Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Jeremyville at Castor and Pollux from Friday

After some trouble getting an image up I have succeeded! Go to for an idea of what else will be in the show!!

Jeremyville is an artist, product designer, animator and human. He wrote and produced the first book in the world on designer toys called Vinyl Will Kill, published by IdN, interviewing people like Fafi, Sarah from Colette, Baseman, Biskup, Pete Fowler, Jason Siu, Kinsey and Kozik.

His latest book is called 'Jeremyville Sessions', featuring collaborations with Geoff McFetridge, Miss Van, Devilrobots, STRANGEco, Lego, Converse, MTV and Adidas. His art has been published in design books by IdN, Die Gestalten Verlag, All Rights Reserved, Victionary, MTV, Magma Books, Kidrobot, Faesthetic, Laurence King, Taschen and Pictoplasma.

Jeremyville has worked with clients such as Converse, Rossignol, Colette, Coca Cola, MTV, Kidrobot, Refill, Graniph in Japan, Adio Shoes, STRANGEco, Wooster Collective, Super Rad Toys, Play Imaginative, sketchel, Adidas, Tiger Beer and Tiger Translate, Artoyz in Paris, Domestic Vinyl in Paris, Corbis, Thunderdog, Red Bull, Pop Cling, 55DSL and Beck.

He has appeared in magazines such as Swindle, Vapors, xlr8r, Wallpaper, Dazed and Confused, Nylon, Monster Children, Oyster, Computer Arts UK, Fused UK, Yen, IdN, Territory, Juxtapoz, The Drama, Beautiful Decay, 119, Xfuns, T World Journal, and Faesthetic.

Jeremyville splits his time between studios in Sydney Australia and New York City. He collects rare t-shirts, sneakers, toys and denim, and has a Converse x Jeremyville shoe released in late 2008.

The exciting news for us at Caspo is that we are have published a Brighton inspired print by Jeremy and the 50 signed editions are on sale with us from Friday along with other goodies all the way from Australia.

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Saturday, 19 July 2008

A visit to Mr Willett's Popular Pottery

Last week I was in Brighton for work but I made sure I had some time to call into the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery to visit a favourite of mine - the Willett Gallery, which is also fondly known as Mr Willett's Popular Pottery.
This is a small gallery space tucked in on the right hand side as you enter the main Art gallery, and houses the Willettt Collection of English ceramics.

Henry Willett's collection of English ceramics offers a unique view of British history. In this gallery 700 figures, vessels, plates and tiles from 1600-1900 are grouped in 23 themes reflecting political and social history. Henry Willett collected ceramics in order to tell the history of the British people and gave his collection as a gift to Brighton in 1903.
I love English ceramics and seeing pieces that sat on mantlepieces over the years. The Staffordshire figures whether of cows, spaniels or a newly married couple are really super. I have seen images of them in so many of the prints that I show, where printmakers have been drawn to the nostalgia of these English ceramics.
The artists Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious and their circle all have Staffordshire figures in their work. The printmaker Robert Tavener shows two Staffordshire spaniels on the mantlepiece in an early lithograph "Red Nursery", the same two Staffordshire spaniels that sat on the mantlepiece in his own living room.

The great thing about this really wonderful collection is that it is always there, quietly waiting for visitors, and it is free. It is beautifully displayed and a real pleasure and Brighton are very lucky to have it. It is just next door to the Corn Exchange, the venue for Brighton Art Fair, so if exhibiting or visiting maybe find a few minutes and go and see the Willett Gallery.

For Willett Collection see Brighton Museum and Art Gallery
For original prints see Emma Mason British Prints
Tel. 07944 535354

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Thursday, 17 July 2008

Through The Keyhole - Angela Charles

Angela Charles lives in Somerset. Her home was built by an architect. With no windows on the road side (to the north) and a 50cm outside wall the traffic is completely blocked off. With all windows on the south side the house retains the heat from the sun and needs very little heating.

