28 Oct 2016

In a drawer that doesn't often see the light of day....

There is something about old things that I just love. What makes them so appealing? The fact that you stumble upon them by chance and cross paths incidentally makes them all the more appealing. These objects happen to belong to someone that I haven't ever met but who shares my surname, my married name, that is my grandfather in law. I have listened to so many stories over the years but these objects feel like evidence of his existence. They tell a tale of his life, of the places he went, of the things he chose to keep and numerous diaries. One of which includes what he was doing the day I was born.

Evidence of the marks the hands have left on them, the wear and tear, the rust, the smell, the dust. When I look at these objects I do not think of them as being mass produced. Although they certainly weren't unique they seem to have regained value in the hierarchy of objects for their They now feel like gems, like treasure. Someone was sentimental (or lazy) enough to not discard of these objects. Unlikely to have been used for a number of years they seem to have bypassed the bin thus regaining there status. As now they aren't one of many but one of few.

19 Oct 2016

A trip to London.....

After a day in London visiting the V&A, the Natural History Museum and Liberty it is safe to say I have visual overload. I started to read the book Emotionally Durable Design on the train journey there which definitely changed the way I responded to the the information I received.

"Over 90 per cent of the resources taken out of the ground today become waste within three months: waste consisting of plastics, metals and other synthetic compounds no longer recognisable to the microbial decomposers that degrade substances back to their basic nutritional building blocks."

Today consumer behaviour has been more apparent to me than ever before. Today I became aware of the bottled water I had in my bag and the plastic cutlery I used for lunch both of which will take hundreds of years to biodegrade for not much more than five minutes use. Now, waste has always been something that really bugs me. Even when I was young I hated to throw anything away because it seemed wasteful. So I would often revamp or reuse things, but this behaviour was not driven by any environmental factors. However, in adulthood environmental factors do impact my buying decisions. I recycle, I buy organic, I regularly buy and sell used items, and I walk short distances but only when it is convenient to me. All of the aesthetic things I am usually completely absorbed in and want to take home looked very different today. Today, I didn't buy anything that wasn't edible. Today I noticed all the things that were of little use but were highly aesthetical. I noticed the things that were a gimmick and that would soon be unloved and be chucked out. I noticed endless amounts of packaging and people revelling at the thought of their new purchases.

A trip to the V&A did not help rid me of my frantic consumer thoughts. Especially when I entered the glass and ceramic sections. All this stuff could so easily have ended up in landfill but instead made it into the museum. 

Craftspeople that specialised in repair - well you don't see that anymore. It's cheaper to buy a new one! But like my dad says 'you don't get owt for nowt'. The planet appears to be paying the price.

12 Oct 2016

GNCCF Manchester

Loved visiting the Great Northern Contemporary Craft fair this year. I  haven't been for a few years now so this was my first time seeing the show in Granada Studios. Some of my favourites this year were Julia Jowett, Mandy Cleveland and Sue Bibby.

I remember Julia and her work from when we both exhibited in the graduate showcase at the Harrogate K&S show. I love the use of materials within Julia's work, the metal combined with stitch and pattern. The embroidery gives them the feeling that they have been around longer than they have whilst the metal, for me, gives them a modern twist which makes them even more enchanting.

This was the first time I have seen any of Mandy's work. I loved the use of brown envelopes and the ripped edges that were unique in each piece. I hate waste and it was so nice to see a one use item worthy of a frame. The drawings were so detailed and the envelopes added to their appeal. It was a perfect marriage of materials and technique. Simple but so effective. Mandy said she liked knowing that the envelope had already been on a journey and served its purpose before it made its way to her. This adds another element of mystery and appeal.

Sue Bibby was such a lovely lady. Being a lover of embroidery myself, there is no way I could have walked past this stand without stopping. Her inspiration from flowers, gardens and plants was especially appealing to me because I love the outdoors. The detail in her work was immense which made them feel real and life like. They brought the outside in. The work that went into these pieces, the texture and individuality of each piece was obvious and made the work more desirable.

5 Oct 2016


I started my MA @ UCLan this year. Eeeek. Really excited to get back to doing some of my own work. I have put together this visual mind map to gather my thoughts and initial areas of interest to find a starting point.

I am increasingly interested in our relationship to the objects that surround us. Whether they are special because of who gave them to us, how much they cost, who they used to belong to, their visual appeal or because of the memories they old. Do the things we own say more about us than we think? Why is it difficult to let go of certain objects. We live in a time where consumerism is so much of a problem that it impacts our environment, yet accumulation is vast. This conveyer belt of belongings is never ending and the hierarchy is constantly changing. It becomes inevitable that some of our once prized possessions get relegated to the bin. Perhaps the item made it into a photograph and this jogs your memory and reminds you that it once belonged to you. But where do we think all this does stuff goes? It certainly doesn't drop off the edge of the earth after the bin lorry has been round. In fact many items will remain on the earth for much longer than we will.