Saturday, 27 October 2007

MAKERS OF THE WEEK - Christiane Kersten and Alison Milner

Christiane Kersten and Alison Milner

Slip cast ceramics in various pastel colours, functional simple shapes with printed photographic transfer decoration by Alison Milner.

1 Money spent on… good food… i s never wasted.
It makes total sense to me to invest in good food, by that I mean mostly local, organic, home cooked and tasty food. It’s not just for my own obvious pleasure, enjoyment and health but also the bigger picture of how food is produced, where it comes from and how this affects the people, animals and the land it comes from.(CK)

Money spent on .materials and the right computer software......... is never wasted(AM)

2 Favourite living craft maker
I really love the ceramic installations by Gwyn Hanssen Pigott. Her bottles, cups, bowls and beakers are arranged in groups like a still life and she chooses very pale, subtle and similar colours. To me they emphasise something of the essence of ceramic aesthetics. They point out the subtleties of shape, profile, contour and volume. Her glazes are either matt or shiny, playing with the qualities of light, which is either reflected or models the shapes with shadows.(CK)

unto this last’- computer generated furniture. I heard Olivier Geoffroy speak at the V and A and I like the way he sees his computer software as a tool of his trade , plus his ideas on local production and last but not least the look of his furniture. (AM)

3 Favourite historical artist
Constantin Brancusi, especially his later work – again for his beautiful forms, and for being able to represent the essence of things. But also for daring to think big, for believing in himself and for working hard. (CK)
Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin (1699-, for his exquisite compositions and combinations of people and objects. (AM)

4 Favourite historical maker
Charles and Ray Eames (are they historical enough?) I love the way they cross disciplines (films, furniture, exhibitions…)plus their economy of means their forward looking approach and their curiosity and love of life (and each other!) (AM)

5 When and where did you first want to do what you do?
At school, having to choose a local craft business for a four week work experience.
I started liking the idea of rows and rows of thrown pots and suddenly noticed all kinds of ceramics everywhere around me. I was about thirteen and decided to learn to throw on the wheel.(CK)

I decided to do 3D design specifically after seeing an exhibition at the Crafts Council called “The Makers Eye” that included selections of objects chosen by Alison Brittain and David Pye among others.I was 23 at the time and doing a foundation course at Central school of Art. (AM)

6 Do you work best on your own or in collaboration ?
I enjoy my own company when I am working alone, getting stuck in and absorbed in what I am doing. I thought for a while this is best for me. But working with Alison for nearly three years now has been a pleasure and hugely rewarding. I am still making the pots but every other aspect of the work is shared, discussed and supported by Alison.
This has actually helped to move forward at a time when I had a baby and worried that I would have to slow down. It has opened up new areas of work like the recent commission from Royal Doulton, for which we are designing six large Flambé pieces. Alison has a very good eye for things, an intuitive and spontaneous way of working and she believes in the success of a project. Her positive attitude is contagious and inspiring. I believe working on your own is important but not all of the time.(CK)

I do seem to work well in collaboration, I have a lot of ideas and don’t always have the skills to carry them out, Christiane is very good at being realistic….
It makes sense to combine skills rather than doing everything yourself.(AM)

7 What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
Whilst I was in Japan I was given a few pieces of ceramics by potters and gallery owners we visited. I have admired and treasured these pots ever since and they remind me of the incredible time I had during my three months exchange visit to Nagoya University, of the generosity and kindness of the people I have met and the rich and varied culture of ceramics I was able to see and experience.(CK)

A bought a fruit bowl by Gordon Murdoch with a crystalline glaze and a green jug by Arwyn Jones. I like functional pieces that I can enjoy using every day. Years ago I made some door handles with crafts people in India. I liked the idea of people touching them every day and coming to take them for granted, (My favorite scene in the film “Amelie” is when she takes revenge by changing a door knob). I would love to own a painting by Fiona Rae.(AM)

8 At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
After my work experience I carried on throwing pots for the couple who ran the pottery during my school holidays. They eventually supported me during a one-year raku project, helped me build my own kiln and generally integrated me into their life. For a time it was great - very different from home – a happy hippy kind of life style with good food, good music, good people and good work (and little money). I also very much respected the way the couple shared their time equally between family commitments of two small kids and work.(CK)

At 15 no style at all, I just liked sitting up trees or on rocks and daydreaming (AM)

9 Last best read ?
‘A Clockwork Orange’ for its crazy, clever and unique use of language and for being shocking, funny and so surprisingly different from anything else I have ever read.(CK)

I am just reading “The God Delusion “ by Richard Dawkins…So much sense and fascination.(AM)

10 How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
I do to a certain extent in order to make a living. This makes my work more repetitive and less creative than I would like it to be. But I don’t make and sell anything I don’t actually like.(CK)

The work I do with Christiane is a combination of what we want and what the market wants we definitely get a buzz from getting that right and are always aware that we have to be continually evolving it; to keep up our own enthusiasm as much as anything else.(AM)

11 Who would you say buys your work?
Predominately females of all ages, including kids sometimes. (CK)
Because a lot of the images are natural objects it seems to appeal across a very broad range of people, old ladies in flowery frocks and indie art students.

