Ray Mallaney – Porcelain Hand Carved Lamps

 

In order to sustain my creativity I find I need to have time to think.  My recent much looked forward to retirement from teaching means I can devote myself to my own work. I had a years sabbatical from teaching 4 years ago and it was a fantastic period where I experimented with porcelain and new ideas, where for the first time in years I could ‘play’ and afford (timewise) to make mistakes. When you teach even part-time, your ‘making-time’ is precious you don’t want to waste it on failures (or at least I don’t)!

 

I am a bit of a manic sketch book person, I work things out in 2D and do research etc. I like working in a sketchbook.

 

In terms of subject matter for my work, I have always tended to work in themes; shoes, wings/flight, Tarot…I don’t know what I’m doing at the moment…whether working in porcelain is the theme or the fact that I seem to be looking a lot at architecture. I do know I’m like a miner I dig away at something until I feel bored by it, then I know it is time to examine another theme.

 

At the moment I am still excited by what happens when you switch my porcelain pieces on…the way light changes them…so for the time being I will continue. To be honest I distrust ‘inspiration’….but I do go with intuition!  If I get really stuck I go to the Victoria and Albert…there is so much stuff of such brilliance there it pushes me out of the lull, or I make something I think I would like.

 

From mybackground….oldish very working class parents, secondary modern school…art was something done by posh people, the likes of us got jobs and did art for a hobby. I did that for 2 years and then hated it so much, my evening class sculpture teacher said I was good enough to try for art school. So I did….Wimbledon Foundation, degree at Middlesex.

 

I have done commissions, but only based on what I do (I made a double piece for Schroeder’s Bank in London, but it was something I was keen on anyway).  I did a garden fountain, years ago which was really hard work, and they changed the deadline date so I had to rush…it was a COMPLETE disaster…I didn’t take any money…in the end they gave me a case of wine! I needed it!

 

In terms of repeating work…NO it is always even SLIGHTLY different otherwise what’s the point…I’m not a machine…..besides which if I try to make something EXACTLY the same it never goes right, the best thing to do is aim for a ‘recreation’

 

I like selling, and would like to charge more but will have to build up to that.  The deal I made when I left art school 30 odd years ago was that I would not live from my work, but from selling my labour: initially shop work, then technician work, finally teaching, that way I was free to make what I wanted and would not have to throw 200 Mugs a week. .

Charlotte Storrs – Ceramics

I love being able to create useable objects from lumps of clay. The throwing part is for me the most exciting. Throwing pots on the wheel is magical.

I make functional stoneware. New ideas for work arrive steadily. There are so many items which can be made on the wheel, you just need to look around you at the objects people use on a daily basis. Sometimes family members and friends come up with suggestions, always gratefully received! I will then go to the wheel and try it out, giving my own take on it.

I get inspiration from natural materials and organic food. My pottery is in our beautiful  garden with greenhouse, raised veg beds, away from traffic and noise. It is a very inspiring place to work in. I love to see a table laid with handmade bowls and plates, as opposed to impersonal factorymade items. Food can be so colourful and stands out beautifully against any white or muted glaze. Salad in salad bowls, roasted vegetables in large dishes, soup in white bowls, all a feast for the eye. Organic vegetables in buckets, fruit juices in jugs, pasta in pasta bowls….my whole range is meant to be used.

As I make functional stoneware there is no need to continually come up with new ideas. It can be equally satisfactory to make 50 coffee cups or a one off vase or dish. The thought that someone somewhere will be using what I have created gives me a real buzz.

 

 I joined an evening class in ceramics when I moved from the Netherlands to the UK years ago. I got hooked, but when our children came along I had to give it up. I was working as a music teacher and there were not enough hours in the day to indulge in hobbies. Family came definitely first. When our youngest son left home to go to university I decided to go back to College, became addicted to throwing on the wheel and set up the pottery a few months later.  I have not looked back since. There is a steady flow of orders, either for shops and galleries, or on line. There are times I have to turn orders down when too large as I remain a one man band and do not intend to employ assistants.