Angela and her husband saw the house being built and were looking to move from Brighton to her husband's native West Country and bought the house from the architect in 2001. It's built on an old allotment, on a triangular piece of land on the A30. It looks like a conversion with it's round tower but it's not, the architect just fancied building the round tower at the end of the house and it fits perfectly on the shape of the land. The house is built with local Somerset hamstone and was a pretty controversial build for Crewkerne, a small market town in Somerset , whose recent claim to fame was Pete Dohertys scuffle with a fan who took his photograph in the town centre!

Angela loves gazing through the south facing windows from the kitchen-diner to the sun terrace and beyond, most of the rooms in the house centre around the sun terrace with views over Crewkerne, the view is of industry, housing and the fields beyond and looks different every day.

Angela says, "The feature that won me over was the round hall way with the natural light coming through which echoes the round tower. The round tower part holds the living room on the ground floor and the master bedroom and ensuite upstairs, people often ask if we've got a round bed - no we haven't!"

As an artist/curator/collector the house also holds a collection of artworks including those by Peter Joyce, Jessica Cooper, Mark Surridge, Padraig Macmiadhachain, Brian Graham, Oliver Teagle, and Antoni Tapies.

The wooden boat sculpture in the kitchen is by Lawrence Dicks, he was on a stand near to me at Brighton Art Fair which was fatal, it meant looking at it all weekend, I had to have it!

Angela is exhibiting at the Brighton Art Fair in September 2008.

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Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Maker of the week - Islay Spalding

Islay Spalding Contemporary Jewellery Design

I create distinctive one-off pieces of jewellery I call Biomorphs and Small Worlds from silver and resin. They are colourful, fun and highly wearable. I am inspired by surrealist art and nonsense stories,especially the work of Desmond Morris, Yves Tanguy, Wassaily Kandinsky, Salvidor Dali and Lewis Carroll to name a few. I also make jewellery from silver, gold, semi precious stones and other materials, some is narrative like the Jabberwocky Collection while some are based on stories in my head like Treasure Rings. I like my jewellery to be different but still easily worn and practicle. I like contrast whether it be colour, texture or form. And I like each piece to mean something, whether it be real meaning as in a date or name worked into the design or a fictional story behind it. I also make bespoke Kilt Pins, these are made to order and often feature hills, landscapes and music. They are fabricated from sterling silver and I use techniques such as photoetching, saw piercing and oxidising to add contrast, detail and texture.

Just now I'm working on a few kilt pin commissions. Two I've started making and a couple are still in the designing stage. I'm also making some rings and bangles from silver and black resin which are a bit different to any of my previous designs.

Favourite living artist
Desmond Morris, I found out in 4th year at art school that this well known zoooligist and author is also a surrealist artist. It was from him I got the word biomorphs which is what I call a collection of my jewellery made with silver and colourful resin. He paints pictures of biomorphs which he describes as neither creature or plant but something in between. In 1948 he created his black dream-room, a room painted with vivid images on a black background, his biomorphic vision. He slept in this room hoping it would bring him closer to the biomorphs, like sleeping inside his paintings. It was "a room for intensifying dreams".

Favourite living craft maker
Peter Chang, his jewellery just blows me away, I think his shapes, colours and textures are all incredible. The combination of these create objects that are organic, robotic and playful, some look like plants from a distant planet and some look like parts of a space ship or motorbike. His bracelet and rings look solid and heavy but apparently they are really light!

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I wanted to become an artist from quite a young age, after wanting to be a teacher (like my mum) or a nurse. I was good at drawing at school and I remember quite clearly showing other girls how to draw a t-shirt shape at nursery when everyone was still drawing people with round bodies! So I knew I wanted to go to art school but had no idea what I would do there. I remember thinking that I liked drawing but what I really wanted to do was make things and it wasn't until my higher art that I decided design was what I really wanted to do. I hadn't seriously thought about jewellery until first year at art school. After spending the year doing a general course I choose to specialise in jewellery and metalwork and now I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I like the fact that designing jewellery has it's constraints, like it must be able to be worn and therefore be durable and cleverly designed, though some people would argue against this! Jewellery has meanings and conotations that are easily understandable by everyone and is therefore accessible to all, most people have an opinion about jewellery. It's mini sculpture and can be full of hidden meaning or simply just pleasing to the eye.

