KAPER barn owl family.jpeg
Image: Kate Kelly: Kaper Kate

Spring:Blossom
40 Years in the Making

5th February - 30th April 2022

An exhibition full of the joys of Spring!  Jewellery, ceramics, sculptures and wall art by a selection of blossoming talented makers we've never worked with before accompanied by makers we’ve rediscovered from our remarkable 40 year archive including some real Yorkshire treasures!  Vibrant colours and pattern, nature in all its glory and amazing wildlife are all explored by some of the most talented makers currently on the UK craft scene.

Click on the links to our past shows below to discover more from our amazing 40 year archive!

Jewellery

 

Suzanne Potter

Suzanne has been designing and making contemporary collections of aesthetically beautiful jewellery for 30 years and during that time has exhibited her jewellery with us many times, notably in our Without Colour exhibition back in 2009.  Her jewellery practice oscillates between creating elegant pared back botanical collections for everyday wear, to striking graphic sculptural art jewellery, which look equally at home adorning a wall, as on the body.  Her recent collections explore an introspective and emotive narrative; the subject of twinness as Suzanne is a solo twin.  Subconscious and intuitive design processes (explored over many years) reveal notions of duality, pairing, opposites, symmetry/asymmetry, division and connection.  Being one of two, she is reflective of her place and history, pondering the possibilities of similarity to her lost twin.  Through her work, she explores the use of flat 2D planes with 3D forms; both utilise similar geometries, which echo eachother harmoniously.  Mixed materials are utilised for their inherent properties and wood enables the making of larger scale objects, which are painted and rubbed back to reveal decorative layered effects.  Colour is used symbolically, reds, in particular, for their visceral connotations, whilst monochrome shades represent an ethereal context.  Oxidised silver, reconstituted coral parts and colour laminates add detail and further describe those forms found in nature, which hold special meaning for the artist.

 

Karen McMillan

Karen is a jeweller living and working in Edinburgh who has worked with the gallery many times over the course of her career including a show we called A Walk in the Park back in 2015.  Inspired by linear shapes found in nature and a love of Japanese pattern, Karen enjoys using resin as a material as colour is an important aspect of her work.  Particularly influenced by a 1950’s and 1960‘s colour palette, Karen contrasts colour and shape, often playing around with the overall uniformity of the piece.  “My most recent work involves inlaying pattern into resin or just a simple line, giving the quality of a drawn line.  This body of work involves mould making and casting, then through techniques such as saw piercing, filing and laborious sanding, the inlaid pattern is revealed. I produce colourful tactile pieces including earrings, necklaces, bangles and cufflinks.”

 

Sue Gregor

Sue’s jewellery collection has featured in many shows over the years including Bloom in 2014 and Branching Out in 2017.  She has been making acrylic contemporary jewellery with wild flower designs since 2005. “My inspiration is to share what has cheered me up and got me through the tough times.  Wild plants and weeds that grow in front gardens and wastelands, in hedges and along paths are a rich source of material.  I collect dry and press the leaves and flowers and then use them to create the designs using a process I developed which I call ‘fossilized' as 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 all leaves and flowers differ from all others. They are a memory to each individual leaf.”  Sue wants to convey the narrative of nature claiming back the manmade so she combines the synthetic with the wild by using plants to produce beautiful and individual acrylic jewellery. 

 

Poppy Norton

This is the first time we’ve worked with Poppy and we’re looking forward to introducing her to our visitors this Spring.  Poppy is an interior stylist and jewellery designer.  Having trained in product design at Central Saint Martins, Poppy went on to work as a stylist and trend reporter for a wide range of clients that includes The Guardian, Grand Designs Magazine, Channel 4 and Ocado.  With 18 years of styling experience under her belt, Poppy was keen to return to her designer-maker roots and embrace new challenges, so she headed back to the workshop and started her training as a jewellery designer in 2016.  "My work is very much influenced by my Product Design degree and interior styling work, I take inspiration from the day to day architecture and design that surrounds us; from pylons and scaffolding poles, to Brutalist architecture, Midcentury ceramics and fabrics.  My work is graphic and bold, and it is very much intended to make a statement."

