Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Open Houses Worthing

Worthing Open Houses
opened their doors again last weekend showing a wide variety of art and craft. It's only on for 2 weekends and next weekend is the last weekend so if you fancy a day in Worthing - Brighton's up and coming but sleepy neighbour then would be a good time!Worthing has embraced the Open House idea enthusiastically with double the number of houses opening this year (45 venues) from last year and visitor numbers respectable.

We had a few distractions over the weekend - setting up our pictures (late) in one open house, talking to artists and visitors, sitting in the sun on the beach drinking sangria and waiting for our lunch to be served at Coast Cafe, taking pictures of the classic american cars at the rally on the Steine - the houses we did visit were pretty good and worth a look. Details of all artists and houses can be found on the website here - the symbol on the map marking a venue is a house and the pointy bit is a roof not an arrow pointing to the location - so make sure you read the address!

Here are a few we got to visit... and they're worth a look!

8 New Parade Alison Milner recently curated an exhibition "Beyond Floral" up in Barnsley and she's brought much of the exhibition to her house at New Parade on Worthing Seafront. (also picture at top of page)

Sarah Young Dolls and Mel William Lavender birds at 3 Alexandra Road

Sarah Young relief prints at Alexandra Road

and Sarah Young Paintings at Alexandra Road

Julia Burns, Philip Tyler and Louise Tyler at 229 Farm Road

Chis Hill at 229 Farm Road

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Monday, 26 July 2010

Jeremy Hunt Launches Structural Reform Plan

Jeremy Hunt the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, launched his "structural reform plan" setting out the Coalition Governments plans for that sort of thing on the 15th July.

(Picture Guardian.co.uk)

A quick reading of it reveals that Culture and Art isn't really mentioned at all apart from a general 'encourage philanthropic giving' - that's it.

All the rest of the plans were about the olympics and para-olympics, "Boosting the big society" - lifting restrictions on cross-media ownership, a move which will apparently boost the "big society" and not just reward media moguls for electoral support. Also they hope broadband will be extended across the country by telecom companies.

But about art, culture and heritage nothing, ziltch, nada.

I hope that this could mean that these sectors will be left alone to fulfill their artistic goals, and that the government is happy with the successes and value for money of these sectors provide and that they don't need reform just hands-off nurturing and occasional funding.

Or did they just forget...

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Artist of the Week - Sara Downham Lotto

Sara Downham Lotto's paintings are primarily abstract, celebrating the spirit and sensation of seeing. Composed in mixed media, they illustrate a dynamic exploration and consolidation of decorative form and colour, surface and light. At conception they are free and organic, embracing the accidental and playfully arranging pleasing shapes, colours and textures. Increasingly, the creative process becomes slower and more considered, drawing on an intuitive sense of when to stop. A lifetime‘s passion for beauty in art and nature, plus years of study both the practice and how it exists in a historical context, have significantly fed this intuition. Technically, the paintings evolve into a build up of translucent layers of paint and collaged paper creating a sense of depth and intrigue as to how they were actually made. Traces of these layers or ‘lives’ can always be seen beneath the surface to remind us of the complexities of experiences past and present; whatever is said or done has shaped and continues to shape us. The painting, therefore, is almost like a living organism with its history exposed. One might say the work is an unconscious attempt to evoke the rhythm and energy of the real world we inhabit.

Favourite Living Artists
On reflection, it seems all the artists who most interest me are those who have a dynamic hunger for life and knowledge. Their approach to life and art is honest and direct, resulting in authentic individualism unfettered by convention and preconceptions.
Callum Colvin I have enjoyed for his breadth of reference to art history and literature, his unpretentious uniqueness and provocative subject matter and use of mixed media.
Howard Hodgkin’s sumptuousness as a colourist and intuitive command of paint leave me envious

Favourite Historical Artists
From early student days I have devoured Delacroix for his breadth of knowledge and dynamic use of line and colour. His journals are a great read, illuminating the extent to which a passion for travel, literature and music can feed into visual interpretation.
In contrast, and more directly influential on my own painting technique at the time, was the Abstract Expressionist work of Franz Kline and Pierre Soulages. As a postgraduate I studied Emil Nolde and Primitivism. His “Unpainted Pictures” with their glowing colour and seemingly miraculous balance of light and dark, space and form defy explanation. Nolde’s preoccupation with the Primitive – whether tribal cultures and their artifacts or the primordial forces of nature – parallels my own interests. . Ivon Hitchins’ exquisite semi abstract landscapes have taught me about the importance of space in composition and a balance of both gestural and decorative mark making.