 

Being an artist is a very good and important part of my life. I feel totally at home in my pottery and can work well on my own. It is so good for the soul to be creative at any stage in life. I occasionally have Pottery Open Days when I assist people to “have a go” at throwing a pot on the wheel (donations to a third world charity). It is great to see how much enthusiasm there is for these events and how inspired children or adults are when working with clay.


 Being a potter is my 3rdcareer. I briefly worked as a translator, then became a musician (violin and viola), now also a potter.Marketing and selling can be an equally creative process; it is part of being self employed.

 

Any creative job, whether in art, music, theatre, dance is a tough one. But people should follow their hearts and try to make it work. It might mean taking on extra work of a different nature to pay the bills, but so be it.

 

Even though I would love to learn new skills, I do not have enough time as it is! I enjoy all the things I do and would love to have more time to try out different glazes, play chamber music, work in the garden, read, cook, see friends, go for walks etc. I do not feel the need to take on another skill.  My studio space is crucial to my work; it is in an ideal location.

 

Jo Pethybridge – Ceramics

I love working with clay, using both of my hands together. Colour, patterns and nature are also very important to me so to be able to combine all these factors in my art is a great creative driver.

 

I find things that interest me while travelling, walking or in my surroundings, e.g. vineyards, bed mattress springs, pine forests, waves. I take photographs or sketch them. Later I make drawings from them working them into patterns, which I then draw onto my ceramic pieces. These are then painted and glazed.

 

I never regard my pieces as ‘work’ as I get so much pleasure from making them. I have never been tempted to move into probably more lucrative functional pottery as I like to view each piece as an individual one inspired by my latest experiences.

My problem is I have too many ideas and as each piece takes time to complete I have to store some ideas for later. I do often revisit themes to evolve them.

 

While I was working as a therapist and manager being an artist needed to come second, but over the years I have been making ceramics it has become increasingly important to me. Since retiring in 2010 I have been able to concentrate on my art, which has been wonderful. Some of my earliest memories though were of making mud pies in the garden!

 

Art has always been very therapeutic for me, after a hard day at the office it was a great stress buster. It is also very grounding and relaxing.

In my type of ceramics no two pieces are the same, although I do repeat ideas and patterns if I like them but often using different colours.

Because I was working and married I did not need to earn a living from my art, which gave me great freedom in the type of work I was ablre to do. I do find the process of selling and marketing a challenging process. I have enjoyed doing this with other artists in art societies and open house groups.

Art like music I feel will always be present in the world. Art is a good way to express feelings and can be a record of the times.

 

My studio is in the attic ,which has excellent light which is important when making ceramics and plenty of space to store and dry pieces. The only disadvantage is carrying clay stored in the basement up 4 flights of stairs, but it keeps me fit. Painting my pieces can be done anywhere preferably in a comfortable chair with good lighting.

 

 

 

Karen Williams – Sculptures

I love what I do, I wake up excited to work on my next sculpture.  I  don’t think of what i do as work – more as play …when you say work that sounds like a chore – I love what I do so I think of it as play – I will often say when my husband comes home from work – “look what I’ve played today “

 

Everything I do is self taught & to me that brings learning – my early standing pieces were rather wobbly but through experimentation they now stand really well. I’ve learned so much more by having to solve problems myself, than if I’d been taught how to do something. My earlier work was quite light, but I know make them heavier by making a clay structure.

 

I’m often inspired by the material I’m using. As I start on a new piece I’m not always sure what it will end up as , for example I had some old  favourite knitted socks that had holes in them , which when I looked at them I realized they would make a great jumper for a pixie. The other day when i was walking fraiser ( my dog )in the rain  my imagination was running wild , & I was wondering how faeries would keep dry – so when I got home I started work on a standing faerie sheltering under a large leaf.

