New Normal

The last six months have had me surrounded by nappies, Nuby rings and the sound of baby Mozart rather than the usual hum of the welder the steady drifty tones of Radio 4. The birth of my daughter has introduced a wonderful dimension to my life and has created a natural pause. This has allowed me to reflect on what I have achieved and have a think about which new strands of work I would like to investigate.

In between attempting to fathom how mushed a carrot needs to be, a wonderful new book arrived through the post entitled 'Encore! The New Artisans' by Olivier Dupon. It is a beautiful publication profiling makers, their inspiration and working environments. I happen to be featured in the book which I am really excited about! 



For the last while I've been collecting anything and everything with a carmine pink quality. But why? I hear you cry… Bee Eaters is why... found in the river valleys and flood plains of Africa. I wanted to capture the sociable flash of pink amongst the tan sandy background. 

The result are some wall pieces you can currently see at Studio Fusion in the OXO Tower, London until the end of August.

On an educational note, during 26 July - 1 August 2014 I'll be teaching my first summer school at West Dean College. The course is called Wire Sculpture - from tiny to tall, please click here for information on how to book. This will be my last course for a little while as from sometime in September I will be busy negotiating a newborn baby...


A finished commission...

The second phase of 'Regenerated' is currently on display at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. Below you will see my response to the factory... a hanging piece entitled 'Tat Box One'.

I took inspiration from the random contents of boxes and the variant shades of painted green found within the factory. I think of this piece as a layered wire painting exploring two and three dimensions. Whilst making the piece I felt I was taming clutter, exploring green whilst simultaneously pondering why these objects ended up together.

Finding a place to site contemporary craft within the factory without dominating or losing the piece completely to the environment was a challenge. I do like the way the piece can be read differently from the front and the back. From the front it reads 'green' and makes reference to the painted window frames. From the back you almost read a black 2-D print of the piece as you gaze against the light of the windows in the roof.

The new pieces made by Miranda Sharpe, Rajesh Gogna and myself will be on display within the factory at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter till the 11th January 2014 


Tat box.

There are many random boxes in the factory at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Some contain odd bits of tooling, metal cut outs, stray pieces of cutlery, hinges, drawer handles, screws, bolts... you name it, you'll probably find it. I spent a long time intricately studying the contents of these boxes from a birds eye view... obviously no touching !

How did these specific objects get here, what were these boxes destined for? There are many repair jobs found within the factory of a DIY nature. Perhaps these boxes resourced repair work... I have a kitchen drawer for a similar need myself.


Making in the museum (and other places...)

Rajesh Gogna, Miranda Sharpe and myself have been busy this summer pushing forward with the Regenerated project. We have been working collaboratively, sharing our making skills and discussing ideas with the ultimate aim to produce a new piece each to be sited within the factory environment at the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. 

Our first aim was to develop four metal making sessions with a small group from Bishop Challoner School in Kings Heath. Our aim was to capture 'the mood of the museum' through drawing and metal test pieces. We initially working in the museum, using the factory as a direct visual resource to work from. We then moving to Rajesh's wonderful Jewellery-Silversmithing Design Academy were we able to use the facilities to experiment with enamelling, annealing, stamping, crinkling, doming and sawing copper to create a plethora of test pieces.

Here is a flavour of what we got up too...




Three makers working in metal based in Birmingham - Myself, Miranda Sharpe and Rajesh Gogna have been awarded Arts Council funding to make new work for the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter. Over the next few months we will be researching, making together and engaging in critical debate, our mission will be to capture the mood of the museum in metal. 

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter houses the Smith and Pepper Jewellery Factory. The proprietors decided to vacate the factory in 1981 unaware they would be leaving behind a perfectly preserved time capsule complete with grubby overalls left on coat hooks. Little changed in the eighty years leading up to the factory's closure. 

Engaging with this space throws up a multitude of questions... how are we similar to the factory workers?  Is it right to create an intervention in this environment or is it more appropriate to use a white gallery space -How can a maker engage with a 'time capsule'?

We currently have an exhibition of existing work being exhibited at the museum in the gallery space. The exhibition is called 'Regenerated'. The work will change over in September to house our new commissions and findings which will be on display until January 2014.

I'll update the blog as we go to show you are progress. For more information on the Museum of the Jewellery Quarter and the exhibition click here


The Pigeon Fancier

I spent last week in Cardiff as Artist in Residence at Craft in the Bay creating an installation called The Pigeon Fancier. This involved making pigeons with gallery visitors throughout the week and displaying them in boxes, transforming the gallery in to a Pigeon Fancier's Paradise...

A big thank you to all the pigeon makers who made it possible and the staff and volunteers at Craft in the Bay who made me feel so welcome.