When and Where I first Wanted to do what I do
Childhood memories of living in central Africa have very much shaped my ambitions to do what I do in the ways I have chosen to do it. A passion for the bush with its intoxicating smells and sounds, abundance of colourful bird and insect life and the inexhaustive ingenuity of the Africans making so much from so little, have fueled my enthusiasm for creative making and living. I try to take as little as possible for granted; within my chosen confines of making paintings, the range of possibilities is endless if one is prepared to keep things open.

A Place in the World that has been an Inspiration
I have a pantheistic love of remote and wild places, untainted by contemporary notions of industrial and technological progress.These places could well be inhabited by communities. Communities that share and tell stories , that work on the land and adapt to seasonal and ritualistic rhythms. These have taught and inspired my creative spirit the most.

Influence of Style at age 15
An individual who very much helped me on my way. My art teacher at the time – Joe Taylor – had an eccentric enthusiasm for art and music. His continued reference to connections between the two had an enormous impact on me. As a teenager I was a very keen French Horn player to the extent that when I wasn’t drawing or painting I was playing or listening to music. My painting style at the time was influenced by Kandinsky and Malevich, later to be overtaken by shaped wall pieces of Frank Stella and colour experimentations of Rothko, Frankenthaler and Morris Louis.

How I set about starting a new Project
Clear the decks. In order to maximise the intuitive flow of ideas I have to be undistracted by everyday ‘stuff’. I therefore ensure all outside the studio is more or less obsessively organized so I can switch off from the everyday and immerse myself in ‘my thing’. Fridge full, house tidy, garden dug, animals and kids fed and happy – THEN I start. I also tend to work in blocks of time, given other demands on life like teaching, being a mother, wife, friend and smallholder. I find it near impossible to integrate fits and starts of painting amongst all this, so will ‘book in’ a period of two to three months of devoted studio time when the house and garden pretty much look after themselves and the kids get used to humbler meals.

Where and what is my studio?
The studio is a purpose built wooden and glass cube set into a hill several metres from the house. It has superb views over the Avon Valley and beyond to Dartmoor, and is integral to the small holding we run, surrounded by fruit and veg patches and a field of free range sheep, geese, ducks, guinea foul and hens. Having always painted to music before I came here, I now find the natural sounds around me more conducive to clear thinking. The fortune to have this set up is thanks to an inheritance from a relative who followed my work and wanted to see continue with it come what may.

Do I work best alone or in collaboration?
hen painting, I most definitely work best alone. However, I love people and hugely enjoy collaborating ideas and general banter when teaching. Sometimes, sorely lacking, is constructive dialogue with other artists when it comes to my own painting. For years now, I have been entirely alone which may not be a good thing.

How much do I bend my ‘vision’ to suit the marketplace – if at all?
Not at all –never.

My work/life Balance
Work/life balance couldn’t really be better, although I could always do with more time in the studio. Blessed with healthy kids and always stuff to do with the animals and garden, I have to be disciplined to carve out time for painting and teaching. My ideal is to run four or five art workshops a month to assist finances, as well as work towards an annual show of new work. Things like housework I try not to waste time with when I have the place to myself, preferring to focus instead on stuff that needs time and space to think. Weekends tend to be sacrosanct vis-à-vis family and friends, ideally getting all involved in stuff around the farm.

Where did I Train, what are the favourite/least favourite aspects of that Training?
My last years of school in the late ‘70s were in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Then, unlike now, there wasn’t a huge amount going on culturally, so I chose to continue studies in London. Having failed to get into the Royal College of Music as a French Horn player, I incredibly fortunately got a place at St Martin’s on the Art Foundation Course. This was just as well, as I really don’t think I was cut out to be a full-time professional musician. The course and tutors at St Martin’s were superb, the only criticism being it felt too short. London, however, I did not enjoy, despite all those free lunchtime concerts and student stand-bys on the South Bank. The metropolis has always felt too big and impersonal to me and to this day, I have a kind of phobia of the place.
As an undergraduate, I was based at Manchester Polytechnic for three years from 1981. Like most Fine Art degree course, we were pretty much left on our own most of the time. I used to enjoy being one of the first in to the Medlock studios in the mornings, sometimes with my horn to practice in the peace and quiet, sometimes just to get more work done. Frustratingly, the tutors were all male who I felt didn’t really take us ‘girls’ too seriously. David Sweet, Head of Painting at the time, was an inspiration, however. On occasion, we would get a very fine female visiting lecturer coming through who kept me going. The Department of Art History and Contextual Studies at the Poly was, in contrast, full of dynamic and motivating tutors. I enjoyed this aspect of study so much, that I signed up for the 60%Painting - 40%Art History and Contextual Studies option.

