Summer Sun - 40 Years in the Making
23rd July - 1st October 2022
Colour, pattern, texture; this exhibition has it all! Makers who play with these elements are brought together in this vibrant and playful exhibition. Whether you’re longing to get away or you’re keen for some wistful nostalgia from sunnier times gone by this show will put a smile on your face. As well as some popular names being featured in this show, we’ve selected some shining and rising stars of the future as part of our 40th anniversary year celebrations.
Image: Amanda Anderson Melody of Birds II
Click on the links to our past shows below to discover more from our amazing 40 year archive!
This is the first time we’ve had the pleasure of working with Alex and we’re delighted that it’s for our anniversary show. Alex draws inspiration from her surrounding environment, inheriting her father's interest in wild flowers and love of beach-combing rocky coastlines. From a young age Alex has expressed her creative ideas in 3D forms and went on to train in Display Design. She soon moved into roles building bespoke props and window schemes for stores such as Harvey Nichols before developing her craft further in a career in architectural model making for a leading Covent Garden based practice. “I am now dedicated to my long-term ambition to establish myself as a jeweller, having studied at both City Lit and Sir John Cass where I honed my skills working with precious metals. Former influences are reflected in my jewellery in which you will always find an architectural style softened by a love of natural forms.”
Another new maker for the gallery and one which we’re very excited to work with, Arrabella uses traditional silversmithing techniques to create contemporary jewellery working with silver sheet and wire. She combines clean simple forms with anodised aluminium to add a burst of colour to each design. “I am lucky enough to live by a river. I am always mesmerised and inspired watching the diverse ever changing reflections and movement of the water and the plant and wild life which lives there. There aren’t many things that beat the gorgeous flash of turquoise and orange as a kingfisher whizzes by – it is that flash of colour which I try to replicate in my work.” Her first career couldn’t be further removed than that of a jeweller - she was a lawyer in London. Arrabella now works from her small garden studio in rural Dorset; “Having been cooped up in an office for so long, I never tire of the Dorset countryside and coast and gain great inspiration from the glorious colours and patterns that occur naturally in plants, trees and landscapes. I seek to reflect those natural colours and patterns in more linear and abstract forms in the way I dye the anodised aluminium.”
Carla first exhibited with us shortly after she graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 2000 and we premiered her exciting work in our Jewellery Show. The last time we worked with her was back in 2018 for our Made with Love exhibition so we’re delighted to have her return for this special anniversary show. Carla designs and makes contemporary resin jewellery from her workshop in Edinburgh, Scotland. Inspiration comes from a love of the natural world, pattern, colour and drawing. The small details of plants fascinate Carla and she enjoys translating elements of her colourful ink drawings into jewellery. Pieces are influenced by sketches from her garden, walks in the woods and the famous Royal Botanic Gardens ofEdinburgh. The resin is colourless to start with, but Carla mixes dyes for each limited edition batch. Resin is then layered into handmade silicone moulds and combined with oxidised silver to make quirky, contemporary necklaces, brooches, earrings, cufflinks and bangles. Using pattern and repetition of small resin or wire shapes within larger forms creates layers of interest. She contrasts these areas of pattern with bold simpleforms of solid colour. Techniques used are mould making, casting, filing, carving and polishing resin. These are alongside traditional metalworking techniques such as soldering, piercing and hammering. Many pieces are never quite the same twice, as the patterns and shades vary slightly each time.