I identify most with the buyers we get at the Mid Century Modern Shows, people who like slightly worn modernist design and not shiny new things, thing that you can keep for a long time.(AM)

12 Where and what is your studio?
A small bedroom upstairs with a view over the South Downs and a tiny room downstairs big enough for my kiln.
Working from home is just right at the moment, everything I need to do is in one place, I can look after our little daughter during the day, do whatever needs doing at home, answer the phone and use the internet, pack orders, take orders etc…but most of the work is done in the evening after Lina has gone to bed.
I do really like listening to music in the evening (Marc Lamarr’s ‘Shake Rattle and Roll’ is my all time favourite!). Sometimes I feel the need to stimulate my brain, listen to something interesting and catch up with what’s going on outside my four walls with Radio 4. (CK)

I work all over the house, including Steve and my bedroom, we have computers in 5 rooms of the house (there are 4 of us in the family) but we have had no TV since 1991. We have a large room overlooking the sea called “the Studio” which is kept empty (no computers) and can be converted into a photographic studio, a work shop, a sweat shop, a spare bedroom or whatever as the need arises. In the summer Steve and I take our tea breaks on the sea wall.(AM)

13 What is your favourite website ?
I came across this website not so long ago and thought it was just very nice. (CK)

Wikipedia- everything is there and it has a great ethos and is exactly what the web should be. (AM

14 Surprising activity/hobby?
Cold sea water fish tank, with anemones, prawns,shannies,crabs etc collected on the beach.(AM)

15 Do you have a good work/life balance?
That’s an area I could definitely improve on. Working from home has the well-known downside of never being away from work. I do struggle to get all the work done in the little time that remains after a day with my daughter. Lots of things I fancy doing for myself or as a couple are put on hold for the time being. There does not seem to be a simple solution and it does become an issue now and again.(CK)

Children help, mine are teenagers now, which is great, small children are a lot more time consuming.(AM)

16 Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Of course it has, for everybody that has an understanding and appreciation for it.(CK)

Yes contemplation: it helps people to slow down and look and think.(AM)

17 Are their other (unusual) fields that you'd like to apply some facet of your work into?
Design work is a relatively new thing for me and I am keen to pursue it. I have been relatively single-minded on hand made ceramics for so long. I am teaching myself to use a modelling programme at the moment and this is opening up new was of working that are exciting and relevant to the kind of work I am aiming to do in the future. I am keen to integrate new technologies into the way I work and can’t wait to see some of our current designs for industry in the flesh. (ck)

18 Guilty secret?
I sometimes think that if I had more money I might be less eco friendly, it’s easier to be poor and good.(AM)

19 If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
Gallery Besson in London is a small, beautiful place. Alison pointed out that I would have 16 years to develop my work to reach the average age of the people exhibiting there. (CK)

This is pure fantasy I’d love to curate an exhibition at,the Serpentine, it’s self contained and has layers of memories for me. I worked at St Marys hospital as a student nurse at one side of the park and went to the Royal College at the other side. When I was 7 months pregnant I took part in a performance piece there doing yoga on the floor with lots of other pregnant women.
As I walk towards the gallery across the park I remember some of the past highlights, Anthony Caro, Alison Wilding, Bridget Riley, Gillian Wearing.(AM)

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Thursday, 25 October 2007


Peter Greenhalf: Photography

I’m one of a small number of photographers working today who still print and tone B/W silver gelatin images by hand, in the traditional way. My interest lies in the unpredictability of employing so many toners on each image, because the chemicals always react differently. Each time I develop and tone an image I get a different result. No two photographs can ever be the same: each one is unique.

At present I have my second exhibition of landscape photography running in France. This one is a project exploring the similarities and differences between the two coastlines and is showing at the Marquenterre wildlife centre in Picardy.

In the UK, my latest exhibition at Henry Paddon Contemporary Art runs from 27th October. I’m taking part in the Tunbridge Wells Museum art exhibition from 2nd November and the Rye Art Gallery Christmas show. I’ll also be hosting the Rye Harbour Contemporary Art and Craft Open Studios with jeweller Ruth Praill on the first weekend in December (info@greenhalfphotography

1) Money spent on maps is never wasted because they show you things in the landscape you never knew were there.

