Sunday, 26 August 2012


Sketchbooks are a huge passion of mine, especially handmade books. I always have at least 5 on the go, following themes which I always come back to as sources for inspiration. This summer I decided to make some very teeny concertina books, measuring only 7cm x 5cm and I took them almost everywhere I went.

This one sprung to life on the beach in Nice; so many pebbles, warmed by the sun, hot to the touch, I just couldn't resist.

Back in the UK, a train journey had me drawing lichen. 24 pages of it, simple repeated shapes, patterns and textures. Shapes I already use in my jewellery.

So many gorgeous pebbles, I wanted to record the soft colours. My collected favourites were all marked with a white ring, a seam of white quartz within them. 

I love to draw, and these are some of my bigger sketchbooks, I never consider them finished, more of an ongoing accompaniment to my 3D pieces. Each one has a theme, sources of shape, pattern and texture that I use as reference in the pieces I create in metal and textiles.

My photos are from innumerable visits to the coast, as well as the basement of Manchester Museum. Gorgeous fossilised corals.

I learnt how to make sketchbooks at an inspiring workshop with Lucy May Schofield, a professional bookbinder with mesmerising passion for her craft. The course was based at Hotbed Press in Manchester, a fantastic workspace for printmakers, where registered members can use a selection of resources in open access studios. They run regular courses in all kinds of paper based techniques, its a great place, full of enticing printing presses and drawers full of moveable type and their expert guidance makes it really accessible.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Spring greens

 I've been saving up for ages and ages for a new camera, and to celebrate it's arrival, I have photographed some of the knit and crochet pieces I have been working on lately. The top few are loosely based on barnacles found along the seashore, in rock pools and clinging to rocks along the tideline. 

The green pieces are inspired by moss, lichen and tree bark; I love the vibrancy of the colours the damp British springtime climate cultivates. 

These are closeups of a huge knit and crochet piece I have been making using about 6 knitting needles at once, all of different sizes, with countless teeny balls of yarn hanging from it. My plan is to keep working into it, knitting into the surface and adding more crochet forms to really add depth. 

 In these 2 pieces I decided to go to the other extreme, working on teeny needles, knitting off edges at right angles to create a patchwork effect. I had been daydreaming whilst looking out of the car window, at green fields feeling inspired by emerging shoots of freshly planted crops. The arrival of spring after grey winter gloom always makes me feel the urge to make things.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Frosty moss

Winter sunshine makes my heart lift. I hate the long, grey days we get in the North, so these snippets of colour sneaking through the harsh, bitter cold made me smile. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Being invited to exhibit my jewellery at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park was quite surreal. It is one of my favourite places to visit- contemplative and inspiring, as well as the place I studied to be a teacher. Happy associations with previous visits there with friends, as well as trips with my students, to stand in awe of work by sculptors and makers who have helped to shape my creativity and passions. The physicality of sculpture has always moved me to make things, I love the solidity and tangibility of structure and form, the way it inhabits space beyond the maker and takes on a presence of its own.

All of the pieces are made individually, by hand; cutting, filing, hammering, refining, finishing every edge, join, and surface, taking care to pay attention to every detail. It is a slow, time consuming process, and by it's very nature, the small scale demands engagement and focus. 

I enjoy the feel of working with metal, the way it softens with heat, becomes more malleable and holds it's shape beautifully, exactly as I wish, but demanding such care and control- the slightest neglect and it melts and is ruined. The relationship I have with my work is therefore quite intense. I love the transition from a transient thought, an idea in my mind, to something I can touch. It fascinates me to think that something I have made with my hands, can be passed on and held, owned, appreciated by someone else. I am captivated by this abstract connection, and it drives my own passion for all things hand-made.

So my visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, to see my own work alongside makers whose work I love, was really quite emotional. Driving into the grounds, past incredible, monumental pieces, made me feel very small and humble. My heart racing, so nervous and excited, bizarre to think that a little box of jewellery that I painstakingly packed and posted, from the comfort and familiarity of my own work bench, had found it's way here and was laid out for all to see.