In 1987 I began Post Graduate studies at Glasgow University, gaining an MPhil in 1989, the Thesis title being “The Role of Primitivism in the work of Emil Nolde”. My hope had been to experience some inspired, academic teaching, but again, we were very much left to our own resources and my tutor was absent with M.E. much of the time. Sitting in on Scottish Opera rehearsals and artist lectures at Glasgow School of Art made up for this.

Between 1988 and 1991 I was based at the Gdansk Art Academy in Poland, having been awarded three consecutive British Council/Polish Government Postgraduate Scholarships to paint. These were some of the happiest most interesting years for me, a time of Zomo police, Lech Walesa rallies, black market and lively social gatherings. The Academy itself was very traditional, organized into ateliers/studios headed by aging professors. For four years the students were to study and develop the working style of their professor, culmination in an exhibition of uninspiring copies of their master’s work. The more academic easel painting I saw, the more it pushed me to turn things on their head with abstract paper collages and sploshy paint.

Sara will be exhibiting at the Brighton Art Fair in September.

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Knit Cloud

We've just heard about an intriguing and exciting new project about to be launched in Brighton.

Knit Cloud is to be new fashion & textile shared studio space, and small business incubator in Brighton. Giving start-up businesses access to space, expertise, and specialist equipment. It's the idea of designers Susan Pearson and Sarah Elwick.

Knit Cloud are looking for a few more members/sharers - contact Sarah Elwick (sarah@sarahelwick.com)

This is what they write about Knit Cloud ...

First ever incubator dedicated to the fashion & textile industry in Brighton & Hove, supporting and promoting talented designers, makers and artists in this sector.

Nurturing the business and technical skills of both new and established designers – helping them to make their businesses more profitable, while maintaining their creative integrity.

Master classes for the members and the community, that educate across the lifecycle of the design-make process including, CAD computer-aided design (In Design layout and documents, Illustrator vector drawing), pattern cutting, dubied flatbed knitting, sample-making, tailoring and craft skills.

Dedicated tuition in essential business skills - branding & marketing, presentation, negotiation and sales, accounting & finance, intellectual property management, time management, leadership, entrepreneurship & accessing venture capital and networking.

A sustainable social enterprise - a creative hub for designers makers and artists.

Co-working ethic providing a coming together to share ideas, collaborate, innovate and network.

Access to a fully equipped workshop - multi-tenancy enabling shared cost of otherwise prohibitively expensive resources (equipment and workspace).

A vibrant and growing network among new and established professional designers with strong links to the business community, tapping as well as feeding into the effective creative and business networks and training programmes of the South East

A self-help principle, members encouraged to cross-practise, helping, swapping skills and time. The co-working experience providing trusted affiliations to help at key times when deadlines have to be met. Once their businesses have taken off, creating employment opportunities for other designers and the community.

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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Oxfam's Trailwalker - HUGE Success

Back in May we wrote about Helen Forbes' 100K walking challenge to raise money for Oxfam. Helen's company Essential Italy is sponsoring the Palace Art Fair in October and we were of course supporting her all the way.

We are very proud, pleased (and just a little in awe) to announce that Helen and her team finished the walk in just 25 hours and have raised close to £2500 for Oxfam.

Helen said that the last 20kms especially were incredibly difficult, that she will never ever do it again BUT that she can highly recommend it to other people as a worthwhile physical and mental challenge.

Donations can still be made at..


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Artist of the Week - Kate Walters

Kate Walters lives and works in Cornwall and where she produces drawing and watercolour artworks. Kate's interests include walking in wild places, camping in wild places (like the Hebrides and Italian mountain ranges) and spotting wild life - eagles, deer, wolves. She has also trained in classical shamanic techniques. Kate is a strong dreamer and will be working in the dream tent at the Port Eliot Literary Festival, and at Camp Bestival, this summer.

Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
I trained at Brighton Poly ( as it was then) in Fine Art, making films and tape/slide installations. I am self-taught as a painter/draughtsperson. I learned to work hard and to be self-reliant. I have made drawings since I was a small child, and have always wanted to do what I do but for many years didn't believe in myself enough to let go of my teaching career and all the things which took up my time and prevented me from following this path.

One favourite living artist?
Eija-Lisa Ahtila, the film-maker. I love the way she finds her way inside emotions in her films. I love them visually too.

One favourite historical artist?
Piero della Francesca (and all early Renaissance Italian artists)because of the subjects of their work, their stillness, radiance, and beauty.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from my inner life and all that appears there.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had.
What I do now, thankfully!

Do you work mostly on your own? Have you had any interesting work related collaborations?
I do work mostly alone but recently collaborated with Karen Lorenz when we both made films about one of our parents. I will also be showing with John Keys in Bristol in October at Centrespace Gallery.

At age 18 who most influenced your style?

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace - if at all?
I don't bend my vision at all!

Who would you say buys your work?
My purchasers are other artists, poets, academics, ministers, therapists.

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is at home, where I love to be. I rented a larger studio recently but it didn't feel right.
Do you have a good work/life balance?
I have a very good work/life balance. Twenty steps and I can be in my garden, which I also love working in.

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

If you could be doing anything else what would it be?
Caring for working animals in third world countries.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
The gallery of my choice would be in the main pavilion in the Venice Biennale, 2011.

Please list any exhibitions you have had in the past 12 months.
House of Fairy Tales, Millenium, curated by Alice Herrick, including live drawing ‘skyped’ to ICA, London;
House of Fairy Tales ‘Exquisite Trove’, curated by Alice Herrick, at Newlyn Art Gallery.
Artsway Open 09 curated by Peter Bonnell, Sway, Hampshire.
Birmingham, Visual Exhibition for Art of Ideas II curated by Stephen Snoddy.
‘Blasphemous’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Dublin
Millenium, St. Ives, Winter Show.
Salisbury Open Drawing.

Later this year Kate will be showing in Truro Cathedral, drawings in response to St. Francis' Canticle of the Creatures and will also be exhibiting at the Brighton Art Fair and the Palace Art Fair.

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Monday, 19 July 2010

British Printmakers create beautiful work with their designs for book covers.

Book publishers Faber & Faber recently published their new collection of poetry books based on some of Faber's best loved poets. The books each feature a book cover and end papers designed by a British Printmaker. The senior designer at Faber & Faber is, I am pleased to say, very fond of printmaking and she has really shown how such commissions can be so successful. This is a super commission for the printmakers and shows the superb work being made at the moment by printmakers here. The books are beautiful.

You can read about how the books were designed and see the full collection on the Faber blog at;

The printmakers involved in the project are;
Charles Shearer, Sarah Young, Michael Kirkman, Ed Kluz, Jonathan Gibbs and Peter Clayton.

You can see original prints by several of these printmakers at the Emma Mason Gallery in Eastbourne and on their website; http://www.emmamason.co.uk/
Emma Mason will also be exhibiting work by British printmakers at the Palace Art Fair in October.

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Friday, 16 July 2010

Through the Keyhole - Roy Avis

Artist Roy Avis lives and works in Somerset. Previous incarnations include working for London and Bristol advertising agencies and as a successful freelance illustrator. Roy has also worked in his partner's sign and graphics company with pictorial pub signs and murals to his name. He has been a silk screen printer and is competent in most graphics media. Roy currently runs a holiday cottage next to his studio, 'people love the original artwork and bright colours' and uses it as an "add on "gallery.

Roy will be exhibiting his work with The Art Agency at the Palace Art Fair in London in October.

When did you move to house/studio?
About 20 years ago

What made you choose it, what interested you about it's style or location?
The same family had lived in it since the 1930s and it only been very superficially modernised. We were looking for somewhere that we could renovate to our taste. We even found newspapers from the 1930s under the lino and £70 in £5 white bank notes, and the Rayburn was a 1950s model. We lived in it while we were renovating so it evolved around us. Half the boundary is the rock face of an old quarry so the garden is quite unique. The views are stunning.