Caroline has worked with us since 2016 supporting our exhibition programme so we’re thrilled to see her jewellery back with us in our Summer show, her first exhibition with us. Caroline fell in love with the outdoors and everything it has to offer whilst studying at University in Bangor, North Wales. “The outdoors, especially the coast, is where I am happiest and I have so many happy memories of bobbing around in the water, it’s usually somewhere cold (not intentionally… that’s Britain for you), and preferably a bit wild! I’ve always wanted to capture that feeling and bottle it so it can be opened and breathed in whenever the sea was out of reach or things become a little too much – a little bit of Vitamin Sea if you like!” She came across Surfite only a few years ago when she was searching for ways to create more sustainable and eco-friendly jewellery and now collaborates with leading independent British surfboard shaper Jay Burnett. Each piece of Surfite has its own story to tell, in its history as being part of a custom surfboard and in its future as another precious object. “When you look at the chunk of Surfite in its raw state you have no idea what you might discover inside. Often it is not until the very end that something amazing begin to appear. It reminds me that is it not what is on the outside that matters, and that sometimes it’s the things on the inside that are the most beautiful, interesting and exciting.” Caroline loves spotting shapes in the Surfite; landscapes, seascapes, waves and mountains, but she also loves hearing what other people see – “where I see white tipped waves in a blue sea, they see stormy skies; where the stripes remind me of sunrise and sunset, they see deckchairs and raspberry ripple ice-cream!”
Lisa is another exciting new maker for the gallery and we’re very excited to introduce her work to you in her first exhibition with us. A restless nomad, Lisa is inspired by the tones and textures of her surrounding environment be it cracking paint on urban graffiti or the bursting formations of foraged mushrooms. Working primarily in silicone and resin, she draws from her love of graphics to create three dimensional designs that are colourful, tactile and (most importantly) fun. Each part of the process is hand crafted; from the wooden masters to the silicone moulds to the custom mixed pigments. Lisa uses different inlaying, drilling and laminating techniques to create contrast and texture in her work. Initially wanting to be a graphic designer, a dislike of encroaching technology and a desire to get her hands dirty led Lisa to switch paths and she found a new passion in the world of contemporary art jewellery. She gained a BA (hons) in Metalwork and Jewellery from Sheffield Hallam University in 2006. Following a detour into the world of Records Management and a bout as Super Admin for East Street Arts, Lisa can now be found happily settled in her studio at Scott Hall Mills, Leeds.
Fionna started working with us back in 1994 when we featured her beautiful jewellery in a show called Jewellery 8. We also showcased her jewellery in another of our early exhibitions called Time and Eternity in 1995 so she has been with us for most of our 40 year journey. Fionna trained in fine jewellery making at Central School of Art & Design, London in the early 1980’s. She now makes unique, one-off contemporary jewellery. “My main aim is to inject individuality into each piece that I create, enjoying and celebrating the processes and materials involved, from drawing to making, this is reflected in the work.” Fionna has developed a very personal style of working with a variety of non-precious metals and materials including vitreous enamel and recycled precious metals. Her inspiration comes from notions of strength and fragility and mark-making influenced by observation in the landscape. Imperfections and textures are very much part of her work and reflect her interest in the surface effects of deterioration in man-made and natural materials.
Cat showcases her colourful jewellery alongside vessels in this exhibition. We last worked with her in a show we called Glass Now in 2016 so we’re thrilled to be working with her again this Summer. “Tactility is very important to the experience I want to create. I like the process of making and have spent over 19 years honing my technique.” Cat is inspired by Mycology, the sanctuary she finds walking in the woods, and the texture of the natural materials around her.
Michelle has been working with us since 2017 supporting our exhibition programme so we were delighted to invite her to show her beautiful work with us in her first exhibition here in Leeds. Using traditional jewellery techniques Michelle shapes, solders, and combines silver with resin to create elegant forms in striking colour combinations. The sensitive treatment of the combined materials allows the resin to take centre stage resulting in jewellery that evokes refined, modern sensibilities. “Resin is an extremely versatile material that excites my curiosity because of its ability to be many things; sinuous or angular, transparent or saturated with rich dense colour, large in scale but extremely light, frosted or highly polished. Utilising these inherent working properties enables resin’s precious qualities to be revealed.”
Please note - the above images are representations of pieces created by our makers and may not be the items featured in this show here with us. You can see what arrived for the show below in our gallery photos and our Virtual Gallery Tour. If you have any questions about the pieces featured just get in touch, we're happy to help!
