HAND 

“Ideas travel, and HAND.01, a packable, refillable, paper-topped modular table from emergent British design studio HAND and paper pioneers G.F Smith, has been designed to ensure that inspiration is captured wherever it strikes. 

Manchester Craft & Design Centre has joined forces with HAND Srudio to capture the creativity of the Centre’s Resident Makers and other creatives from across Manchester, and to celebrate craft, collaboration and the heritage of MCDC. 

A total of 49 artists have used HAND.01 to create 49 customised pieces of work which, when collated, will form a large mural representing an iconic section of MCDC.”

HAND CRAFT 

08.09.16 – 30.10.16

#HandCraftMcr


March meet the maker

Last month I took part in the #marchmeetthemaker challenge over on Instagram. It was open to any creative business that wanted to take part, a subject was set for every day of the month. I thought I would share the project in full here . . .

Day 1 | Brand Image . . .

img_2143I created my own handwritten logo a couple of years ago to reflect my interest and use of old handwriting. Then when I moved to my own studio / shop last September it was given a fresh look by having it laser cut in wood. I originally wanted to paint it but it looked right left alone along with my shop branding. I have old wood furniture against a pale grey wall inside.

Day 2 | You . . .

 Something I never do is take photos of myself, this was definitely the biggest challenge of the project! Taken in my studio / shop.

Day 3 | Workspace . . .


This is the jewellery making side of my workspace at the back of my shop, which continues across the back wall and then behind into a long simple bench area I created for making cards and collages, (or doing admin). All of my work is made in the studio, and it’s the perfect space, have great light and fab windows either side of me, one with the best view of the craft centre.

Day 4 | Tools . . .

 A selection of basic everyday tools. I’ve managed to buy most of my tools through much appreciated awards I’ve received over my career. There are still many tools on the wish list!

Day 5 | Can’t live without . . .


My awesome mum and my amazing fella firstly and mostly . . . then work wise it would be coffee before I start making to make me human, paper and pens, or a mountain of notebooks, my diary and a selection of inky black pens and pencil to write, make notes, lists and record thoughts.

Day 6 | Raw materials . . .

img_2142-1

The first image is of a silver order I had just received. I make everything from scratch using silver sheet, wire and tube, and gold tube for the rivets. Postcards are next, Manchester is really good for vintage fairs which I go to as often as I can (I have the man in my life interested in vintage now and we are a good ephemera hunting team!). I also use old stamps and linen maps. I (we!) also hunt for old wooden rulers. I started buying rulers back in Edinburgh, they add a very warm and friendly feel to my work. Lastly here are a sample of the semi-precious beads I scatter through my collection. Always good quality and a great addition of colour and texture.

Day 7 | How & Why . . .


How & Why was a tricky one to answer in an image, and simply, so I opted to show the days work in process instead!

Why? I need some new simple every day wear earrings to suit some recently made necklaces.

How? I’ve prepared the hooks and stems, crazy how long such little things take. I lay out the ideas next to me at the bench on clean white paper, to stop me being distracted, which kind of works! I want to use semi-precious beads in them to link with the necklaces but give colour and interest on their own.

Day 8 | Where . . .

My walk from Piccadilly Gardens in central Manchester to the Craft Centre, is about 7 minutes across Thomas Street and up Oak Street in the Northern Quarter, then upstairs to my studio / shop.

Day 9 | Goals . . .


To get my cabinets stocked up! Now that I have more space with the new shop, and also to try and keep up with what is being designed in my head, its hard to keep up! It is a constant shifting to accommodate the unexpected order or deadline, then back to my schedule, adding in some random ideas as the inspiration takes me, if I leave it until I have time, sometimes I loose the inspiration for it. I also would like to open an online shop at some point this year.

Day 10 | Favourite small business . .


There are so many great makers, and too many jewellers I love, so for this I chose 3 differenet disciplines . . .

Lizzie Stewart illustration

Ness Donnelly stitched drawings

Cathy Cullis embroidery

Day 11 | Post run . . .

Day 12 | First ever sale . . .

