Thursday, May 30, 2013

Interview with Kathryn Newman

Today I would like to introduce you to Kathryn Newman of Beads by Kat. Kat makes divine goddess beads and the most uplifting affirmation jewellery.

How did you get started in as a silversmith and lampwork bead maker?

I've been making jewellery since I was young, the Janet Coles catalogue was one of my most favorite reads! I got into silversmithing when my husband bought me a starter kit for Christmas one year, and I enrolled in evening classes. I hadn't even heard of Lampworking until a couple of years ago, but a day's lesson had me hooked and I really haven't looked back.

What would you like to do/learn/take up in the future to further your process?

I would like to try Borosilicate glass and more sculptural artsy fartsy stuff one day. I also quite fancy learning to draw properly, my beads come straight from brain to glass, and it would be good to be able to sketch out more of what's up there!

How has your crafting and inspiration evolved over time?

I'm a total craft butterfly, I have to try everything once, hence the starter kit from my hubby! I've found lately that there are elements from other crafts that I've done that work their way into my beads, mainly from my embroidery.

What is your favourite ever piece of work?

I was recently asked to make interior accents for a client's wet-room, so a collection of light pulls and cabinet knobs are my current favourite.



Where do you find your inspiration?

Like with many people, mainly nature! I love flowers, especially those with smiley faces. I love to create smooth tactile pieces that make people smile, I love fun and colours - and often the sort of music I'm listening to at the time will have an influence on the piece I'm working on. I do have a bit of a Gothic dark side though.

Do you craft for your living or is it more of a hobby/passion/obsession?

I do it for a living but it will always be a passion/obsession. I just can't sit and do nothing, I'm always crafting in some way.

What is your greatest crafting success? And your most spectacular failure?

My most spectacular failure was Polymer Clay, seriously don't have the knack for that! I consider Lampworking as a whole to be my biggest success, I love it that much :)

What other crafts do you dabble in/would you like to try?

I think I've pretty much had a go at everything, if I haven't, I'd like to try it! My main other crafts are sewing, embroidery, knitting, tatting and papercrafts.



Do you listen to music while you create? What is your favourite track?

Like with my crafts, I'm a musical butterfly! I generally start the day with chilled music like Newton Faulkner, Jason Mraz, Mr Buble etc and then I switch up to either more boppy stuff, like Skrillex, Rizzle Kicks, Madcon or I'll hit the Metal - am a big Foo Fighters fan, Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson etc!! My favourites change according to my mood.

Who is your favourite artists or designer?

Favourite artists are JLC Tiffany of course, Behrens, and Monet.


When not creating/crafting what is your favourite thing to do?

Spending time with my lovely hubby. Usually chilling in front of a dvd where of course I'm still crafting something cos I can't just sit in front of the tv and do nowt!

Who would you choose to play you in the movie of your life?

Dawn French, she doesn't take herself too seriously and has just the right amount of sarcasm to get through the day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Interview with Jill of Kiln Fired Art

Today's interview is with Jill of Kiln Fired Art. Jill is frankly amazing. Her skill as a painter is plain for all to see but on top of that she fuses, lampworks, works with ceramics and clay, precious metal clay and aluminium, copper and silver too!

How did you get started in art and crafts?

I have always made things, I grew up surrounded by creativity, my mother was a dressmaker. I suppose from an early age I just assumed it was what people did.





What would you like to do/learn/take up in the future to further your process?

Learning new techniques is a major part of the buzz for me, I'm always trying something new. I'd really love to try glass blowing one day.

How has your crafting and inspiration evolved over time?

The materials I work with are constantly evolving, I started in textiles, moved on to painting, then glass fusing and jewellery making. I'm never quite sure what will inspire me next, that's exciting.

What is your favourite ever piece of work?

My favourite piece of work is an overglaze painting called 'Wiltshire trees'. I'd tried for a long time to translate a watercolour technique into overglaze painting, then one day it happened.


Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere but there are some constants, I love textures, and nature, last week I was inspired by Roman jewellery and the Lewis chess men in the British museum.

Do you craft for your living or is it more of a hobby/passion/obsession?

It's certainly an obsession and a passion, I tend to reinvest my earnings into new tools and materials.

What is your greatest crafting success? And your most spectacular failure?

My greatest success has to be being awarded a City and Guilds bronze medal for excellence, which was presented to my by Prince Philip ant Buckingham Palace.

My greatest failures, I've had a few glassy disasters, one involving a huge bubble, and a meltdown when a glass of wine (or two) lead me to forget the kiln was on.