What's your favourite room - why?
I don’t have a favourite room they are all so different and all have such a different character dependent on my mood.

How would describe your decorating style?
Bold use of colour, natural fabrics and materials. We also are attracted to slightly quirky things that we find on our travels.

What are those objects in the photo - by what artist, what maker?
The paintings are by myself , my partner and by friends. A lot of the furniture has been “found “ We frequently have current paintings on the walls so we can live with them before sending to galleries.

What about it does inspire you?
I find the whole house inspiring somewhere to relax gather my thoughts.

What is interesting about your house and why?
It is several hundred years old and is near a flooded quarry and the site of along disused railway line- very peaceful. The garden has featured in a garden design book.

What is interesting about your house contents and why?
Objects often carry a story that will relate to you and your work. Generally things that we have collected over the years because we like the look of them also a few family pieces

Why do you like your area of the world - how does it relate to your work if at all? Although I mainly paint cities I was happy to leave London as the pace of life here makes it easier to concentrate on my work.

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Thursday, 15 July 2010

For the Love of Sarah; An Equivalent Mass

Next weekend 24th-25th July there is a preview of a new ceramic installation work by the artist and sculptor Brian Mander - who we've previously featured for his work Of The Genus Cruciferae at the Handmade House in Ditchling.

This new work is called For the Love of Sarah; An Equivalent Mass.

Here is what Brian says

"Sarah George Mander, 1956-2006.

My wife, Sarah, died on the fifteenth December 2006 of a metastastic breast carcinoma.The cancer had been diagnosed some twelve years earlier and Sarah had chosen to have a mastectomy. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy had followed with repeated courses of debilitating treatments until it was obviously futile for Sarah to continue.

Always a realist, candid and pragmatic, Sarah had discussed on many occasions before her death, with me and many of her friends, how I could creatively use her cremated remains. The process of making something of her, has been necessarily cathartic, a way of coping, a way of keeping Sarah vital within me.

Sarah had majored in ceramics at Brighton College of Art so this made the medium of ceramics an obvious choice for me to research. Practically, this would allow Sarah's bone ash, which varied from a fine powder to quite coarse and granular fragments to be mixed and therefore fixed into another more stable and resilient material.

Bone China seemed the most appropriate medium to use, where traditionally the technique of mixing finely ground calcinated animal bone ash with a fine white china clay slip creates a seemingly weightless fragility and translucence.

For me, the form also chose itself as I still had one of Sarah's prosthetic breasts; a poignant and profound physical reminder of Sarah.

I used this to make a mould from which to cast a series of shallow, asymmetric vessels each containing a small quantity of Sarah's ashes mixed into a china clay slip and fired.

I had intended making fifty vessels, possibly as keepsakes for our immediate family and Sarah's closest friend because Sarah had died soon after her fiftieth birthday. There was however, far too much of Sarah's ashes. As it would not have been in my nature to have simply added a random small quantity into the clay slip prior to casting until it was all used, I thought to find another significant number.

A friend had prompted the question about the worth of the vessels; as I was going to make so many, would I sell them to finance the project?

This caused me not only to reflect on the intrinsic value of rare and precious things and of Art; all those things we covet most, but also on the impossibility of putting a price on a life.

For instance, the value we assign to a diamond is defined as a carat. A carat is a unit of mass equal to 0.2g. Irrespective of its questionable aesthetics or its contrived worth, Damien Hirst's sculpture 'For the Love of God' is made of a platinum skull which is encrusted with 8601 diamonds with a value of 1106,18 carats.

It could be said, all that remains of Sarah is worthless dust but to me it is a unique and priceless commodity. Would an equal weight of diamonds be comparable? Sarah's Ashes weighed 449g. Maybe, if such a thing existed, a single flawless paragon diamond with an equivalent mass and a value of 2245 carats?

I have made the first 50 of 2245 vessels; each vessel will contain 0.2g of Sarah's bone ash fired within it; incalculable.

"The value of Life is made startlingly apparent through death. Sarah loved and was loved; was full of life, a significant presence, a daughter, a sister, my wife, a mother and a friend. I hope that what I have made will transcend the idea of a simple memento mori and be a cause to reflect how fragile Life is and how we must cherish each precious moment of it".

