Saturday, 18 October 2008

Do you want to contribute to MADE?

We're looking for a few new writers to contribute to this blog, especially in areas they are personally enthusiastic about. This could be geographic - what is the art scene in Edinburgh for example or more likely topical - your specialist area, ceramics, jewellery, furniture design for example. Duties are not overly hard - a post every fortnight would be fine, but the wages are dreadful (nothing). 

However if you like reading MADE and feel you might be on our wavelength, and are passionate about design art and craft, and want to promote the best makers - drop me a line.

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Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Maker of the Week - Louise Miller

Louise Miller

I create non-precious jewellery from materials such as polypropylene, resin, acrylic and paper, which are combined with elements of gold and silver. I am interested in exploring cutting techniques, such as laser-cutting to produce intricate patterns in flat, sheet material which is then handmade into wearable jewellery. I have also looked at how jewellery might be stored when not being worn and this has resulted in a series of pieces that have a dual function. For example, a bangle that is housed in the surface of a decorative tile. When the two elements come together, they become an artwork that can be wall-mounted.

Colour is another important element to my work and I find inspiration in the 'ready-made' tones found on paint charts and in interiors. Sometimes the inherent colour of a material draws me to work directly with it and I rarely mix my own colours. The paper crafts of Japanese and Mexican cultures continue to have an influence on my style and the challenge of combining low-tech, handmade techniques with modern technologies.

One favourite living craft maker (and why?)
My favourite living craft maker is Dutch jewellery artist, Nel Linssen ( She has spent many years working intuitively with the same technique of punching out and assembling paper components into rhythmic, sensual jewellery. Her use of colour and form is highly accomplished and I admire the way in which she has taken such a simple technique and created her own complex visual language from it.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased? or What one product/item do you really covet? (and why?)
I spent a few days in New York over the summer and loved discovering all the small independent shops. I found a little gem called ‘Purl Patchwork’ selling all sorts of quirky fabrics, which were beautifully displayed. I got carried away and bought various lengths of material, which are now in my drawer at home awaiting attention- one day I would like to make them into a patchwork quilt. They have a good website and also a sister shop packed full of knitting paraphernalia (

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
I was highly influenced by the band Blur and their modish ways. I also wanted to look like the girls out of Elastica with their short hair and sparkly tops. I am most definitely a child of Britpop and think the mid- nineties were a pretty good time to be 15 and into music. I used to walk around Bournemouth with a blonde, sixties bob and Fred Perry t-shirt searching for Damon Albarn look-alikes! At that point in my life, art and craft had very little influence on my personal style!

Last best read (book)?
'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini (author of 'The Kite Runner'). I thought this was actually better than 'The Kite Runner' and it bought a tear to my eye. It is a very moving story about an unexpected and enduring friendship between two women during unforgiving times in Afghanistan and I would highly recommend it.

Where and what is your studio? Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
My studio is at home and that is how I prefer it. In an ideal world my home would be bigger so that I had more space but I cannot moan too much as I do have a whole room to operate from. I find being around other people when I want to work is generally distracting and I get more done when left to my own devices. Having said that I don't do this full-time. For some of the week I am in a jewellery shop interacting with other human beings! I do wonder what might happen to my brain if I spent all week at home with just the cats for company...
On the days that I am in my studio I like to listen to the radio, BBC London in particular ( I start the day with some mild ranting from Vanessa Feltz and the strange people who have enough time to ring into radio stations with a litany of complaints. Then at lunchtime it changes to Robert Elms who is very entertaining. His programme is full of weird and wonderful facts about London and he plays some good tunes. I turn the radio off in the afternoon as Danny Baker comes on and he annoys me.

What is your favourite (art) website (and why)?
It has to be This is a wonderful recourse for jewellers and anybody interested in the subject. It features the work of many international jewellers plus has regular updates on exhibitions, awards and jewellery news. You can sign up for free and they will send you a weekly newsletter.

Surprising activity/hobby?
Swimming with sharks

Do you have a good work/life balance? Are you able to switch off from art work?
It's not perfect but I think that I realised from an early stage that this profession isn't the same as a nine to five. It seems that some days, or some times of the year I work very long hours and don't seem to be getting any down time but then I do eventually find time to relax and do other things. I enjoy that I can be flexible about when I start and finish my day. For example, sometimes I prefer to start around midday but work later into the evening. Generally though, I think that it is important to have a fairly structured routine i.e. fixed times where you start and end work, then space to go and do other activities. You tend to be more productive and I would argue that creative types do benefit from this way of working.