What other crafts do you dabble in/would you like to try?

I've tried many crafts, at the moment I paint on ceramics, fuse glass, work with clay and metals, and I'm learning lampwork. I don't think I have the space to do anything else. I would like to get back into watercolour one day.








Do you listen to music while you create? What is your favourite track?

Not often while I'm working, but I do to unwind, and I find something like Kings of Leon or Led Zepplin great to get into the mood for working.

Who is your favourite artists or designer?

The artist John G Blockley, I love his watercolours, and Turner.

When not creating/crafting what is your favourite thing to do?


I like walking in the countryside, taking time to notice nature.

Who would you choose to play you in the movie of your life?

That's a hard one, maybe Celia Imrie

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Learning a new skill by Lynn Davy

Bums on Seats – Lynn Davy has a go at upholstery for the first time...


(Anybody who has ever taken an upholstery class, look away now!)

A couple of years ago I inherited a rather nice battered old chair that belonged to my granny. It’s been around as long as I can remember, and it’s looked like this for as long as I can remember...

Which means it hasn’t been re-upholstered in (ahem) fifty years or so.

This wasn’t a problem until one day I was sitting on it (it’s become my crafting chair, it lives by the table in my studio) and something cracked. Up to that point I hadn’t really thought about what a chair seat might be made of, or how it might be made at all, but I took the seat part out of the chair and had a look.
It didn’t look good.
The webbing was all floppy and torn, and the fabric was coming off the frame. Not only that, but when I took the rest of the fabric off, I found that the wood at the front of the frame had cracked.
The original fabric was velvet and must once have been a really vibrant deep red although the top had faded to more of a russet-orange.
I peeled it off to see what the cushion part was made of. There was a lot of dust (thankfully I had taken my repair project outside into the garden by this stage) followed by layers of kapok (I think) and fluffy grey wadding, which turned out to have a previous seat cover mummified inside it. This must once have been a bright floral fabric – I have no idea how old this layer is, maybe 1930s, maybe older? – underneath which was a layer of sheep’s wool that looks to have been collected straight from the barn or perhaps straight off the sheep, complete with bits of straw. Also some scarily sharp tacks that had been entangled in it at some point during the upholstering process...



And holding it all up was a layer of hessian, maybe specially purchased, maybe a bit off an old sack.

 By this time I was beginning to feel that the whole construction was reassuringly low-tech and might not be beyond my ability to fix. I was also beginning to suspect that my granny (a fearless and practical lady) might have been the last person to re-upholster this chair seat. And since I still had granny’s tobacco tin full of tacks – which I’d been using for experiments in dangerous beadwork – plus a whole box of her vintage tools and hardware, not to mention several drawers full of her carefully hoarded fabric remnants, it seemed a good idea to take on the challenge and have a go myself. First job was to get those tacks out. And there was a tool just right for the task... anyone know what this is called?

I left the tacks that had held the crumbling velvet, as a sort of archaeological record of the chair’s history, and I glued, screwed and wired the broken bit of wood back together. I had intended to replace it with a new piece, scavenged from an old bed frame, but the clever joints at the frame’s corners would have been beyond my carpentry skills!
Next step was to replace the original webbing – the remaining sound parts were too short to be re-useable but I found a strap from an old computer bag that was long and strong enough to be used instead. I don’t know why the tacks are in that pattern but they were that way on the original straps and I presume the original tacker knew what he or she was doing. Unlike me...
Since I had no hessian, I used a double thickness of a heavyweight curtain fabric instead. Nailing it on was surprisingly easy and very satisfying, although that tapered shape was a bit of a challenge. I suppose I should have trimmed the fabric first. But this was all going to be inside the cushion, so I just folded it over and added more tacks.
For the cover, I used some gorgeous blue Sanderson fabric salvaged from the loose covers that used to be on granny’s old sofa. This I did cut to shape, not particularly accurately it has to be said, but I figured that so long as it was big enough, the edges would be underneath so a bit of wonkiness wouldn’t matter. I did try to be clever and get the pattern centred on the seat. Or was it the seat centred on the pattern? Anyway I reassembled the old cushion in reverse order on top of the new cover...

Then I stretched and nailed and hit my thumb and said a rude word and nailed some more and remembered how to do ‘hospital corners’ for the corners and took in a pleat or two where the fabric was loose and rediscovered why they say ‘sharp as tacks’ and added a few more tacks for luck until I reckoned it wasn’t going to fall apart if someone sat on it...
I turned it over with much trepidation and guess what? It looked like a chair seat again! And the pattern was still more or less in the middle. I will admit to doing a happy dance at this point.
Then I had an Awful Thought. What if I’d added too much fabric and it didn’t fit in the chair frame any more? Only one way to find out...
Phew.