There will be a preview of the sculpture;

"For the Love of Sarah; An Equivalent Mass" at Chesworth Arts Agri Farm Project Space, Horsham, West Sussex on 23rd, 24th 25th July 2010.

Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Brighton Now Photography Competition

'Brighton Now'

Brighton Media Centre and Brighton Jessops would like to invite entries for the amateur photography competition - 'Brighton Now'.

What Photos to Enter: Select your most compelling or unique or iconic images that show a contemporary Brighton, or which have been inspired by Brighton.
Deadline: 5pm August 19th, 2010

Please visit the Media Centre website for further details on prizes and entry requirements:


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Monday, 12 July 2010

Artist of the Week - Caroline McCready

Caroline McCready is a painter and sculptor producing abstract works. She will be exhibiting her oil paintings at the Palace Art Fair in October.

Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?

I read History of Art at the University of Warwick, graduating in 2001 and went on to study life drawing and cast drawing for a year at the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney in 2004. Most recently, in 2008, I completed a Figurative Sculpture diploma at Heatherley School of Fine Art. My History of Art degree offered me a great deal of knowledge about art and opened my mind to many different ways of thinking about art. The year I spent purely drawing in Sydney taught me to really look and see what is in front of me and translate it onto paper. Studying figurative sculpture at Heatherley gave me the technical skills and knowledge needed to sculpt in clay, cast and carve in wood and stone. I don’t feel as though I wish I had learnt anything differently, because I chose an education, full of traditional and technical knowledge, that I feel gives me the tools to express myself freely.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I don’t remember a time before loving making art. I recently found an old photograph of myself crawling, before I could walk, clutching a colourfully scribbled piece of paper. I think it’s always been part of me.

One favourite living artist?
Yayoi Kusama. Her work is so fun, surreal, magical and psychedelically colourful that to experience her work is to enter a world of genuine escapism. I saw her work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and left feeling uplifted and nourished, which was a welcome change as I feel somewhat empty after viewing so much work that relies on shock value or gimmick. In contrast Kusama’s work seems to overflow with light-hearted sincerity.

One favourite historical artist?
Michaelangelo. I find his work utterly awe-inspiring. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful than his unfinished marble figures in The Academia in Florence. They are male nudes, carved in marble, which he had to abandon due to faults in the stone. They are so skillful, that you can imagine that they were already fully formed in the stone and that he merely tapped the marble and it fell away revealing this perfect form.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
What inspires me the most is the intangible nature of motion and the passage of time. I am fascinated by the idea of creating a perception of movement, and a sense of something in motion, like a billow of smoke or leaves swept up by a gust of wind, in a static form. When I was at Heatherley I was captivated by the curled wood shavings produced by the process of wood carving. I collected everyone’s wood shavings and created large, sweeping, intertwining structures, with a sense of chaos, sweeping movement and continual motion. I liked the fact that the structures were so ephemeral that it looked as though a gust of wind had picked up the wood shavings and any minute may disappear leaving a pile of wood shavings on the floor. My oil paintings are a progression from these wood shaving sculptures, depicting the architecture of the forms, and trying again to capture a sense of motion in a static form. I experiment with how colour relates to and changes the perception of the forms, taking inspiration from all sorts of things that I come across, particularly colours in natural landscapes and elements of nature, such as wood, bark, plants, flowers, ice and sunlit water.

What is the most interesting / fun job you have had.
One of the most interesting jobs I’ve had was waitressing in a cocktail bar in Mayfair. It was eye-opening watching customers consuming literally thousands of pounds worth of champagne and being miserable whilst doing so. It was a true reinforcement that money often doesn’t equal happiness.

Do you work mostly on your own? Have you had any interesting work related collaborations?
I work on my own, which I enjoy, but I would be interested in working in collaboration in the future.

At age 18 who most influenced your style?
Jenny Saville. Her work is so honest and beautiful and I think that the way in which she uses oil paint to depict flesh is truly brilliant.

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace - if at all?
I love what I am making at the moment and I don’t think that it is tailored specifically for the marketplace. Part of my motivation for painting is creating things that people enjoy. I want to make things that are absorbing and that people can get lost in, offering escapism.

Who would you say buys your work?
I would describe myself as an emerging artist, but so far it has been very ordinary people who take pleasure in what I make.

