Monthly Archives: July 2014

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.