It was interesting learning a new technique from scratch. I’m sure I’d do a better job next time. It definitely hit the same spot as the beginner-level bookbinding that I dabble in from time to time: nicely low-tech and imprecise and with ample opportunities for using recycled and repurposed materials. And a great excuse to play with granny’s vintage tools, which are just such a pleasure to handle and use.

And now I can sit on my crafting chair again. I think granny would be proud!

Lynn

Friday, May 3, 2013

Interview with Laney Mead - Izzybeads

Hey there, today I would like to introduce you to Laney Mead of Izzybeads. Laney's work is steeped in humor, peppered with fine detail and is completely brilliant.

How did you get started with lampwork?

By accident! I have never been girlie, my only jewellery was a simple silver ring that I had had from my teens, until I got married, then I developed a gold allergy through pregnancy so still wore my simple silver ring, small earrings and that was it. I have never been an 'elegant' sort of person, a bit rough and ready, jeans and jumper sort, so I never gave jewellery design any thought, until....a chance introduction at glass bead making and I was hooked. The jewellery was something I tried as I had the beads and I am still learning as try as I might, elegant pieces are just not my thing!


What would you like to do/learn/take up in the future to further your process?

At the moment, nothing really although I would love to be more forward in promoting myself, so I wouldn't mind a crash course in learning how to talk myself up a bit!

How has your crafting and inspiration evolved over time?

My art process has been a weird one! Having started my art passion, with drawing, life drawing, portraiture drawing, a dabble with big abstract murals and my dream of being a pet portrait artist in fine art realized, I seem to have drifted more to humour and caricature. I think I am much happier with the humour and fun side of art, perhaps it has helped me to lighten up in everyday living, who knows?

What is your favourite ever piece of work?

The portrait I did of my Izabel, when she was a puppy, its fine art with pencil and took many many hours and layers of colour.


Where do you find your inspiration?

All around me. I am intrigued with language, the play on words, I love my dogs, cats, chooks and even foxy loxy that ate the chooks, the cows the pigs, the sheep and people I pass on the street, it all finds a way into my glass.

Do you craft for your living or is it more of a hobby/passion/obsession?

Sort of all of those things. I don't have to make money to live on, I am lucky to be supported by my hubby, so I can concentrate on my kids (at least when they were little) and my small menagerie, its definitely an obsession, I wake up thinking glass, sculpture, funny things, its a great way to start the day. One day I will hopefully make money doing what I love, but for now, its a hobby that supports itself.

What is your greatest crafting success? And your most spectacular failure?

If you don't class success in money, my greatest success is achieving my 'arty' person. I was never able to go to art school, for personal reasons, and I took years to get over feeling like I was denied further education, I would have loved to go to University and take English and Art in some form, but then I would probably have gone into teaching, so by doing what I do is a success, I love to amuse the muse in me. I don't have a failure, I've spent too many years struggling with life and appreciate that each failure is a step towards success.

What other crafts do you dabble in/would you like to try?

I still draw, albeit its more of a doodle now, one day I would like to write. I did think that it would be an autobiographical style of book/writing and was encouraged to do this by my Aunt, but, I have come full circle in my life and think that would be too depressing. Perhaps a manual on how to make sculptural pieces to make you smile, that would be something I would like to do one day.

Do you listen to music while you create? What is your favourite track?

I love Radio 2, and sing along, badly, to all the old songs from the 60's (even though it was before my time), 70's glam rock and the romantic dross that was the 80's music. Music of choice has to be country music, I just love the ballad tunes.
Who is your favourite artists or designer?

I have so many favourites. I love the Impressionists, Degas and Manet, Monet and Renoir, Mary Cassatt and Matisse for his colour. I also love the colour of Patrick Heron a more modern painter who died in 1999. Those are some of my favourite painters. I suppose when it comes to glass, I have to name Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka, their work is something to be admired, it might not be the whimsy style I favour in my glass, but their attention to detail is something I could only hope for.

When not creating/crafting what is your favourite thing to do?

Read. I love to read. Anything and everything, although current favourite genre is fantasy, all those dragons and knights in shinning armour.

Who would you choose to play you in the movie of your life?

Dolly Parton. The boobs, the voice, the way she has chosen to live her life, the childhood she had and the way she has climbed her way to the top with grace and values. I love Dolly Parton.