Richard had a Solo Ceramic Showcase with us back in 2014 and we’re very excited to be working with him again in our 40th anniversary year. A ceramics graduate of the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, Richard is a long established professional potter whose is exhibited and collected widely in the UK and Europe. Richard makes thrown, altered and assembled vessels in coarse textured red and black earthenware clays with brushed slips and resist techniques. His work combines references to ancient pottery, European slipware traditions and early twentieth century abstract painting. Richard's broad pottery teaching experience spans forty years including basing his practice as Resident Potter in an independent Quaker school in Oxfordshire, where he attracted potters from around the world for intensive training on the potter's wheel. In 2014, Richard moved to West Cornwall and into a large new studio near Penzance which serves as base for his own work and as a classroom to continue developing his short course programme.
Maria exhibited her colourful ceramics with us back in 2013 in a show we called Here Comes the Sun so it’s wonderful to be working with her again for another exciting Summer exhibition. Maria’s early creative training and work was in graphic design at a time when the industry was changing from drawing boards to computers. As her work became more computer based she realised she missed using her hands and making things, which ultimately led her to ceramics, initially experimenting in a shed in the garden, but later to an MA in ceramic design at Bath Spa University. Inspired by mid-century design and the minimal aesthetics of artists such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd and Richard Serra, she uses line, colour and form in her pieces to explore themes to do with connections and relationships, boundaries and divisions, and differences and likenesses. Her work as a graphic designer is a major influence; the qualities of material, techniques and even some tools have come with her into working in clay. The precision she learned when creating artwork on a drawing board combined with the organic nature of clay is the basis of the way she works in clay today. An important part of her process involves painstakingly scraping and sanding the work at various stages to create the clean lines and balanced forms of her pieces. Her ceramic surfaces are matt areas of saturated colour and are inspired by the qualities of the papers she used to specify to printers. And paper is often the starting point for new ideas, making card and paper maquettes before moving onto experimenting in clay.
James & Tilla Waters
James and Tilla last exhibited with us in 2009 and have been a part of our 40 year journey from our early days. They are award winning studio potters based in Carmarthenshire, Wales. They met each other during their apprenticeship with Rupert Spira, and set up their own pottery in 2002. Their partnership combines James’s making skills with Tilla’s love of colour and design with a practice rooted in the production of thrown tableware, using both stoneware and porcelain clay bodies. “We think it’s important that each piece feels nice in the hand, works well and looks great.”
An exciting new maker for us in this Summer exhibition, Lucy has been making and decorating ceramics for 30 years. “My decorating technique has evolved over the years and I now almost exclusively use layers of coloured slips and paper resist with sgraffito detailing. I love this process and feel there is something akin to printmaking to it. I had no formal training, did a few evening classes and taught myself the rest, making every mistake possible on the way." Lucy's passion and interest is in the decoration, she makes her own moulds and press moulds each piece. Lucy works with red earthenware clay and use coloured slips and a paper resist method to achieve the clean lines that give an almost printerly affect. "The themes of my work stem from my interests and passions. It seems such a cliché to say nature is my inspiration but there is of course a reason so many artists are inspired by it. Nature, the natural world around us, is truly the most extraordinary thing. It is beautiful beyond words and at the same time it sustains us, without it we can’t survive. I am I suppose what is called an eco activist. By this I mean I live as lightly in the world as I can and at the same time I use my body, my time, my voice to attempt to draw attention to the desperate plight our natural world and all life that it supports is in."
Catriona last worked with us in 2016 when we featured her glass in an exhibition called Glass Now. We’re thrilled to be able to showcase new designs by this talented glassmaker for this Summer exhibition. Catmackglass and Frith Glassware were created with the intention to connect us to glass through tacility and colour. Founded by Catriona MacKenzie, both are about sanctuary, giving comfort through form, the functionality and the story behind each piece. Cat’s work tends to concentrate on clean feminine shapes with coloured glass applications, while using modern cut glass decoration to add texture. “Tactility is very important to the experience I want to create. I like the process of making and have spent over 19 years honing my technique.” Cat is inspired by Mycology, the sanctuary she finds walking in the woods, and the texture of the natural materials around her.