 

I have been making my sculptures for about 12 years & I still haven’t got tired of making faeries & pixies. I will sometimes make other pieces for a change, but always come back to the faeries. AS a break I will sometimes make some greetings cards or do the odd bit of stained glass.

I’ve always thought of myself as a artist , when I left school I did an art foundation course but didn’t go on to university, I worked for a few years painting murals on motorbikes until I had my children, over the years I was always doing arty things , but just for myself. It wasn’t until I started making my sculptures that I started selling my work, and I truly feel that what I’m doing now is what I should be doing.

I feel at peace with myself – if I’m not creating something I feel empty, when I can take a pile of rubbish that most people would throw away and turn it into something beautiful it makes me feel like myself.

 

I’ve been with my husband Eric for 30 years and he’s still my best friend. I have 2 daughters and 2 grandsons. My dog Fraiser is my life – I’m with him 24hours a day – it’s really true – “love me love my dog” he has his own sofa in my studio so he’s comfy and I will often pause as I’m working to just look at him as he fills my heart with total love. Fraiser is a lurcher & is the inspiration for my dog sculptures.

 

Every piece I make is a total one off – no two pieces will ever be identical. I use no moulds or patterns – so although my work will have a recognizable theme each piece will be individual. I’m happy to do commissions be they a small piece made from your child’s old baby clothes, to a life sized old man. If someone likes a piece that is already sold I will happily make one similar – but due to the fact I use recycled material there’s no guarantee I will be able to source the same material.

I sell my work through galleries/ exhibitions. Although I love meeting people & talking about my work I find it hard to sell my work as I feel as if I’m selling myself & therefore find that I don’t promote myself very well …. I feel if I say look at this fantastic sculpture – look how unique and different it is , that it is boasting – so I let the galleries do the boasting for me.

I totally feel that what I’m doing now is what I should be doing , so although I like to experiment I’m happy doing what I do.

 

My studio is my happy place Eric built my studio in our back garden . It seemed huge when it was first built 18 foot x 12 foot – so nice and roomy – now you’d struggle to find any space! On the walls I have murals I have made, photos of my family, many photos of fraiser & several cartoons or inspirational sayings that I like. Fraiser has his own sofa in my studio so he can sleep away the day while I’m working. I have a log burner to keep me warm. My studio is a dirty space the floor is thick with resin – what I do is very messy & I can work without worrying about making a mess. I will sometimes go outside to do 10 minutes work & find I have been out there for several hours – times flies when I’m in my studio – as they say “time flies when you’re having fun”.

 

Lesley Andrew – Jewellery

Creativity is a real need. If I do not make work for a while I have to get back to my work bench.  Producing pieces that I think work encourages me to move on and to try new things.  Selling my work validates it.

I always have a sketch book to hand: particular shapes catch my eye – either in the world at large or at exhibitions, museum visits etc, wherever really, and I record them to see if they translate into forms suitable for an item of jewellery. I research, but I also believe in the importance of ‘play’ so I am always looking at materials and possible combinations of materials and shapes.

Inspiration is very important, but ideas also come out of the working process itself.  Working on one piece of jewellery can often lead to ideas for the next piece or for a range.

Idea lulls are not so much of a problem for me as a jeweller as a lot of my work is a result of a ‘what if’ kind of approach.  I look and see what I have got and try to look at things with a fresh eye.  I also experiment with new processes and test pieces. If I am working on a commission then the information that my client provides feeds my thought process.

 

I was quite artistically inclined when I was younger, but it was not until I did a fine art  degree as a mature student that I realised that this was what I wanted to do. Then I was a sculptor and installation artist.  Jewellery came later – and much smaller!

 

Being an artist gives me an enormous amount of pleasure (and anguish as well). It enables me to view the world aslant, to question  and to see potential in all sorts of unlikely places and objects. I became an artist in my fifties: it is possible to develop one’s creative side at any time of life.