A bangle from my Degree Show which I sold at New Designers to a very lovely French lady, I will never forget it!

Day 13 | Feedback . . .


One reason I wanted a shop at the Craft Centre was so I can meet the people who like my work and buy from me, it’s the best way to progress. I have a lot of conversations about my work, the display and, I didn’t expect so many conversations with guys about these old pegs I use for hanging pendants. Random, but I do love these little old things!

Day 14 | Creative friends . . .


Plenty here at my making home, Manchester Craft & Design Centre.

Day 15 | Inspiration . . .


My inspirations board above my workbench . . .

Day 16 | Time to relax . . .


If I’m at home, I’m learning to cook, because it’s just time I did! I’m not a natural, I end up adding creativity to things, which I think are genius at the time, but end up in disaster quite often!

If I’m out, and not at vintage fairs, I’m a bit of a wanderer and love exploring the city and adding to my collection of photos of derelict, urban textures, ghost walls, road markings and graffiti.

Day 17 | Photography . . .

Day 18 | Shelfie . . .


My shelves at home are a combination of handmade, vintage collections, and books.

Day 19 | Helper . . .

On Mondays I am extremely blessed with the help of the ultra lovely, friendly and happy Tamara. X

Day 20 | Sketchbook . . .


I generally design by playing with previously made but unused metalwork elements, sometimes along with card models. I fill a sketchbook in about a year or so with ideas and doodles of repeated shapes to warm up, and the occasional drawing of objects around me. If I’m lucky enough to have time!

Day 21 | Work clothes . . .


My second apron, made by my lovely mum, in denim with patterned fabrics around the edges and a hug pocket on the front (big enough for a hot water bottle in the deepest winter months!).

Day 22 | Best seller . . .


As most of my work is either one-off or limited edition, I cant really have a best seller, but, these studs are the first items I made using stamps and I always have them in stock in a nice selection of coloured stamps, maps and postcards. They are a good, or best friend!

Day 23 | Studio playlist . . .


On this day I was working on a brooch commission while listening to the radio. I get bored easily so I move between radio, silence, watching documentaries, or listening to my own music, though I have to be selective in a studio with visitors!

Day 24 | Milestone . . .


I moved to Manchester 4 years ago now with the hope that it was firstly a good idea, which it was. And also that I would get my own shop at Manchester Craft & Design Centre, which I have! I now need to make the most of having the shop and focus on some new goals.

This is an image taken from the current exhibition at the Craft Centre, Ceramics by Verity Howard.

Day 25 | Packaging . . .


Day 26 | Colour and Texture . . .


A sample of the stamps an their colours. Stamps, maps and beads give my work colour, and they are sitting here on white cartridge paper which I use to texture my silver by passing layers through the rolling mill. The paper comes out with lovely prints from the silver, and they are a perfect addition to my collages and cards.

Day 27 | Routine . . .

We open Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 5.30 pm, though as I have a helper I am at the studio Tuesday to Saturday. We can work outside of those hours too.

It takes me around an hour to get to work by bus and I love my route. I pass the Museum of Costume, the Whitworth, Manchester Museum and travel through Curry Mile and the universities to the centre of town.

Day 28 |  Organised . . .


Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

Gustave Flaubert.

Day 29 | In action . . .


Day 30 | Books or Blogs . . .


Books! Though I do have a few favourite blogs I regularly visit, I love books. Beautifully illustrated books, or books by illustrators. I love old map books, and I am a big  Nigel Peake fan.

Day 31 | Customers . . .


My fab view  from my workbench of my visitors.

Customers, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you. Without you I couldn’t continue my work, without my work, I would be nothing. Thank you X

 

 

Work in progress …

Just a hint at what I’ve been working on over the last few weeks, some of these ideas I am currently developing into jewellery and others will be worked into new collages later on …

stitched postcards + luggage labels …
ovals + circles cut out + more stitching …
ovals + circles + raindrops cut from old rulers …
more writing stitched on postcards + painted red circles …
pencil dots + stitched postcards …
stitched + painted + drawn lines in reds …
cutting out shapes from postcards + drawing shapes …
little red viewfinders, loving working in these colours …
red blotches + stitching + cut outs …
+ some more!

