knowing what kind of materials are waiting for me at the beach each time I go there.”
Faye originally trained in textiles, and has over thirteen years experience of designing highly tactile fabrics for fashion and interiors. She now applies her perpetual curiosity for surface and materials to create bold pieces of jewellery which combine her textiles practice and silversmithing knowhow. Guided by her collages and embroidered samplers, Faye is interested in finding beautiful solutions to combine materials of different weights, colours and origins through embellishment and placement; “I am very curious about the use of embroidery as both a decorative and construction tool within my work and I like to challenge that fine line.” Every piece of jewellery is handcrafted in her workshop and created in a very intuitive way; “I like to be playful with my material choices and to juxtapose elements that you may not typically put together, such as linoleum and silk, or formica and gold. Working with found colours along the way only adds to the challenge of combining components that are inherently different in weight, structure and surface into an intriguing object which is tactile and harmonious. I also often like to create pieces using the ‘components’ of my larger works, as I find it fascinating how they can take their own direction which is separate from the intended purpose.” Alongside Faye’s design work she is also a passionate arts educator; teaching textiles at degree level and delivering creative textile workshops across West Yorkshire where she lives.
Anna is a paper artist from Yorkshire creating beautiful artworks for the wall inspired by the natural world. “Papercutting is a really labour intensive practice that requires an enormous amount of concentration and a steady hand. With a bit of patience, it produces beautiful results, backache, and a touch of eye strain - I love it!” Anna always starts a piece by deciding on the subject. Over the years she has found Foxes, Hares and Blackbirds to be amongst the favourites and, although the jury’s out with Crows and Mice, she makes them anyway! After planning and hand drawing the design onto the reverse of a selection of tonal papers, Annas gets cutting; “The process takes a few hours and several cups of tea for each layer. After which I use a selection of nifty tools to mould, curl and emboss the detailed foliage. After making the body of the subject I make a deep box frame and carefully assemble the layers of paper into it.” Creating her original 3D pieces can take days, sometimes weeks, so Anna also produces originals cut out of a single sheet of paper. These single sheet pieces can be scanned and then sent off to be reproduced using a laser cutter. Some of these are still hand finished with extra touches of colour or texture, but the process enables her to offer a broader range of products including greetings cards, limited edition prints and lanterns.
AliJoe Designs (Debbie Carne)
Debbie spent the first 40 years of her working life in the worlds of advertising and qualitative research but she really wanted a change. “I have always had a creative streak but never quite knew how or where to apply it. It all came together when I did a short course learning about applying design to ceramics. I loved the process and potential for great results and had the idea to work with a collection of vintage plates I had at home. I love vintage 'one offs' and have a particular passion for wandering around boot sales, junk, charity and antique shops. I also love quirky, playful imagery and the ‘leap’ came to me when I thought about the contrast of unexpected, witty imagery on pretty, traditional plates.” Once Debbie saw what she could do with the plates, she realised how rewarding she found every step of the process; from searching for plates, through planning the design to suit the plate, to sourcing the images, and finally, to creating and applying the ceramic decal transfers. “I soon found myself lying awake at night thinking about the design for my next plate and realised that I was feeling more passionate and driven by the experience than I had done by anything for a long time!” The images on the plates are often surreal, sometimes kitsch and always quirky - the original, witty and whimsical designs designed to give a sought after contemporary twist to the classic, decorative plate. Debbie draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including specific artists such as Fornasetti, Savignac, Warhol, Terry Gilliam, Banksy, Lichenstein and Schwitters. She is also inspired by visiting exhibitions, simply wandering the streets of London and beyond or attending courses. “My eyes are always peeled and whatever I'm doing these days, I'm always thinking about designs for my next plate.”
Rachel has always been drawn to objects behind glass, perhaps in recognition that someone from the past has preserved those things considered precious and ephemeral; mourning jewellery holding hair, bell jars holding birds, insects, or dolls, dioramas and ships in bottles. The wearable pieces she makes are influenced by the intimacy and hidden stories of small-scale miniatures as well as by folklore and fairy tales; "each tiny object is carefully modelled and painted by hand and encapsulated in resin. After several further processes this is finally polished to give a glass clear view into another world." Rachel works from a studio in a village near the New Forest. Following an early training in Textile Art, she graduated with an MA in Sequential Design/Illustration from the University of Brighton in 2013. She has exhibited regularly in the UK and abroad, creating and selling work for private and public collections for more than twenty years. During this time she has received a number of awards from the British Toymakers Guild, The Arts Council, and a Peer Prize from fellow makers at MADE London, the internationally renowned Art & Design fair.
Please note - the above images are representations of the work which will be provided and might not be the exact pieces featured in the In the Spotlight exhibition. Check out the work that did arrive for the show below. Seen anything you want to know more about? Just get in touch, we're happy to help! You'll also find some items gradually added to our online shop too...watch this space!