What place in the world has inspired you?
My parents have a caravan on the west coast of Scotland in a campsite on Loch Sween. This is my favorite place in the world and it inspires me in many ways. The scenery in this part of Scotland is wonderful and feels so untouched, I love the way the weather can dramatically change the landscape. It's these combinations of sea and hills that have inspired a lot of the shapes I use in my Kilt Pin designs. When I am there I feel I can escape and it doesn't matter about anything else, it's the best place to just sit on a rock and empty your head. The campsite is built round a ruined castle dating back to the 12th century called Castle Sween. I love castles and the feeling you get being inside somewhere with so much history, especially ruins, I love imagining what it must have looked and felt like when the castle was occupied and used.
(Islay's blog about Sween HERE)

I'm going to Barcelona this year which I'm really excited about, it's a place I've always wanted to visit. Gaudi's work has always been a big inspiration to me so maybe this will become the place that has most inspired me, I shall be armed with camera and comfy shoes!

Last best read?
Today I finished a book called Popco by Scarlett Thomas. I really enjoyed it and learnt a bit about cryptanalysis and maths which I found really interesting. It's follows the story of Alice who works for a toy company and what happens when she gets sent to a secret 'thought camp' with her team to work on a new brand of girls toys. It wasn't at all what I expected and I would recommend it as an enjoyable read that gives you a satisfying feeling of having found out about something.

What do you have on your pinboard?
On one I have business cards, random ideas written on post-its, an arrangment of invoices and receipts that really should be filed more often, postcards, a colour chart and it's also where I hang my necklaces (the ones I wear, not make!) Beside it I have a whiteboard with a list of commissions I am working on and what to do next. In my workshop I also have a whiteboard with a list of materials that I need to buy and a load of ideas and things to do. Since I have no pinboard in my garage I have hung a piece of string and attached drawings, pictures and photos with bull dog clips. In my ideal studio I would have a whole wall dedicated to whiteboards and pinboards!

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is in my parents garage, it's more of a workshop really with all my tools, bench and sink. It's usually quite messy, I find I work better with everything around me. I call it organised chaos, I know where everything is and being able to leave things out to come back and work on is one of the big advantages to working alone. The desk in my bedroom is where I do any paperwork, it's also where I keep all my books and research. Any drawing, designing and e-mailing I do in various locations thanks to my macbook. Recently thanks to the sunshine I have been working in my garden a lot but it could be the kitchen table or even the bus! I usually listen to Radio 2 when I'm working. I like how listening to the radio breaks up the day and keeps you informed on what's going on in the world while you work. If it's not the radio (it can do my head in sometimes!) then I'll listen to music or podcasts on my ipod. My favourite podcasts are the Russell Brand Show and Adam and Joe, the music I listen probably includes a little bit of everything so long as it's upbeat.

Surprising activity/hobby?
I play the side drum in a pipe band. I have done this since I was 7 and since my mum is a piper this way of life seems entirely natural for me but I suppose it's less usual in England. I also play in a TA pipe band which is quite unusual as you don't get many creatives in the army! The pipe band I compete with is called MacKenzie Caledonian and we are in grade 3A. So far his year we have done well in the competitions, finger's crossed for the World Championships! I have managed to tie in my hobby with my work by designing and making bespoke Kilt Pins which I'm having great fun with and getting lot's of interesting commissions.

Would you rather be doing something else?
At some points yes, but that would depend on what that something else was. If something else was lazing about in my bed or reading a good book, in the sunshine, by the pool with a beer and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps then of course. If something else was working a 9-5 job then definitely not!

Guilty secret?
I like drowning the spiders in my workshop in the sink.

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Sunday, 13 July 2008

Artist of the Week - Stephen Maxwell Campbell

Stephen is my business name and Stephen is my name, but more commonly people call me Stiven in Torun and Staszek in Krakow

My work is;
Not cool, not didactic, not famous, not shocking, not incomprehensible, and hopefully not boring, but peacefull
Film about Stephen Here

Money spent on Cherry flavoured jaffa cakes is never wasted
I wanted to say coffee, but I need to calm down on my caffeine addiction. Nothing is worth spending money on, if I didn't have money I'd still be doing what I'm doing but probably wouldn't earn very much from it. I can't say money spent on art is never wasted, hmm. In Poland they have Cherry flavoured jaffa cakes, so money spent on them is never wasted.