Cutting and etching week

My week of laser cutting and etching is going too fast! I’m having far too much fun for it to finish today! This is what I’ve been playing with so far, getting to grips with just some of the possibilities. I’ve so many ideas to try out I could do with another week, and it’s such a great way to spend your weeks!

My first test with a laser cut (a little) a kiss-cut (birdy) and an etch (told me)
Then we tried etching and cutting from a scanned drawing
An etch old photograph, there is so much more I would like to do with this

 

First postcard etched using a section from the lace patterns

 

Another lace test, less large holes, but lots of breaks, I must put in bridges!

 

A detail of the previous postcard

 

My next card, laser in action! Stronger and more lines on this one.

 

The result, with much more detail

 

The last one from yesterday, in progress...

 

I wanted this one to cut through more, but perhaps my settings were up a bit too far!

 

Once finished cutting, but the before it was picked up (and it fell into holes!).

 

The result, sat on a postcard as it was so fragile. It took an hour to cut so impractical really but lovely.

 

A detail, this is a really lacey effect and looks almost 3-dimentional.

 

Next exhibition …

This week has been a re-thinking week as I have an upcoming group exhibition to prepare one piece for. It’s Unit 12’s First Anniversary: Paper exhibition with some really exciting makers involved. So Tuesday I took off to the Dean Gallery – I rarely get chance to spend a whole day exploring and getting inspired, so this was a treat. They have a brilliant exhibition of August Sanders photography on at the moment, I love late 1800’s to mid 1900’s photography, especially of people, their work, their lives. This first image wasn’t actually in the exhibition but I came home and looked up more, extended the exhibition a little.

Wandering from the Modern Art Gallery alongside the lovely water of Leith I managed to spot two of the Antony Gormley sculptures – still intend to find them all and blog them together (as long as no more are nicked!). I loved this perfect oval cut into the tree, and the striped railings and pavement…

Then the last couple of days I have been working through some ideas, selecting postcards to be used, getting them all scanned (I alway record them before I use them).  Then time in the studio playing with ideas, give me a drill, some scraps of paper and new pencils, and I’m very happy… The deadline is the middle of next week so I will add details of the piece I made (will make!) and the details of the exhibition soon. Now off to book my train ticket, it’s a rare occasion of being able to attend the private view

Found paper inspiration

Last Saturday was a great day for trawling round a various fairs in Edinburgh to find inspiring ephemera to use for my upcoming exhibition at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh in January. I started off by finding a pair of really soft royal blue kid gloves to go with my glove collection, I’m wanting to post my collections of various old items in the new year, so that’s to follow. At the book fair I found lovely little packages of souvenier photographs which I had overlooked in the past but these were very cute with lovely covers. One from Fountains Abbey ‘Series of Photographs for your snapshot album’, two of Eastbourne one being an Easter present to an Aunt Lucy, written on the reverse. Another of Torquay and the last is ‘Valetines Picture Panels of Chatsworth House’. They may become mini plinths for displaying my work – to be tried out later this week.

 Then I discovered a small envelope addressed to Miss Seller in Hull, full of photographs of a group on holiday in and around Bergen in August 1911. Two photos were taken on a glacier – in their skirts and blouses! On the reverse of the last photo is written ‘ The Viking – Deck Billiards’ with a hint of old numbers in chalk which I love.

The next image shows two dark photographs of a group of people, same people but different positions, and on the reverse of one it says ‘ Mr & Mrs Wilson Thompson, 1913. I found a programme for Swiss Tours in 1912, I have a lovely French tour programme with illustrations so it will go with that, then and a business card for a Piano Tuner in Edinburgh, ‘The Greatest Compliment I can pay my friends is to pre-pare my piano for their reception. Are YOU prepared?’.

Then the biggest pile of postcards I’ve bought in one go for a long time – a really great find. Not all of these things will be put into the work necessarily, some will be in the display and all are inspiring.