 

Machi De Waard

This is the very first time we’re working with Machi and we're delighted to be featuring her collection here in Leeds.  Machi likes the perfection and simplicity of a circle.  A circle is a minimal shape, it encloses the maximum amount of space with the minimum circumference, which makes it a very neat, efficient shape with infinite possibilities that Machi likes to explore.  Often in her designs, a gold detail provides a sense of tension or playfulness by balancing on the curve or peeking out from behind the silver.  Machi’s jewellery reflects a modern aesthetic with clean lines.  All pieces are handmade using traditional metalworking techniques with sterling silver, argentium silver and/or 18ct yellow gold.  From January 2010 to December 2011, Machi was Jeweller in Residence at South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell. Having taught jewellery making for over 10 years now, Machi’s first book (which she wrote with fellow jeweller Janet Richardson) Silver Jewellery Making was published by award-winning craft publisher Search Press this year.

Kate Rhodes

Kate has exhibited with us many times including the shows Life’s a Beach back in 2011, A Walk in the Park in 2015 and Tweet in 2019.  Jewellery designer Kate grew up in the picturesque landscape of the Lake District.  She studied an experimental foundation course at Cumbria College of Art and Design and received a BA (Hons) degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing from Loughborough University.  Kate’s studies gave her the technical foundation and freedom to explore different areas, and develop her signature style and exploration of metalsmithing.  Kate has 23 years of experience running her own jewellery business. Inspired by the countryside surrounding her home in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, Kate uses colour as a visual language through her jewellery.  Her initial designs and sketches tell a story; she loves to doodle and draw until an idea comes to her.  Colour plays an important part in her work, and she is highly influenced by 20th century abstract sculpture and textiles.

Hazel Atkinson

Hazel’s colourful jewellery has been featured in many shows over the years including Here Comes the Sun in 2013 and Seeing Colour in 2016.  She is a leading contemporary anodized aluminium jewellery designer living and working in Nottingham.  After graduating from Loughborough College of Art and Design Hazel established her business in 1984 and built an enviable reputation for bold, colourful and eye catching design.  This collection has evolved through a painstaking process of experimentation and elimination using various dying, printing and painting techniques to finally produce a collection of strong vivid colours and intricate patterns.

 

Please note - the above images are not necessarily pieces featured in this exhibition.  You can, however, view our gallery photos and watch a virtual gallery tour at the bottom of this page and see the work that arrived for the show.  If there's anything you want to find out more about just get in touch, we're happy to help!

Ceramics and Mixed media

Heather Elvidge

Heather first displayed her ceramics with us a few months ago and we’re delighted to invite her back with a new range of work for this show.  Heather’s work is a reflection of her love for the beauty of the natural world and the stunning Yorkshire countryside.  She also enjoys creating pieces that hopefully will make people smile.  “I discovered my love of clay later than I would have liked but I've always been the creative type.  After attending art school, followed by a degree in Packaging Design, I worked in the toy and gift industry for many years.  A varied career, that even took me to live in Hong Kong before I met my, now, husband and eventually settled back in England in the beautiful countryside of East Yorkshire.”  Heather always felt a little frustration in her career in design always having to work to a brief; “I couldn't fully express my creativity.  I wanted to be free and just make!  Learning to throw a pot was number 1 on my wish list and as soon as I sat at the wheel, with the clay silkily spinning between my fingers, I was hooked!  A few years later and ceramics is now my full time business.”  Heather feels extremely lucky and happy to be able to spend so much of her time doing something that she loves so much.  To Heather, the entire process, from sticky lump of clay to beautiful piece of finished ceramic is thrilling, challenging and utterly addictive.

 

Jean White

Jean first exhibited with us back in 2019 in a show we called Tweet.  She is a designer-maker working in ceramics and has recently completed an MA in Design Craft at Manchester Metropolitan University.  Prior to this she worked as a professional illustrator.  “I now use my illustration skills to carve and model my drawings into clay.  From these carvings I create my own plaster moulds and slip cast each piece in either porcelain or parian clay from the moulds.”  Jean works to raise awareness of the conservation status of red-list British bird species, species which are threatened.  “As a keen birdwatcher I have seen the decline in bird numbers first-hand, since I was a child in the 1960s.”  Jean references the traditional processes employed in Wedgwood’s Jasperware, combining sprigged work with clean contemporary shapes.  Her images rely on the visual similarity of fossils to the low relief of ceramics sprigs, creating a metaphor for the threat to our native birds’ existence.

 

Poppy Davis: CloD Studio

Poppy makes her first appearance at the gallery in this exhibition and we're delighted to have her on board with her beautiful ceramics.  Poppy, the maker behind CloD, is a ceramicist based in Leeds, with a studio at Sunny Bank Mills.  She makes wheel thrown homeware in stoneware clay, with an emphasis on colour, line and pattern.  She takes inspiration from many different things, particularly flowers and plants, decorating her pots with loose, painterly brushstrokes.  She enjoys making functional pottery that is colourful and exciting. 