One favourite living artist?
Jacek Yerka, because he has the sort of imagination I'd like to crawl into and never leave.

One favourite historical maker?
Mother Nature, well it's self explanatory, she's made the best things

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I think it was sitting on the parquet floor behind the sofa at my Grandma's house drawing on computer paper from one of the very first computers, I think it had UMIST or Victoria University of Manchester written down the side, with felt-tip pens that would pierce the thin paper at the edges of the wooden tiles.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I like working in collaboration, but probably not with painters. I've worked with musicians and sculptors and its been fun, I've not had to see the final piece and think, 'god what have you done to my painting?'

What was the last art thing you purchased?
I think it was a pair of large prints by Szymon Rychlik one rather macabre of a trickle of bright red blood coming from a washing machine, and another of a woman with a 1970s washing machine full of rubber toys. I saw them in the best launderette in Krakow if you ever go its on ul. wrzesinska number 6. They had the old washing machine from the photographs there, which I thought was rather endearing until I moved into a flat with one, now I hate them, it eats my clothes. Launderettes in Poland are nothing like the ones in England, they serve coffee, they're clean, the staff are friendly and helpful, there's one in Torun that's half restaurant, cafe, half launderette. hmm seem to be more enthusiastic about the launderette. It was quite strange buying the photographs, I didn't realise we already knew each other, he and his girlfriend make shoes. I like the colours and composition, the humour, the retro element, even though I'm not keen retro things, and how the light is cast on the objects.

Last best read?
Oooh at the moment I'm reading house of day house of night by Olga Tokarczuk, its fascinating but quite morbid, its full of recipes for poisonous mushrooms, but so far Ryszard Kapuszinski and Tadeusz Konwicki are in the lead. It's not easy getting Polish books in English in England (actually its probably harder in Poland) but if you're interested in the world, Kapuszinski is amazing, he's been everywhere, seen things I had no idea happened. The other journalists used to watch wherever he went because they knew that if he was going somewhere, something truly historical was about to happen.

Who would you say buys your work?
All kinds of people. Barmen, people who work for the post office, millionaires, drunk people who go to the cabaret where I paint, a Nano-scientist, mostly people who see me painting.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I procrastinate, then find out if I can get the materials I need for free in order to experiment. I've just started some experiments this week, I got the free materials by helping some friends take furniture from their parents house in the country. Next door, who happened to be relatives (I don't want to make any snide comments but the whole village seemed to be related) were having a party to celebrate a baby's 1st birthday, which involved bottle after bottle of vodka and a huge spitroasted pig with radishes for eyes. After a few bottles of vodka everyone loves you and will gladly give you all the glass and steel you can carry, as well as freshly picked cherries from the orchard. I almost forgot to mention the half blind old man tanked up with vodka tearing around the garden on an enormous quad bike. So hat's off to procrastination

What do you have on your pinboard?
I don't have a pinboard but I've got little sketches of shadows on my wall, a photograph of a woman shaving her face with a cigarette in her mouth, and post it notes all over the place with polish vocabulary.

Where and what is your studio?
Mainly I prefer to work outside, so my studio is everywhere and vast, in this case I prefer to work to the sounds of what's around me, this is very important if you want to paint more than just what things look like. I think there are the sounds, the smells, the temperature, the emotions of the environment in the painting. I make my paint in this case in my space ship, which is my travelling studio, its a van really, but I call it my statek kozmicznego (space ship). When I ran out of space and ended up having to paint over previous paintings I got a flat and now sadly I paint outside and add the never ending layers of glazes indoors to the sounds of car crashes outside (I have a view of an infamous junction) and contemporary classical music.

What is your favourite website? because it encourages me to do more than just paintings, and its fun to spot the work when you're travelling. I have a regular pub I go to in Berlin when I pass through, I came outside because it was getting too smoky and right in front of me was an enormous mural I recognised from the website, it made me feel quite, I don't know, pleased? educated?

Surprising activity?
Watching tower blocks on Monday nights when everyone's watching the same television programme.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
No, if I have a project that's in full swing its hard to do anything else, I get frustrated with having to go to work, I'm thinking of pretending I'm crazy.