Where and what is your studio?
My studio is in a loft in Oxford. It’s very quiet and it’s easy to get lost in what I do.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
Although I think I have a good balance at the moment, it’s too easy sometimes to become completely absorbed in what I do and forget about everything else.

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

If you could be doing anything else what would it be?
I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing at the moment.

If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world which would it be?
In my wildest dreams probably the Tate Modern in London.

Please list any exhibitions you have had in the past 12 months.
Solo Exhibition, White Revolver, Sydney, Australia

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Thursday, 8 July 2010

Maker of the Week - Sarah Warsop

Sarah Warsop is a jewellery designer producing pieces inspired by and designed from choreographed movement. Sarah will be exhibiting her work at MADE10 in November.

One favourite living craft maker.
Clare Twomey. Her work combines ceramics, large scale installation and audience intervention. It successfully manages to be thought provoking, beautiful and engaging.

What one product/item do you really covet?
Very hard to choose, but I’m going to go for a piece of Alexander Calder jewellery. His jewellery is so spontaneous and seems to capture the moment in which it was made. I've read that he carried his pliers and a roll of wire everywhere he went.

At age 18 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
At 18 I started dance training full time, and for 23 years I've worked as a dancer and choreographer. So, at that age I was inspired by people like Pina Bausch and Merce Cunningham. They still inspire me.
I would say the helpful individuals came later: Gill Clarke, a dance teacher, who has extraordinary knowledge and patience. Choreographer Siobhan Davies who I've worked with for the past 13 years – she's an invaluable mentor. And Simon Fraser, of course. He was course leader on my MA Design at Central St Martins. He had the foresight to see that the leap from dance to jewellery was truly possible – that it could work.

What’s currently on your i-pod, cd player, tape recorder?
Will Oldham, Phosphorescent, The Be Good Tanyas, and my friend Marianne Segal. She used to sing with Jade and has a voice like an angel.

Where and what is your studio?
My studio goes back and forth between a jewellery workbench at home on the south coast, and a dance studio in London.

What is your favourite (art) website (and why)?
Coolhunting.com at the moment. It’s a great place to browse and think.

Surprising activity/hobby?
I’m a trained Yoga teacher and do 1 to 1 sessions.

Do you have a good work/life balance? Are you able to switch off from art work?
I’m lucky enough to love what I do and that’s where the balance comes in, I think. Wine, and a good movie usually help me switch off!

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

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Jeanette Winterson wrote a great article [‘The Making Game’ from the exhibition programme notes at Jerwood Space London, 16 June – 25 July 2010], and she said:
“I find that by having a few things around me that have been made by someone’s hand and eye and imagination working together, I am prevented from passing through my life in a kind of blur. I have to notice what is in front of me – the table, the vase, the hand-blocked curtains, the thumb prints in the sculpture, the lettering block. I have some lamps made by Marianna Kennedy, and what I switch on is not a bulb on a stem; it is her sense of light.”
This touches on how important I think making is.

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
Sometimes I think there is an inability to see beyond the boundaries of your own medium – to see that good work is good regardless of whether it is time based, craft or visual art. Each space has its own value, but also has its own agendas and snobberies, which can be limiting.

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Blackbird - Margate

Artist Maxine Sutton has opened her new venture in the faded but up and coming seaside town of Margate. With it's elegant town, clean beaches, festivals, and exciting arts and tourist developments - (The Turner Contemporary is set to open it's doors in the spring and following a grant to preserve the 'scenic railway' (listed rollercoaster) Dreamland is set to reopen as a themepark of historic rollercoasters and other rides.) - Margate is set for a renaissance over the next few years.

Blackbird is situated in the old town and combines a shop with workshop studios where Maxine will host contemporary craft workshops.

Maxine has put together a great selection of artists, makers and products which complement each other. Including Maxine's pictures, kits and products, Sarah Young's prints, Ken Eardley's pots and Alison Milner's and Christiane Kersten's ceramics with photographic designs.

The studio/workshop space looks great - with screenprinting equipment, sewing machines and other equipment and materials for about 5 people to take courses.

We wish Maxine well with this fantastic new venture - Blackbird may well become Margate's creative hub before the Turner opens next year.

Blackbird is in Margate Old Town - 2 Market Place, Margate CT9 1ER

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