All my work is one off.  If a client wants something repeated it will be similar but never exactly the same as the work they have seen.  For me the satisfaction is in creating individual pieces.  I do accept commissions which can be very rewarding, but they can also be tricky.

 

My marketing is fairly low key as I only produce a limited amount of work. I do show but much is done by word of mouth and I have regular customers for my work.  If money were no object I would use more expensive materials and would probably produce more.

 

For crafts people I think it is particularly hard because the general public has little appreciation of the time and effort involved in any work, and there is often an expectation that prices will echo those of high street stores.  Also there are a lot of other independent jewellers out there so there is a lot of competition.

 

Environment matters.  Being a jeweller I do not need much space, but whenever I start new work I like my space to be tidy and ordered with everything in reach. As I work my bench tends to get cluttered and messy and my actual working space reduces.  Clearing it again gives me time to assess what I have done and a new perspective of the work.

 

 

 

Ruby Orchard – Jewellery

My creative impulse is driven by many things but top of the list would be my baby girls and living in beautiful Cornwall.

I have developed an intuitive style over the years but skill of the hand is important too. I try to add new repertoire but keep to a ‘theme’. My practice is in the main silversmithing but I have reviewed the gemstones I use and find a limited palette to be more effective.

I believe strongly in ‘work ethic’, ideas and inspiration being a part of the whole. Solitary studio practice allows the imagination to wander I find. I am always open to new ways of seeing and doing, never remaining static.

It is important to me to have an ordered studio so if there is a lull of ideas I tend to get on with manual tasks, for instance, forming earring loops, tidying my bench and sorting my gemstones and of course the running of the business.

I was born in Cornwall and have chosen to make my life here. My upbringing was bohemian and mainly influenced by my Mother. Falmouth is an incredibly creative town, full of artists and musicians. Freedom of expression was encouraged and although I tried other ways of being I feel that this is what I am meant to be doing…for the rest of my life, learning as I go.

Running my own business means that I can work from home and combine my role as a new mother to twin girls with my role as an artist/practitioner. Finding a balance is tricky at times but I find organisation is the key, keeping to strict working hours (with the help of a nanny).

Although I was born in Cornwall, I also have French and Irish ancestry. As my work tends to be Celtic in look and feel, maybe this family history has some bearing?

 

Yes, I do see commissions as a positive thing and would love to do more bespoke commission work. My style is forever evolving, never static but I do tend to work in ranges, e.g. drop earrings, bangles, talisman nugget charms and gemstone beading. I find that there is major satisfaction in liaising with clients to realise a design that they have in mind.

I am efficient in my marketing strategies and consistent in my management of my business. I actually enjoy the admin side of things and find that keeping order helps my creative flow.

 

If money were no object I imagine that I would venture into experimentation with gold, platinum and top end gemstones…which I plan to do!

 

Recession always hits the luxury goods market but jewellery is perhaps less affected than other arts and crafts items. I think that we are over the worst now and am optimistic about  my continuing future practice

 

My main wish is that I remain healthy and physically able to continue in practice for many years to come. Bench work is more strenuous than people imagine so a healthy body is imperative. I wish to continue enhancing people’s lives in some small way, jewellery being my chosen path.

 

Organisation and effective time management are imperative to my practice. I am in the process of setting up a new purpose built studio, warmth and light being high on my list of priorities.

 

 

 

Sarah Devonald – Jewellery

Ideas that just arrive in my mind as I try to sleep, or sitting on a train, or reading a book, or looking at paintings, or listening to music sustain my creativity. Playing with colour and shape. Experimenting with forms and textures.

Precious metals are great for contrasting smooth, neatly finished surfaces, with organic, more chaotic pattern. I take photos of interesting natural texture such as frost patterns on glass, or the froth of seawater on flat sand. I then experiment with achieving similar textures in metal and enamel, often through a process of trial and error. I also love to play with the juxtaposition of colours – think of jellybeans in a jar, or a well-stocked wool shop.