Would you rather be doing something else?
I'd like to be a blacksmith, I always prefer to be doing something else, when I'm with my friends I'd rather be painting, when I'm painting I'd rather be with my friends. No, I love painting, but I don't like exhibiting or organising them, I think it would be fun to be a ghost painter.

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
If the world is going to continue for a long time then yes, if it's about to end then probably no.

Are their other fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work into?
Yes I want to conduct an orchestra on a ferris wheel in a factory

Can anything be 'art'?
Could that be rephrased into 'Is anything 'art'?'. Some people say that if an artist says its art then it is, but who says who an artist is? So much art is only 'art' because it's in a gallery. Apparently there was an art competition in Poland, but they were doing repairs somewhere in the gallery, the workers went on a break and when they returned they'd won first prize, I don't know if that's true. Someone told me that I'm an artist, someone else told me that because I'm an artist, everything I do is art, this made me feel rather nice, but if I tell someone they're beautiful, they're only beautiful to me. I think the only people who can say whether something is 'art' or not are people with no education in art, if we let art get so over intelectualised like it is, it stops being special, ok Duchamp's fountain is art, it worked like art - it got people thinking, and made people angry, happy etc it doesn't mean that we should start bowing down to everything like the idiots chasing Brian in the monty python film. However if you think something's art, why not? I don't have to agree with you.

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Friday, 11 July 2008

Through The Keyhole - Emily Nixon

Emily Nixon and her family bought their house in Penzance, Cornwall in 2000. They hadn’t really been looking for a new home but had seen this dilapidated old house in the local paper and although it was in need of huge amounts of work (it was in four flats and very unloved) - it was a time capsule, full of the most unbelievable period features and screaming out to be turned back into a family home.

The house was built around 1835, probably for a sea captain or successful merchant. Unlike the other houses in the terrace, this one was highly Victorianised by whoever lived here later in the century, and a lot of money must have been lavished on it at that time because of the fabulous mosaics, terrazzo flooring, plaster friezes and other delights that were added; pewter finger plates and door knobs elaborately decorated with flowers and sea creatures, a copper fireplace lavishly depicting daffodils. All unloved, untouched and waiting to be appreciated.

Emily was attracted to the house for so many reasons: the space, the light streaming through the huge bay windows at the front, the character and charm and the two rather gorgeous buildings in the garden referred to (somewhat grandly!) as the coach house and stabling, which she knew would make the perfect studio for her! Also the house had a infamous history, with many well known local characters having lived here over the years. Perhaps the most well known being Betty Paynter, who rather sadly ended up here having spent her fortune on drink and unsuitable men. The house witnessed her estranged husband shooting her lover on the staircase – the damaged plasterwork a scar of the event!

Emily converted the coach house into her studio about four years ago, but has really only finished it in the last six months. She says "I am so lucky, it is a beautiful and inspiring space overlooking the courtyard garden – it means I can keep half an eye on the activities of the household and on our energetic children (George 11, Oliver 9 and Dulcie 5). It has a mezzanine for all the office bits and lots of space for being creative downstairs, as long as I can keep it free from bikes and lawnmowers!"

In the basement of the house is the most beautiful flat, which was converted from the original kitchens of the main house; it has amazing terrazzo floors ( Emily has no idea why anyone would have been so lavish on the servants quarters!) and bags of character. The family rent it out for holidays (Cornwall Online - Penzance section -The Kitchens).

Emily and her family love living in Cornwall; "Penzance is a great town with a really strong sense of community and lots of creative people. I am really near the beach – we can see the sea out of the windows and I adore this house; it is a real rambling family home, always filled with people and laughter, noise (piano, drums, very loud Jack Russell!). The kettle is always on, a bottle of wine usually open! Then there is always the chance for a moment of peace in the studio!"

Emily's own art collection includes a beautiful, restrained Trevor Bell painting that hangs in the sitting room that she adores, a swap for the design of a catalogue by Emily's husband Martin. The family also have five pairs of feet hanging in the hall, mosaics made by Cleo Mussi, taken from templates from all the family. They are a real reminder of time passing; the children's feet look so tiny! All over the house there are strange collections of objects and memorabilia, photographs and strange car boot sale finds that are all very special.