2) Favourite living artist ?
Kenro Izu, a man not afraid to carry a 300 pound camera to the top of a mountain in Tibet in order to find a sense of the sacred in his work. I’m also interested in the process Izu uses to create his own palladium-coated paper and his use of 14 x 20 inch negatives.

3) Favourite historical artist?
Edward Weston for his ability to eroticise the simple bell pepper, his skill in bringing out the mysteries of nature and for his little known abilities as an Apache-dancer.

4) What place has inspired you?
Day to day it has to be Sussex because I love the downland and the coastline of this part of England. But Avebury has also been incredibly inspirational. I’ve always been fascinated by Neolithic sites and my photographs of the circle at Avebury really marked the start of my serious exploration of these ancient and sacred places.

5) Who buys your work?
I think what defines the people who buy my landscapes is a sense of individuality; they’re not led by the views of the crowd. Landscape photography is beginning to enjoy a revival at the moment and so my buyers are all pretty astute at spotting an upward trend. They’re also looking for craft and quality above everything else. I print and tone by hand, I cut all my mounts by hand and I have each frame made by local craftsmen to fit each photograph. This level of skill and care is reflected in the finished photograph and that’s what makes them appealing to people who are looking for something more than just an image.

6) Last piece of art purchased? The Wood Pool, an etching by Flora Mc Lachlan. I bought it at the last BAF where Flora had a stand just round the corner. I love this image of a stag drinking at a moonlit pool in the forest. It’s dark and mysterious and full of secrets. I think Flora really catches the sense of magic and the unknown in nature.

7) How do you start a new project?
My projects are all quite measured and slow to come to life. I do a lot of pondering before I start work. I’m not one of these photographers who always carry a camera and never stop shooting. The things that inspire me to take a photo are often quite specific: a particularly graphic intersection of water and land, the way light falls on water, or the movement of clouds.

8) Where and what is your studio?
The whole place is pretty much devoted to photography. I process film downstairs; my studio is the entire middle floor of the building and my dark room is on the top floor. Because the place is so open, it’s easy to convert into a gallery, which I regularly do when I hold open studio events. I’m lucky because I live on the edge of the bird reserve at Rye Harbour and the beach is only a few minutes walk away.

9) How much do you bend your ‘vision’ to suit the market place?
Not at all. Until recently landscape photography was fairly unfashionable, but it’s what fulfils me and so that’s what I do. I think if you try to adapt your style to suit a market, then it’s really obvious and people see through you. I think trying to produce work to please other people instead of yourself makes your work lose most of its integrity.

10) Are there other fields you’d like to apply your work to?
Yes, lots. At present I’m working on several projects. I’m exploring a variety of different printing techniques and the possibilities of hand-made paper using British native plants. I’m also very interested in older techniques that can be given modern applications, such as salt printing, sun printing and cyanotypes.

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Friday, 19 October 2007



Jewellery designer and painter.

My jewellery is a game of inventing something precious in form and meaning from an unexpected material. I work with textile a material of sacred character in my hellenic heritage -- the sacred character is evident both in the uses of the material in the ancient world as well as in the religious ceremonies of the present.

I am inspired by the shapes, colors and motifs of embroidery tradition of Greece, my mother's country of origin. My recent work is inspired by the neolithic figurines and the cuneiforms of the cycladic civilization: white, simple, very basic.

Crafts Council Listing

1 Money spent on education is never wasted;
even if everything is lost, someone who has learnt to use his/her brains will always find a way out.

2 Favourite living artist
Cy Twombly. Because his art is both emotional and rational.

3 One favourite living craft maker?
Rei Kawakubo, although she is not exactly what one thinks of a 'craftswoman', she is a great (fashion and textile) designer and artist.

4 Favourite historical artist ?
Domenicos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) because of his stunning vision: he lives in the 16th century and paints like Cezanne.

5 Favourite historical maker?
The Mycenean jewellers (appr. 18th century BC) for being very contemporary in their designs.

6 Last best read ?
'Twice a stranger' by Bruce Clark on the population exchange between Greece and Turkey in 1923, the first 'ethnic cleansing' in history.

7 How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
I think 'vision' always pays off at the end.

8 How do you set about starting a new project?
I walk a lot; if I lived in ancient Greece or Rome I would have joined the peripatetic school of thought.

9 Are you able to switch off from art work?
I do not think there is a boundary between art and life. What I do is my life; everything is connected.