Julie Barham

This is the first time we’ll be working with Julie which we’re very excited about.  Julie is a ceramicist and produces both tableware and sculptural pieces for the garden.  "What I love about pottery is the variety that it offers the maker with regard to type and colour of clay, the many different making techniques and also the range of colours, stains, tools and glazes for decoration."  Julie works with stoneware and white earthenware, using both hand building techniques and throwing on the wheel.  She enjoys experimenting with different stoneware glazes and decorating with coloured slips.  "I see the pot as a canvas for my designs, and I love the contrast between the bare clay and the coloured slips and glossy glaze.  I like the idea that a pot can be both beautiful to look at, but also functional."  Julie's inspiration comes from the natural world, from plants and the landscape.  She is particularly interested in seedpods, and in the patterns that can be seen in nature and in architecture, whether this is a beautiful cathedral or an ultra-modern building.  Julie also loves the bold and bright colours and designs of textiles, particularly those of the 50s and 60s. 

Anna Lambert

Anna’s last show with us was in 2017 when she was invited to have a Solo Ceramic Showcase here in Leeds.  She has a strong following of collectors and her ceramics are highly sought after.  She makes hand-built earthenware ceramics using various techniques including slab-building, modelling and painted slips.  Anna‘s ideas reflect an interest in her locality exploring narratives relating to, amongst other things, climate change in her local landscape and the regeneration of orchards.  Inspired by new nature writing, she engages with a common language beyond pastoral sentimentality, combining drawing with the abstract qualities of pots, their spaces, edges and surfaces.  Using a variety of techniques, each of her pieces are entirely unique.  Each piece is developed during the making stage using drawing in the landscape as a starting point.  Often assembling her pieces from fine pliable sheets (slabs) of clay – white earthenware mixed with a rougher clay – she then alters, cuts and fettles them.  On occasion she may add sections of texture from carved or lino cut designs.  When the form is finished, pieces are painted with multiple layers of coloured slips, often with darker underpainting, which may then be cut back to reveal the embossed pattern or drawn on with sgraffitto.  Further layers may be added with the use of hand cut tissue paper stencils and masks.  

 

David Ashby

David last exhibited with us in our Northern Lights exhibition in 2011 which highlighted some of our talented Yorkshire makers.  David's ceramics are influenced by textured abstract painting and collage, from artists such as Antoni Tapies, Robert Rauschenberg and Jean-Michel Basquait.  David's current range of Contemporary hand thrown functional ceramics inspired by abstract painting and collage, include mugs, jugs, vases, lidded pots and bowls of various sizes.  The work is hand thrown and slip decorated with a mixture of wax resist, inlaid colours and scraffito decoration.

Lucy Burley

Lucy started exhibiting with us earlier last year and we're thrilled to include her beautiful ceramics as part of this show.  She studied Ceramics at Wimbledon and Camberwell Art Schools, graduating with a BA Hons in 1996.  Her work is both decorative and functional; simple shapes which make sculptural groups. “I’m inspired by Giorgio Morandi’s still-life paintings and want my work to have the same harmony of form and colour.”  Lucy’s vessels are thrown on the wheel using white earthenware clay; “I developed a semi-matt earthenware glaze, smooth to the touch, to which I add oxides and stains to obtain a wide spectrum of colours.”

Fiona Thompson

Fiona first worked with us back in 2005 when she had her first Solo Ceramic Showcase here with us.  We welcomed her back in 2013 for a show called Birds of a Feather.  For this exhibition Fiona will be showcasing her most recent collection from her Contained Flora project.  The forms from this project are uncomplicated and allow the surface to develop and show to its maximum.  They are intended to be very familiar, domestic in reference, and build on the history of the vessel as narrative.  The vessels are hand built, and have multiple surface layers built up through painting, low-tech printing, glazes and decals.  This project began with the subject of formal and botanic gardens, an interest in the structuring and ordering of nature and collecting and classifying the organic.  “As lockdown restrictions came into place early on in the project, the photographs, sketches and notes gathered in early 2020 in the Royal Botanic Gardens took on more significance as a snapshot of those moments, pinning down specific visits and seasons.  I also began to draw my own house plants during prolonged stays at home, focusing on this almost miniature world away from the outside.  The repetition of drawing became important, as a way to move the project forward and as a way to distract from the bigger issues.  Ironically the original interest was in how we try to contain and control the organic, and yet we became the ones contained whilst the gardens continued to grow.  Most of my drawings concentrated on the closeup of leaves, rather than as I originally anticipated of the wider garden space, and often those fallen and layered on the ground.”