The key for me is melding inspiration and work. The urge to work with my hands in order to create something tangible sometimes kick-starts the creative process, while at other times the image of a moth, a leaf or a sunset might suggest a particular ingredient for a piece of jewellery. Once the process is going it can be hard work until about half-way through a creation, after which the brain coasts more and the hands completely take over, in order to make sure the piece is as perfect as originally envisaged. Some things change along the way though, as I have to sort out the mechanics of the piece, so that it can be worn.

I’m also a musician, teacher and radio producer, so there are always lots of other things going on in my life. Sometimes the structure of a piece of music I’m playing suggests a structure of a piece of jewellery. I scribble an idea or a sketch down and when I’m in my workshop try and make sense of it! Playing with colour and texture is also a great way of getting over those ‘blank sheet of paper’ moments.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to make things, whether with paper, fabric, wool, audio, or music. I suppose I had 3D training in making Airfix kits and model houses from the age of about 8 and as a music student knitted countless customized jumpers for people in exchange for all sorts of things. It felt very natural to eventually become a mature student at the Sir John Cass College of Art and satisfy the ‘making’ need.

After the difficult ‘working towards’ moments of inspiration that ebb and flow, and sometimes frustratingly disappear, it’s fantastic to be actually making something you hope is going to look pleasing – the processes of filing, enamelling, sanding, polishing, making intricate links are completely absorbing. Following an idea through to a finished object is one that I recognize in all sorts of other things that I do – from cooking to planning a concert.

I used to make all my own oboe reeds to play on – a tedious and demanding business. But now I buy them from other makers and modify them, preferring to spend ‘making’ time on jewellery. Especially as only about 1 in 5 finished reeds turns out to be worth playing on…

 

I’ve gradually evolved a style over time, but every piece is individual and a one-off, as colour and pattern in enamelling and etching vary slightly with each piece. I have worked with clients on commissions in the past, which has been interesting, as their ideas sometimes lead me into new areas of style and design.

I try not to let the costs affect the way I work, but clearly there’s a big outlay on materials when making precious metal jewellery, so I sometimes tailor my designs accordingly – especially as gold and silver prices have been very high in recent years.

 

People always have a need for something beautiful or imaginative or unique in their lives (whether they realize it or not I think) so artists will keep creating, and hoping that others will enjoy what they create.

I learnt some basic hand-engraving techniques at art college, but wasn’t great at it. The most difficult thing is keeping your graver really sharp (and not gouging chunks out of your hands). I’d like to be more skilled at this, for engraving pieces to be enamelled.

I’m lucky to have a small studio space, with an enamelling kiln and just about everything else I need to make jewellery. It’s a challenge to keep it tidy as I work – like keeping on top of washing up as you cook. If I don’t keep putting things away I end up with tools everywhere, which is when a jump-ring or a catch I’ve just spent hours making will disappear, and I have to spend more time looking for it…

 

 

Ann Bubis – Painter

Having had 11 solo and many joint exhibitions in London over the past 20 years, I have developed a good reputation as an artist and a keen eye for understanding my clients’ needs. I have displayed one of my sculptures in the foyer of the V&A and before that I was an animator and won many awards for my work, culminating in 2 golds at the New York Film Festival.

I am passionate about my work and when I am preparing for an exhibition I have a trance like obsession about my subject and can work for days on end with little care for sleep or rest, I am in my element. To get back into the real world, I teach and some of my pupils have been extremely successful having repeatedly achieved the best results in the country. My passion and love for the creative image is generously passed onto many generations of students. It’s difficult finding the balance of my own work and working for others and so like a pendulum my life falls into different creative directions. At the moment I am on the cusp of leaping back into my own creative world, as I am giving up teaching in schools, allowing myself to commit to my own indulgences.