10 What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

11 Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
Even cavewomen wore jewellery and decorated their caves with murals showing their husbands hunting edible animals. I think art is a mixture of magic, metaphysical hope and vanity.

12 Guilty secret?
I worked as a financial reporter for Reuters News Agency for two years.

13 Most underated artist
Kazimir Malevitch -- he implemented the 'eastern pictoral idiom' in modern art and sketched the directives for all 20th century art movements; he is astonishingly contemporary.

14 If you could exhibit in any gallery which would it be?
Tate Modern

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Thursday, 18 October 2007

Jo Lamb at HQ Gallery

We've seen and very much liked Jo Lamb's work over a number of years notably at the Newhaven Open Houses, and to be honest wished we'd had the money and foresight to buy a painting or two, as now she seems to be hitting the big time concentrating on her paintings and being shown by good galleries such as Todds in Hastings, Zimmer Stewart in Arundel and now a solo show in the lovely modern space of HQ gallery in Lewes. Her work at this exhibition is a combination of paintings inspired by working at Lewes prison with strong geometric shapes, arches and verticals pictorial but almost abstract.

Narrative pictures about leaving her house overlooking the quay in Newhaven and moving to Lewes and pictures featuring her toy robots and other objects. - such as the featured "fluffy visits a fetish party" - see below

We were there for the PV and although as always it was a little too crowded to see the smallish paintings properly a good proportion had the little red dots on them. We hope the show proves to be a sell-out and hope to pop back in for a second look.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Robert Taverner at St Judes

I haven't managed to make it over to St Judes Gallery in Aylsham Norfolk but it does seem to have a lot of good English quality printmaking exhibitions and a terrific blog, also Angie Lewin who owns the gallery with husband Simon Lewin is responsible for the p rints and cards and fabric you see in all the best shops.

Robert Taverner has an exhibition opening on the 20th of October at St Judes. He was head of Printmaking at Eastbourne College of Art and Design from 1953, later becoming vice principal until he retired in 1980. Robert Taverner died in 2004. He has been a favourite at Brighton Art Fair being exhibited - with others - by Emma Mason

He was an illustrator and his prints were used for posters for numerous campaigns for clients such as Shell, the BBC, and London Transport

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Roman Klonek Exhibition

We've been having a unaccustomed sociable/artistic time recently going to multiple private views. Mike and Robert from Castor and Pollux on Brighton Seafront invited us for bloody mary's and bagels - a brunch Private View for Roman Klonex's large, graphic, humourous and enchanting cartoonish woodcuts. He seemed to have sold quite a few whilst hanging the exhibition and a few more went whilst we were there, we even bought one (that what happens when you are given Bloody Mary's at tenthirty in the morning!) but it has to be sent from Dusseldorf so we have a few days to decide where to put it.

I already have a draw full of prints waiting to frame but Roman doesn't like the glass coming between the picture and the viewer and so glues the prints to simple box frames. So that one can go straight up.

The simplicity and strength of the images and the use of the texture of the wood in the printing gives the prints a lovely feel. Roman uses the 'suicide method printing all the colours from a single - (ever cutaway) block. This makes registration easy but must take planning and certainty in what the artist wants to do as mistakes can't be rectified nor colours changed if they don't totally work. They seem to work though. It seems from Mr Klonek's website that he is an illustrator and animator - there seems to be something in the air at the moment that prints, animation and illustration are becoming a little hipper and more accepted in the art world. - It is Ok to have fun.

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Brighton Art Fair 2007

The art fair is over now for another year but it did put me out of blogging action for a few weeks recovering from organising the show, helping Sarah print and exhibit, and then catching up with all the jobs we put on the back burner. The fog is clearing somewhat although we are now into the build-up to the Brighton Craft Fair.

Brighton Art Fair was extremely well received this year, both the public and the artists felt it was the best yet in terms of the range quality and selection of artists. some of the visitors said it was their favorite art fair because it is friendly, the quality is consistently good but with about 150 artists the size isn't too overpowering.

Artists reported that more money than every before was spent at the fair, with visitors prepared to spend more on a single picture than in previous years. For us the organisers it does sometimes feel like throwing a large party - we want all the visitors and the exhibitors to enjoy themselves and the sales to be equally spread throughout the exhibitors, inevitably it isn't ever going to happen and so some exhibitors didn't sell well on the day - but we've heard that for some sales have been impressive in the weeks after the show.

Maxine Sutton's stand
Sarah's and Tessa's space (with a man modeling a Brighton Art Fair goody bag)

The results of the Road Roller printing

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