One of our well-loved makers from our 40 year archive, Lynn has been featured in many of our exhibitions over the years including All I Want for Christmas exhibitions in 2010 & 2014, Remember When in 2011 and Celebrating 35 Years in 2017. Lynn has a studio in North Cornwall where she makes wooden figures, wall pieces and boxes; made mainly from driftwood collected from her local beach. Using a band saw, sanding machine, hand tools and acrylic paint, Lynn transforms the varied driftwood pieces into characters, each telling their own story. She incorporates humour within her work and enjoys using text and a play on words with the title of each piece.
Justine’s ceramics were last exhibited here with us in 2019 supporting our exhibition programme and we’re so happy to feature her ceramics in her first exhibition with us here in Leeds. “Colour & making functional items have always been preoccupations of mine, ever since I was a child. Nothing has changed! Using white, earthenware clay, I seek to throw beautiful pots that function well, are comfortable & tactile to hold & whose form & colours add beauty & grace to a home, whether it be a jug on the kitchen table or a vase on a sunny windowsill. We choose items for our homes particularly, whether in the form of tableware or as interior decoration, that bring daily joy, enhance a sense of self, offer a focus for contemplation & that have an ease of utility & pleasure therein.” Through the interplay of colour on each pot, Justine seeks to explore harmony and dissonance, in terms of proportion & shade, & their interaction with the ceramic form. Each piece is handmade & therefore unique. “Each piece is a love letter to my craft, a note sent to you from my journey as a maker & designer.” Justine has been making wheel thrown, contemporary table and domestic ware from her workshop in the South Downs National Park since 2013. Having completed an apprenticeship at Dartington Pottery, Devon, in 1997, she spent the next year working for Julian Bellmont (formerly of Aldermaston Pottery) and then producing her own work whilst resident in Rome. Bringing up a family caused a 14-year hiatus!
Amanda’s fantastic mosaic wall art was featured in a show we called Tweet in 2019 and we’re delighted to see her work back on our walls for this Summer show. Amanda is a West Midlands based mosaic maker who originally studied Fine Art (sculpture) at Liverpool’s John Moores University. Amanda's mosaic menagerie of birds and other creatures are hand made using stained glass in a kaleidoscope of colours, jewel-like millefiori and patterned ceramic pieces intricately cut and constructed. She finishes her mosaics with a dark charcoal grout to give them a deep rich and seductive quality. Among her influences are the vibrant textiles and embroidery of India and Mexico, as well as a love of natural history, kinetic sculpture and vintage mechanical birds.
Eleanor is another new maker we’re introducing to the gallery this 40th anniversary year and we can’t wait to showcase her inspiring ceramics in this Summer exhibition. Eleanor is a ceramicist at Glasgow Ceramics Studio, WASPS in the East end. She fell in love with clay in Denmark whilst at primary school, and the drive to make things out of what is essentially mud has never stopped. The work that Eleanor creates brings light, nature and inspiration into a space that warms the heart and makes you smile. “I always encourage people to touch and handle my work and believe touch is part of the enjoyment of ceramics - there’s no look but don’t touch policy here.” Each piece she creates is completely unique, a variety of techniques employed and use of light is continually explored. She creates tactile work with a combination of textures, matt effects, contrasting high gloss and uses a range of finishes to bring out the individual characteristics of each piece. Eleanor is fascinated with the diversity of clay and draws inspiration from the Scottish west coast and the clay itself.
We’ve only ever exhibited Dee’s jewellery collections here in the gallery (since 2016) so having the opportunity to showcase her ceramics for the first time for this exhibition is very exciting for us. Dee grew up in London and while still in her teens, she won a place to study at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. “Who’d have thought, all these years later, my classical and contemporary dance training would inform the work I create today?” After leaving college, she performed in theatres up and down the country. “Though passionate, I grew weary, for once the show was over, the work ceased to exist. My yearning to create work less ephemeral, led me first to the clay, then jewellery and now I combine both into my every day practice.” Dee loves the creative process and her passion drives her. “I put in the hours at my trusty home studios in Grantham. Once the job is complete, I let the work do the talking. Some pieces whisper, some shout, but all speak the language of design and love of colour."