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

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Yes, personally it has carried me through some tough periods and given me something to focus on. If I were unable to make, design or create for some time I think that would make me very fundamentally unhappy and frustrated.

Art and craft is also important because it can bring joy to people. Sometimes it might upset them or make them stop and question a situation, or look in a different way. These pursuits are culturally nourishing and certainly have a role to play. We would be a more barren place without them.

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
Too many scarves and felt hats at craft and design shows, no wonder the craft world sometimes gets a bad press!

Loiuse is currently exhibiting at Origin (week 2) till sunday.

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Egg Mercantile

Wandering around the 7 Streets area of Amsterdam on Leliegracht we came across Egg Mercantile a lovely design boutique run by Steven and Joshua - 2 Americans who have settled in this international city and opened the shop in 2006.

The stock is suitably eclectic and international including Heather Louise's exuberant and often downright weird one off dolls made from felt, wool, glass beads, vintage buttons and quartz fish charms.
This beautiful horned cup by Karin Erikkson is just part of Egg Mercantile's extensive stock of Karins work

Not sure who's these prints are by but they are quirky and original.

Large Fancy Avian Platters from ibride, can be used as 'framed pictures' on the wall or actually used as trays.

And ceramics from Lola Goldstein. The shop is packed with lovely items from loads of the best makers from Holland Europe and beyond.

The best thing is that if you don't find yourself in Amsterdam before Christmas (and I think you should) then they have a great website where you can order direct!

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Monday, 13 October 2008


Following Brighton Art Fair we ran away to Amsterdam for a rest which I suppose we had although we used quite a lot of shoe leather in-between cafes, brown cafes, galleries and junk shops.

Its good to see that figurative art is alive and well in Amsterdam, when you get the feeling it's somewhat looked down on in too trendy old England.

This Bear and Anteater by Jacqueline Woutersen were in Gallerie Strous on the Prinsengracht. We loved the way they were parading across the gallery floor capturing in 3D the movement of a childrens cartoon - lots of other quite 'illustrational' 2D and 3D work in this gallery most narrative and figurative some humourous and some a little disturbing! (check out their website)

We came across a great gallery specialising in figurative sculpture and paintings in Nieuwe Spiegelstraat - Smelik & Stokking who's star artist (as far as we were concerned) was Odile Kinart. A Flemish artist who produces beautiful, naive and calm bronzes which are also lively and humourous.

Odile Kinart says she's influenced by pre-columbian and African art. She wants to express serenity, harmony and humour. Her sculptures are about quiet times and intimate communication.

Smelik and Stokking was at Art London last week - a fact I would have mentioned before if my computer hadn't died on me before I could write this post!

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Sunday, 12 October 2008

Angie Lewin exhibition at Castor and Pollux

Angie Lewin will be showing a selection of her wood engraving, linocuts and lithographs at Castor and Pollux. These limited edition prints are much admired, and desired. The precise and delicate work is reminiscent of 1950s textile design, and her technical skills are inspiring.

Angie studied BA(Hons) Fine Art Printmaking at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design between 1983 and 1986, followed by a year’s part-time postgraduate printmaking at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. She worked in a range of printmaking techniques including lithography, silkscreen and etching and recently has concentrated on lino and woodcut and wood engraving.

For an invitation to the private view on the 24 October, please email or phone 01273 773776.
Enquiries about prints for sale have been coming in for weeks and our stocks are limited. If there is a particular print you love, I suggest you arrive at 6pm to the private view.

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Friday, 10 October 2008

MADEUK Competition - Win £200

We are giving away £200 to spend at Brighton Art Fair or MADE next year, for the picture of you and our Art Fair cotton carrierbag in the most exotic location. Here's me in Amsterdam so probably anywhere else will beat it.

The BAF team will make the final decision, initially on distance from Brighton but inaccessibility will probably trump distance. So a picture of you on Rockall will trump you in a bar in Sydney (despite being closer!) Anyone who sends a picture will get a free ticket to visit Brighton Art Fair on the Friday so do send in those pictures. (last years bag counts too) If you haven't got a bag come to MADE08 in November and pick one up!

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Sorry for the silence

Sorry for the silence on this blog. Blame Steve Jobs of Apple as my computer decided it had had enough and decided it was amusing to work at a glacial pace. I have managed to get back some of the functions and am now waiting for a new very expensive and personally unaffordable Mac to arrive so we can be efficient and productive again rather than just frustrated!

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