I am fascinated by nature and am now enamoured by the beauty of plant life. I start a painting with stark realism and thorough observational research, sometimes I have the plant in front of me and other times I use my own photography as my starting point. Some of the images are close-ups that are enlarged tenfold until they become an abstract image of natural form through unusual compositions. I try to create a lyrical beauty within these paintings, a luminosity enhanced by colour. I create an outer image of inward things. Enlarged to five foot images and then to the other extreme; the tiniest of paintings. So for the viewer the image therefore becomes distorted, they would have an experience of nature in detail, colour, pattern and form. I always challenge myself to continue to develop new concepts, experiment with new formats. Colour and composition is the key to my work and I however much I learn through my practice they is so much more to discover.

To prepare for an exhibition it takes sometimes more than a year and so I therefore create another world for myself by also concentrating on three dimensional form. I am at my best when I have the two parallel creative adventures running together as they counter act each other, the beautiful world of reality and the limitless abstract form.

I also create vibrant coloured papier mache sculptures using beautiful manmade objects discarded by our society. The sculptures are made using the Mexican papier mache techniques, I have been taught by the Leonaris family. I am interested in creating an interpretation of the natural world juxtaposing and metamorphosing with the manmade objects. Celebrating its beauty, the texture, form and meeting points of different angles that curve in various harmonies of light, shadow and luminous rich colours.

 

I take on commissions and can produce any required size plant life etc; I also do portraiture which you will see on the website. If you find me any work I will pay the percentage to you.

With regard my studio space I have a large room in my house at the moment. I am not interested in natural light as it changes all the time so I remove all natural light and have very strong light as I need it to be consistent as colour changes as light reflects of it. I also work with interference colours and my actual light source is very important to me.

July I have decided I shall stop teaching in schools. I shall then look for a new studio space, large room with basin and the windows will be blocked by curtains or blinds. So if you hear of a space let me know.

 

I am also passionate about music and listen all the time to classical music when I work, or if I feel too isolated from the world I listen to radio 4. At times being an artist I can become too lost in my creativity and forget there is a world out there. That is why I have taught in schools etc to keep me grounded in the real world. But now I do not care and all I want to do is create.

 

Selling my work makes me happy as I am not interested in keeping my work. My work is like a past thought a creative moment that passes. I have already moved on to my next creative moment and totally absorbed into that.

 

The future for the artist is a hard and interesting question:

Having taught so many interesting young people to be in the creative world, I love seeing what they do how they go on developing. I am very excited for them. One of my students is on the team for designing clothes for Lady Gaga. I have many who are in the creative world.

Gillian Wearing worked for me when I had my animation studio for 3 to 4 years when she was very young and she has now won the Turner prize I am so happy for her. Daniel Greaves who also worked for me in my studio got an Oscar for animation.

The awards though mean little to me I won many gold’s and prizes at many festivals when I was an animator  but I was on the next exciting production and was annoyed that I had to travel to get the award, however much they wine and dine us. On the other hand without these awards we would not get work so I do also have a practical and business approach to my work.

 

My wish is to create forever and not to be disrupted by the day to day life. I live for my passions the creative world and get frustrated by the daily toil of travelling in London, it is time wasting. Paper work or should I say computer work with its endless requests of irrelevant questions should be removed from the world. This is what frustrates me when I teach the endless irrelevant paper work that takes up so much time that is nothing to do with teaching the child. The obsession of having to prove that you are a brilliant teacher and not the final outcome. I am a good teacher where my pupils always gain high marks A*’s and I have taught children who got the best results in the country several times. So now I leave that mad world where they do not give enough time to teach the child properly. Sorry you got me started! I am beginning to hate the schools now as they are removing more and more the arts from the curriculum and demand that the children learn English, Maths and Science more and more. So I am very worried we will only have art for the elitists, those who could afford private lessons. So I am out of that rat race, as proper rounded education is no longer the priority by the government and the schools.