Vanessa’s ceramics were last exhibited here with us in 2011 supporting our exhibition programme so to showcase her fabulous new range of ceramics for an exhibition like this is really great. Working from her studio in Cellardyke, Scotland Vanessa makes a range of coloured glazed stoneware tableware. “I have been working as a potter in Scotland for over 20 years. The inspiration for my work comes from stones found along the seashore. I love the different mix of colours and shapes you find together which I try to reflect with my pots.” Vanessa is a professional member of the Craft Potters Association, London, and has a degree in Sculpture from Edinburgh College of Art.
Liz’s beautiful work has been featured in many of our shows over the years including Made with Love in 2013 and 2019 and Celebrating 35 Years in 2017. Liz works by combining wire and thread used to create intricate and delicate two dimensional and three-dimensional works reflecting her observations of nature. The inspiration for her work stems from the love natural forms in which she looks for shapes, textures, colours, within what might be a hedge row or a motorway verge, recording the small and insignificant details that can be sometimes overlooked. She lives and works in Manchester where she studied Embroidery and went on to develop her own practise and teach textiles and fine art. Over the years her work has evolved and has become focused on the use of mixed media with a fascination for wire and crochet. “Inspiration comes from everyday dog walks. Meadows, hedgerows, waysides – the mix of wild flowers, brambles and tangled grasses, the humble buttercup clumped to the curb side, these all go to inform the structures, shapes and colours in my works.”
Last exhibiting work with us in our Branching Out exhibition in 2017, we’re delighted to be working with this talented glassmaker again. Sarah's passions and focus combine when using her style of glassmaking; her interest in ornament and pattern with her love of colour. She has adapted many traditional techniques to suit her decorative style and to balance the fluidity of glass with her imagery. Sarah began glassmaking in 2001 during her studies at The Surrey Institute of Art and Design, graduating with 1st class honours 3D Design; Glass in 2004. It was during this time she began to discover her love of combining imagery with glass forms, experimenting with glass layers of different opacities. She went on to work for a number of glass studios honing her craft before embarking on a masters degree at The Royal College of Art, graduating in 2011 from the Ceramics and Glass department. Here she had the opportunity to combine her own style with the skills she had learnt over the previous years.
Angie is another new maker for the gallery and one we’re very excited to be working with in this Summer exhibition. Maker of handwoven rugs, art panels and home furnishings for lovers of colour, Angie established her business creating distinctive and intricate rugs and textile art in 2014. She specialises in hand-weaving using long established techniques, such as Krokbragd. After being taught rug weaving by the late Susan Foster at art college in the 1990’s, Angie pursued a career in costume for a number of years whilst continuing to weave on small scale collections. During this time she developed the original style for which she has become known for since setting up her business. “I combine my weaving with an instinctive and daring approach to colour and it’s the creative process of importing a contemporary element to the time honoured techniques of weaving and the responses from the viewer which most excite me. A year spent living in India and more recently, the dynamic graffiti and houses in my Bristol neighbourhood, have influenced the fabulously joyful palette which is intrinsic to my weaving.”
Nigel had his first Solo Ceramic Showcase with us back in 2011 so it is wonderful to welcome him back for this Summer show in our 40th anniversary year. Nigel studied at Cornwall College and went on to work at a pottery in North Devon. Inspired to challenge the notion of functional pottery being of secondary status to larger and more individual pots, he was determined to change this apparent hierarchy and find strength of expression and creativity purely through domestic ware. Nigel embarked on a course in the early eighties and learned all about the technical and practical aspects of clay, running a pottery studio and tool making. He even built his own kiln and kick wheel which he used for many years in his pottery. His passion for domestic ware was ignited when he stepped through the door of the throwing room and saw the vast array of regimented pots that filled the shelves. He still experiences excitement at the thought of people using his pots in their daily lives. In 1987, Nigel set up his own studio and started taking great interest in the pleasures of cooking. The relationship between food and pots seemed perfectly matched and his work began to be imbued with that consideration. Ingredients and dishes from international cultures and cuisines inspire him so he makes pots with the resulting dish in mind.