 

Becky Crawford

Becky first displayed with us back in 2018 in our general display section of the gallery.  We are thrilled to be showcasing Becky's new collection for this exhibition.  Becky lives in South Devon where her favourite things to do are swim in the sea, smell flowers and imagine being small and getting down to looking at tiny beetles, ants and caterpillars.  She makes mixed media artworks mostly in wire combined with recycled plastic which she often finds on her local beaches, along with painted paper elements.  “Colour is very important to me and my husband tells me when he first invited me to his white flat with white furnishings, that I memorably asked him “what do you do for colour?” as I see colour as essential to life as vitamins and minerals in your diet.”  Becky’s ideas start with a story told to her daughter, a scene from real life, a memory or an imagined moment.  Nature and the natural world is very important to her and her work reflects this passion; “my intention is to bring a smile to people’s faces when they look at my work.  Life can be so serious and I hope my pieces remind you to enjoy the small things like climbing trees, flying kites, getting down into long grass to look at the beautiful shapes of grasses, leaves and flowers or imagining flying up to the stars.”

Virginia Graham

Virginia last exhibited with us in 2017 in a show we called Made with Love.  Based in the small Wiltshire town of Corsham, Virginia works from her studio at the bottom of the garden.  Virginia's ceramics are an eclectic amalgamation of nostalgic form and imagery, transforming the ordinary past by drawing on a wide range of domestic traditions.  Her handmade pieces include teapots and cups, coaster tiles and milk jugs.  Virginia uses a combination of slip casting and hand building techniques to create pieces in her signature style.  Their surface decoration includes slip painting, enamel transfer printing and metallic lustre's, making reference to historical wares including the familiar blue and white stripes of Cornish Ware as well as industrial plumbing and Victorian fabrics.  The resulting pieces are eclectic and precious with a playful humour yet at the same time are ordinary and familiar reminding us of that bygone era when afternoon tea was a serious business.

Gillies Jones

This talented duo have exhibited with the gallery in our Without Colour exhibition back in 2009 and one of our Christmas shows called Glass in the Window in 2010.  Partners in life and in art, Stephen Gillies and Kate Jones have been creating exceptional blown glass together for over 20 years.   Their stunning free blown, engraved vessels convey a unique aesthetic, drawing inspiration from the beauty of their rural surroundings.  Concerning itself with the landscape, their work blurs the boundaries between abstraction and literal interpretation.  Deliberately distorted bowl forms represent the hollows of the Yorkshire Dales and Moor tops; the gentle distortion of each vessel creating a unique form.  “Light illuminates the landscape around us and light animates our glass.  We explore the play of light within each piece through the use of Swedish overlay.  We slowly and meticulously carve into the fine coloured layers and surfaces of our vessel forms.”

Kate Kelly: Kaper Kate

This is the first time we have had the pleasure of working with Kate.  She creates a menagerie of playful paper sculptures.  Birds, flowers and small mammals are her favourite subjects and each piece is a one of a kind bespoke piece of contemporary craft.  Each free standing or wall hung sculpture is made from hand printed papers and varnished with a UV protective lacquer.  Every part of the making process is done by hand, transforming sketches into unique sculptures; “I begin with doodles in lots of sketch books, before working out a template for a three dimensional design. This is my favourite part: working out the maths, armed with sellotape and a protractor."  Kate enjoys working with paper as it is ordinary and unassuming; we have all made a paper boat or an aeroplane.  There are also so many options for creating work with very little environmental impact. “My designs begin as a doodle in a sketchbook and it pleases me that the same material is used for the finished piece.  I use a few recycled papers for my sculptures, all chosen for their strength, lovely textures and environmental impact.”  Animals have also been an important part of Kate’s life; “I am a bit of an introvert and find cats much easier to talk to than humans! It might be that my affinity for animals is in the genes.  My Grandad was the zookeeper at Belle Vue Zoo in Manchester. As a child, I was obsessed with the peregrine falcon and have always been fascinated with birds.  Two years ago I took on two Senegals from Birdline, a charity for abandoned and mistreated parrots.  But by in large animals belong in the wild and so I create sculptures in an attempt to capture their beauty. We can’t keep a barn owl in the living room, so I make paper versions to spread a little joy of them instead. Being in nature is good for the soul and I hope to convey the happiness it evokes in me in my work.”  


 

 

Please note - the above images are not necessarily pieces featured in this exhibition.  You can, however, view our gallery photos and watch a virtual gallery tour below and see the work that arrived for the show.  If there's anything you want to find out more about just get in touch, we're happy to help!