 

Belinda Norrington – Jewellery

I am  lucky enough to live on the edge of a nature reserve, replete with river, water meadows, small wooded areas, all of which border an open network of fields, footpaths and ancient drovers’ paths. It is this landscape that is the primary inspiration of my work – both the huge open spaces and skies but also, perhaps even more, the minutiae. It is often small finds and fragments of botanical material, perhaps leaves, bark, acorns, seedpods or twigs, that provide me with the patterns, textures and organic forms that inform my work. I love the intricacy of natural patterns, I am amazed by the innate balance and tactility of form and texture in botanical material, and I find myself strangely but happily compelled to translate and explore these things in metal and gemstones!

I keep the flow of creativity by walking and exploring. It is as simple as that. By walking, the eye has enough time to take in the natural world. For me, the physical action of walking seems to calm the mind to a point where one is more open to creative opportunity and heightened observation. Look at the way a child explores a wood, it is that act of engagement and openness to the environment that is the catalyst to new ideas for me. I collect botanic material and bring it back to my studio, (always collecting/picking responsibly). Often, and especially in the summer when it is warmer and dryer (hopefully!), I take a sketchbook with me and draw pieces that I don’t want to, or cannot, take home with me or sometimes just to make me look at it closer in situ. With the material I bring home, I usually photograph it, press it, sketch it or add it to collections I have in jugs to simply observe further. I like to use this natural material to emboss shapes and patterns onto sheet metal using my jeweller’s rolling mill, or occasionally I will have individual items cast using the lost wax method.

My kind of work with no inspiration energising it is dry manufacture. The initial design process all hinges on inspiration and exploration but work flowing from that inspiration gets it out into the world! And some ‘work’ feels more creative and closer to the source of inspiration, whilst other aspects are less interesting to do, but necessary. There is some dull graft in all work and it is the grit to the oyster I tell myself when I am doing my tax return!

If I ever do feel a lull in ideas, it’s back to walking, exploring and sketching. Also trawling the ever wonderful V and A and Natural History Museum! Forcing it is hopeless, but turning up each day ready to observe, take keen notice, be open and keep trying is key. When inspiration for design is low, do all the boring stuff that needs to get done anyway!

I have always enjoyed art and creating things but was at a school that treated it as a bit of an indulgence or not for the academically-minded. I had to find the confidence to refute that utterly.

Being an artist has taught me that there is beauty in the smallest thing, the tiniest fragment can hold a universe in it, (think of the golden ratio in a floret), and this has informed my life enormously. I have begun embracing the life changing fact that the small things in life will often turn out to be the big things, so don’t be in such a hurry that you miss them. Observation of beauty, it turns out, seems to be a key to contentment. Also, to be ‘in the flow’ creatively necessitates being fully in the moment and that feels like a triumph in this speed obsessed, multi-task orientated world. Being fully in the moment, not fussing over the past or future is a huge stress/anxiety reducer.

I have pieces that I repeat which I sell on my website, but I also do one-off pieces and bespoke commission work. I don’t see a conflict in doing both.

I sell and market my work via my own website and through social media. I also sell through several online and bricks and mortar galleries who promote my work via their chosen means. I also hold Private Views twice a year and participate in a few craft fairs and pop up events. If money was no object I would probably hire an agent to take over certain aspects of promotion, PR and sales to leave me more time to design and create.

I think in this increasingly high tech society there is an increasing market for ‘high touch’ handmade goods and works of art. It connects pieces we use, wear or have to decorate our living spaces, with real people, their vision and interpretation of the world, with a provenance and the pulse of human creativity. How new technologies and ancient skills will entwine in the world of art and craft is an interesting issue.

As an artist, I would love to find a kind and generous goldsmith who would be willing to mentor me and teach me new skills affordably! I am also committed to finding the lowest carbon footprint for my work and the most ethical supply chains I can.

I love porcelain and would be interested to learn some ceramics skills and perhaps bring it together with the jewellery making.

I have a studio in my home which is both incredibly practical at the moment and also problematic with all my hectic family life going on around me! I am developing the ability to zone in really well to the task in hand but one day would like an away from home studio I think.