Emily will be selling her jewellery at Made 08 in November.
All photographs courtesy of Mainstream Images.

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Thursday, 10 July 2008

Maker of the Week - Emily Nixon, Ixo Jewellery

Emily Nixon, IXO jewellery

Raw, organic, textured natural forms made from silver and gold and incorporating precious and semi precious stones.

Money spent on going to Glastonbury is never wasted, because I can let my hair down, feel like a student again, be completely indulgent and self-centred for three days, chilled out because of the yoga and reflexology, giggling because of the amazing laughter workshop (everytown needs a laughter club) feeling revitalized, and being a much cooler and trendier mum!!!

One favourite living craft maker ?
Cleo Mussi, who makes unbelivable mosaics, because she is just so talented and creative see

What place in the world has inspired you?
Gwithian Beach, every time I walk over the pebbles I can’t help filling my pockets!

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
Never, my new pieces develop as I go along and so far my clients have always been excited by new things and I have a loyal following!

Who would you say buys your work?
My work is very classic but has a statementy edge, it is usually bold and unusual. I make lots of wedding rings for people who are looking for something very different from the high street but that will be timeless.

Where and what is your studio?
At the back of my garden in a converted coach house, I work with constant interruptions from children, our mad jack russell and friends who drop in for coffee; but that’s the way I love it! I usually have the radio on and mostly listen to radio 1 with smaterings of radio 4, although for some reason I sill haven’t worked out why my radio always starts the morning turning itself on with radio 2 – I’m not great with technology and haven’t got round to re tuning it! If I’m not in the studio I’m on the beach collecting pebbles, or fiddling with a piece whilst making supper.

Surprising activity/hobby?
I am about to start some surfing lessons as I think that if I don’t do it now I never will and it must be really amazing if people are prepared to get into the water when the surf is good, even if its blowing a snowy gale in the middle of winter! - I think I also need a camper van (its my mid life crisis and I’m going to enjoy it!)

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I feel really lucky to enjoy my work so much, for it to fit in so well around my gorgeous family.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?


Guilty secret?
I enjoyed watching James Blunt play at Glastonbury!

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Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Kellie Miller

Kellie Miller’s collection of 101 unique cups have been selected to be exhibited the 8th International Ceramic Festival in Mino, Japan in August and September 2008

Hove based Kellie, was also a finalist in the Taiwan International Ceramic Exhibition in 2004, and was artist in residence at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Shiga, Japan in 2003, has been given an honourable mention in one of the ceramic’s world’s most prestigious ceramics events, held every three years and visited by 150,000 over 2 months.

The work, 101 Couture Cups, is a handmade collection of individually unique cups. Kellie says
” this body of work needs to be seen and to be part of a museum collection. It takes a simple vessel and shows the diversity of how it can be made unique by the handle, surface design and shape. It also challenges how we use and hold a cup and highlights the accessibility of an everyday object”.

The installation and the design of these cups mark the beginning of Kellie Miller’s homeware range which is due to be launched in 2009

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Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Maker of the Week - Rachel Dormor

Rachel Dormor Ceramics, 8 Garry Drive, Cambridge.

Porcelain tableware all made on the wheel. Lovely things for everyday use and special occasions.

Favourite living craft maker?
Edmund De Waal for the way he contextualises his work and for making the cross over into installation

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
I was really unhappy at school and used to spend time in the pottery studio. Learning to throw helped me take control of my life and has been the main focus for over half my life now. The artist I most admired at that time was Robin Welch. I met him last year and he bought some of my cups!

How do you set about starting a new project?
I start off by drawing and looking for inspiration in nature and in daily life.

Where and what is your studio?
In a log cabin at the end of my garden, I listen to Tom Waits.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
No, I work the equivalent of 2 full time jobs but people always think it must be a relaxing way of life.

Would you rather be doing something else?

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Yes, I think people massively underrate the importance that art, craft and design have on their well being.

Guilty secret?
I don't do ironing

Can anything be 'art'?
No, it has to have integrity or a back story

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
Cheap mass produced china.

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