Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Gwen Bainbridge

Gwen Bainbridge is a ceramicist based in Penrith.  Her pots, jugs and vases have that wonderful decorative element that i love, coupled with a little quirkiness and a fine balance.  Gwen also produces jewellery

“My work is not just to be looked at, although I like my work to be explored in order to discover every little detail. I love the way the Porcelain and Bone China are so readily warmed by the human touch, so that using them is yet another sensory journey.

I see my work as a three-dimensional scrap-book coming from both memories of my childhood and from my response to the experiences brought about through research in books, rummaging through bric a brac, antique fairs, old photographs and magazines. I’m always on the lookout for items that I might use in my work, both for inspiration and for direct practical use. I’m drawn to decorative items. Even as a child I had favourite buttons from my mum’s button box that I played with. There were some beautiful green glass dishes that were brought out for parties and the best china laid out when the minister was coming for tea. These are very strong memories for me. But alongside this finery there was the informal, natural world of my surroundings living on a rural farm in Cumbria. The hedgerows where we found  birds nests with the treasured little eggs of wild birds, which we watched until they hatched and finally fledged. "

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Friday, 25 March 2011

Karen Shapley

I have been a longtime fan of Karen Shapley's work, ever since i saw her graduation show at MMU Alsager on the Contemporary Craft Degree (sadly now disbanded).  I am also lucky enough to own a piece of her work which was given to me by a very wonderful friend.Unfortunately, Karen does not appear to have a website of her own, so you can only see her work when galleries advertise it.  The images shown are all part of an upcoming exhibition to be shown at the Form Gallery in Blaenavon from 9 April.  Her work is an eclectic mix of hand built ceramics and textiles, with many vintage references.  On the site Karen explains her work :

"I am a ceramic/textile artist creating a range of ceramic objects resembling domestic tea ephemera. My pieces are playful and a contemporary reflection of a bygone age when tea parties and domestic decadence were everyday occurrences.

Inspiration comes from an era when time was taken to enjoy the social niceties of afternoon tea. The sourcing of found objects such as textiles and cutlery from junk shops and markets enable me to add layers of comfort, colour and nostalgic memories. Grandma's linens, stripes and spots help create a range of embellished, decorative tea pottery.

Ceramics are handbuilt from slabs of clay, decorated with a range of coloured slips and text. Textiles are dyed stitched and printed before being padded and buttoned. Found objects are included to add a further dimension and to develop subtle recognition. These recycled items include vintage textiles, patterns, embroidery transfers and metal objects. Spoons are sometimes pierced before the addition of enamel paint and lazertran decals. Development of these often neglected items allows them a new lease of life and by adding them to my ceramics helps facilitate Engaging Domestics.

my teacup

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Turner Contemporary

The new Turner Contemporary art gallery officially opens next month in Margate.  Apart from the sad fact that this will be one of the last publicly funded galleries opened in the UK for some time ... because of the economic climate .... i am fascinated with the wonderful fact that they have built the gallery on the site of the old guesthouse that Turner used to stay in when he travelled to Margate.  On the website there is a brief history ..

The building is situated on the exact same site as the ‘Cold Harbour’ guest house where Turner stayed on his frequent visits to Margate, recreating his original view and capturing the same unique Thanet light that inspired many of his works.
From the gallery, everyone will be able to experience and enjoy the panoramic views over the harbour that Turner himself saw.
Turner first went to Margate as a child, and even attended school there.  The gallery is not just about Turner however.  As its name suggests it will be about promoting contemporary artists ... just as Turner was in his era.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Typographic brooches

i really love these simple little brooches being sold on Etsy by ismay.  They are made of wood covered in old maps and letters etc. On her profile she says she has a degree in book arts and spends most of her time bookbinding and printmaking.  I love the clean, clear lines of this typeface ... i wonder which one it is?
It seems very similar to courier.  On her website unfortunately there is very little information about this artist ... but she does also make beautiful handmade books bound in old postcards and maps.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Julia Griffiths Jones

shirt of a lad

I was recommending this artist to a friend of mine the other day and it was a timely reminder to look at her work.  Many years ago I spent a wonderful day on a workshop run by Julia and created a piece of wirework art that is still on my kitchen wall today!  She creates wonderful, evocative pieces of art which can be read either as purely decorative or as little stories.  On her website
her personal statement reads:

My work is concerned with the translation of Textile techniques such as stitching, quilting, patchwork, embroidery, into a wire and metal form; thus changing its original nature and function but retaining the meaning and the decoration. I am very inspired and influenced by Textile work created by women alongside their domestic duties as much as for need as for warmth. This interest began when I was a student at the Royal College of Art.

I won a scholarship to research and study Textiles in Poland and Czechoslovakia. Here I saw Folk Art for the first time; it was everywhere woven through all aspects of life. Gradually I began to transfer my drawings into three dimensions using wire and became totally enthralled by the possibilities of drawing in space using line and colour. My training and qualifications are in Textile Design so this change in materials was a huge departure for me but a very crucial one as through it I began to create, I believe, a unique language and a deeply satisfying one.

I would do for you

Julia is a Senior Lecturer at Swansea Institute.  Her recent work appears to be quite different as she is digitally printing her drawings onto linen and wool after a residency at the National Wool Museum.

I love Julia's work, partly because she is an artist who is not afraid of the 'decorative'.  Her use of wire to make line drawings of garments and reflections on domestic life creates an interesting tension for the viewer.

Saturday, 19 March 2011


I was wondering around Anthropologie in Regent Street a few weeks ago and took these photographs of artistic creations placed around the shop.  Sometimes going in there is more inspiring than walking around an art gallery!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Kontor Kontur

Kontur Kontar are a design collective based in Gothenburg. I really like the placement of simple objects to create an interesting assemblage.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Friday, 11 March 2011


I am only a few days into my Lent resolution to give up chocolate and I am having serious withdrawal symptoms!!  To cheer myself up (or is it torture?) I have been drooling over the Choccywoccydoodah website ... which is absolutely wonderful!  They are a Brighton based artisan chocolate company creating the most wonderful chocolate concoctions i have seen.  You can't believe that all the work is made out of chocolate ... it truly is amazing.  They are shortly having their own TV show on the GoodFood Channel (which I unfortunately don't get) but watch the advert below!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

La Versha Chair

As soon as I saw these chairs on the Anthropologie website they made me want them.  They are incredibly girly and fun!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Letterpress Inspiration

Tokketok is a letterpress and design studio founded by Joke Vande Gaer. Joke is a Belgian designer based in Portland, Oregon. Her work looks deceptively simple but is actually very considered, and i find it very inspiring.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Giovanni Allevi

Something for the weekend ... just relax and enjoy

Friday, 4 March 2011

Elsa Mora

Elsa Mora is a American mixed media artist.  Her main website is a delight ... but it has links to other blogs including ones on papercutting and miniature books.  The paper ring shown above is so intricate and clever I can't begin to imagine how she made it.  Being a lover of handmade books i also love her book blog and was spoilt for choice over which ones to choose.  Elsa also has a blog about her own personal dress style .. and her innate elegance and sense of style and fun makes me feel very jealous!  She is a fascinating and talented artist who seems to be able to imbue her work with her own joie de vivre.

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