 

Jamie Louise McIntosh – Ceramics

I am driven by curiosity and colour. Experimentation and the unknown are key to my work. Which I think is quite handy considering ceramics can be extremely unpredictable, you are never certain that what you put in the kiln will emerge intact or in pieces or if the colour will be what you planned. But I have always enjoyed surprises so I tend not to mind.

I develop through making, I find getting stuck into an idea and trying it out is the most advantageous way for me to develop, maybe with a few doodles along the way. I also find that writing everything down like processes and ideas can help.

Inspiration for me is what drives an idea, although it is work that your making, its the being inspired that keeps you pushing through with an idea, especially when, at points, it isn’t going your way.

Ideas come to me at the oddest moments, there are some that I will never be able to pin point when they came to mind. I try to keep track of them all so that if there’s nothing new at all in my head usually there’s an idea somewhere that I can work on. However I find that if I keep calm and don’t become consumed with generating ideas, they usually come easier than if I get stressed and over think it all.

During High school I was set on going to art school in either Glasgow or Edinburgh. It wasn’t until after visiting the open days at both these art schools that I felt uncomfortable in the buildings and decided not to apply. Instead I began a course at Glasgow Caledonian University doing Psychology, however I knew the day I stepped foot in the door that I was going to hate it. I stuck it out for a year but decided in the summer of 2009 that I wasn’t going back and I wanted to be an artist after all. Gray’s school of Art in Aberdeen stood out to me as they had a general first year course and they were willing to give me an interview despite my late application and when I went up for the very first time I knew that was where I wanted to be. I’m a big believer on going with your gut instinct and thats what I’ve done since then. I never thought I’d have seen myself as a ceramicist, I was never a very patient person but it was the best decision I made and I believe that not going to Glasgow or Edinburgh was the right path because Gray’s school of art is the only art school in Scotland to still have a ceramics department as part of the 3D design course so I definitely think it was meant to be.

Being an artist is part of my life, I make time for it like I do anything else. But I don’t let it take over, I could very easily get carried away in my studio and let days pass but I want to ensure I have a life with my boyfriend, family and friends. They have all supported me through my journey at art school and now as a new artist, so I’d like to make sure they have an as important place in my life as much as being an artist has.

I love colour, despite working with predominantly white pieces just now I love exploring how colour can alter ceramic works. Experimentation with glazes is a major part of my day to day work in my studio and I’m always trying out a new variation of a glaze to get the best colour.

I think it is nice to create one off pieces as you and the person who commissioned it know there is only one out there. However I believe that unless your a mass producing company no 2 pieces will be entirely the same. For me my work is repeated but every piece is different as the tools I use don’t allow for repeating the same texture and design twice, because I embrace the little bits that fall off none of my pieces are exactly the same.

As I’m a new graduate I’m only just beginning to understand the difficulties of being an artist, both financially and artistically. I try to take on as many opportunities as I can, however I do need to work in another job that I can live off of. If money was no object I don’t think the style of my work would change but I would take on more work and be able to have all the facilities I needed to go ahead with different or larger scale ideas.

I think there will always be a place for artists, people will and have always enjoy art and craft and work that they know is made with true passion and enjoyment. Its just a matter of money, but I’m optimistic that artists will always have a place, we might just have to work a little harder to get noticed.

I don’t think my one wish would be to be rich and famous (although that would be nice). Maybe this is because I’m only new to the world of being an artist but my hearts desire would be to not give up. I want to be able to see this through and make something
out of it, take my skills further and become excellent at what I do.

If I could learn one new skill, it would be glass. I tried it out a few times at art school but myself and glass never got on, never the less I would like to keep trying it and see if I’m any good at it.

I like to have back ground noise and light when I’m working. I don’t mind a messy environment when I’m working as long as its cleared up for me starting again. The only downside is the sink is in a different room and when your working with clay and plaster and other messy materials its a little bit of a nuisance, but its not the end of the world.