Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Some of our favourite photos

We recently spent a couple of excellent mornings with Hebden Bridge photographer Sarah Mason.  We were looking to improve the quality of our product and website images, and had heard about Sarah's fabulous reputation.  So we took the plunge!

Our first session was spent with Sarah taking a range of product shots.  We love the Swedish Blue paint that we now have our craft fair stand painted in, so decided to go with this as our background.

Here are a few of our favourites:

Salt and pepper pots and jewellery box in the background

Silver stars mustard pot

And red lantern tealight holder

During our second morning Sarah artistically set up an amazing collection of lifestyle shots.  She had Sue and I rummaging in the pantry, fridge and bread bin for mustard, chutney, cheese, gerkins and pickled onions..

Then it was into the bathroom

Next the bedroom

And finally the lounge

Sarah took some cracking shots for us, and has inspired us to new heights of creativity in our presentation!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Art Market

It's that time of year again when we step outside the snug workshop and take Sue's work to art and craft fairs. Last weekend, our first fair of six in the crazy run up to Christmas, we were at The Art Market in Holmfirth.

We love this fair as the standard of work is high and the range is so diverse.  Visitors come in droves and are really friendly and appreciative.  

Sue's tree decs went down a storm, so much so that she was up till midnight on Monday making 134 more for Art in Clay, Farnham which is on the 17th and 18th November.  

The red lantern range was pretty popular too, especially the salt and pepper sets and budvases (both now on Sue's making list for next week!).

It was really inspiring to spend the weekend with Brendan Hesmondhaigh and Samantha Bryan - 2 amazing artists I have huge admiration for.  

Brendan's stunning sculptures....

Samantha with her fairy friends...

Another 50 selected artists will be exhibiting and selling their work at the Holmfirth Art Market on Saturday 10th Nov between 8pm - 10pm and all day Sunday 11th 10 - 4pm.  It's definitely worth a visit! 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Holmfirth Art Market

This time last weekend we were in the middle of the buzzy Holmfirth Art Market, enjoying the one sunny day in a month surrounded by wonderfully original contemporary art and craft.  It certainly brought out the punters, and the atmosphere was really upbeat.

So here it is...

We were really chuffed with the look of our stand and new work, not to mention the fabulous display of flowers picked from our garden that very morning.

New look stand...

Anemone design pots with astrantia....

and turquoise lamp post design vases with aquilegia.

We were surrounded by lots of makers and designers who we hadn't met before, displaying a diverse range of truly inspirational work.
Here's a sample of their talent......

Ann Davies makes whimsical figures and exquisite collages.

Lucy Gell is an illustrator and printmaker with an amazing display of humorous prints.

Tamsin Fazan creates stunning colourful lighting

and Oonagh Corr makes curious birds and angels from wire and paper.

Also our good ceramic chum Michelle Freemantle of Creatively Occupied was there, and she won the award for the best presented stand - well done girl!

For those of you who missed the market last weekend there is another Holmfirth Art Market on Sunday 24th June with 50 more talented makers displaying and selling their original handmade art and craft..

Meanwhile we will be at Rufford Park next weekend from Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th June exhibiting at the big international ceramic fair called Earth and Fire.  This is an outside event, so keep everything crossed for good weather.  May see you there!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Saltaire Arts Trail - part 2

Saltaire Arts Trail is really one not to miss - get it in your diary for next year.

The town was heaving with artists, kids decorating ducks and building dens, visitors gasping at the range of work on show, and even the chap at the petrol station was delighted with the weekend sales

Here's a taster.......

A strange flock, raft, paddle or whatever of ducks

These are a few of the 6500 visitors......

and one of the famous Saltaire lions having been yarn bombed!

Here's a small selection of the diverse range of art and craft at the Makers' Fair in Victoria Hall.

Helen Button makes beautiful porcelain tableware

Leigh Shepherd creates unique jewellery made using upcycled tiles finished with resin

Julia Batley at Teazle handmade, makes gorgeous leather handbags lined with liberty fabrics and other accessories

Dear Emma Designs produces a wonderful range of products - all include her original applique and freehand embroidery designs with vintage fabrics

Jo Whitehead at Glassprimitif creates kiln fused glass tableware, jewellery and gifts in vibrant and bold colours

and here's one of our stand with me sorting out the salt spoons......

and here's one of Sue making an exhibition of herself......again!

A huge thanks to the organisers of the event, especially Paula Perrins at Wychury whose beautiful unique hand crafted textiles are inspired by the natural world...

and thanks to all the brave souls who opened their houses to hoards of art lovers.

A reminder, put the 24th - 27th May 2013 in your diary now!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Saltaire Arts Trail

Not long to go now before the Saltaire Arts Trail on 5th - 7th May and we're really looking forward to our first fair of the year.  If it's anything like last year, it will be a weekend packed with contemporary art and craft, activities for the kids and even the odd opportunity for tea and buns!

Sue will be exhibiting at the Makers' Fair in Victoria Hall where she will be one of 60 designer / makers showing and selling a range of handmade ceramics, textiles, glass, jewellery and homewares.  Sue will also be demonstrating the craft of constructing and decorating her delicate porcelain boxes, so come along and watch her in action!

Once again the residents of Saltaire's historic village will be opening their houses to the public, playing host to  exhibitions of original artwork by another 60 new and established artists.  Download a map and follow the trail.

And you are only 5 minutes walk away from  Salt's Mill which today houses one of the largest collections of David Hockney, along with other gallery spaces, a fantastic bookshop, homewares and furniture shops, as well as cafes and restaurants.


Sunday, 8 April 2012

A Tonic on the North Norfolk Coast

I have just returned from a fantastic week on the North Norfolk coast where I visited some of my most treasured places and spent time walking, beach combing, visiting galleries and whiling away the time drinking coffee in cafés.  I feel really lucky to have spent my childhood in this area and I am always inspired and energised when I return from this distinct landscape.

The week began with a lovely walk in the sunshine around Castle Rising where I lived from the age of nine. It's an historic village with a famous Norman Castle, a Trinity Hospital, quaint carstone cottages and with a population of only 225.  Not much there for a teenager searching for the bright lights and night life, but I now appreciate the beauty and tranquility of my home village.   

It wasn't only me that was enjoying the weather!

The next day we headed inland to Norwich spending most of the day wandering the streets of the Cathedral Quarter. One of the most famous areas here is Elm Hill, a medieval cobbled street, once home to merchants, craftspeople and civic dignitaries. Today it is full of galleries, individual shops and cafés. 

The weather was even warm enough to have lunch outside! 

The rest of the week was spent at various locations along the coast from Hunstanton to Sheringham, taking advantage of the amazing spring weather (at least most of the time!) and the sea air.

There is a lovely coastal walk between Hunstanton and Old Hunstanton which has an amazing backdrop of sand dunes, unique cliffs made up of chalk, red chalk and carstone (a gritty sandstone), and seaweed-covered rocks. 

The best beach combing and rock pooling ever! 

In contrast to Hunstanton, further along the coast is one of the most unspoilt and beautiful stretches of white sand at Holkham. You may have seen this beach unknowingly when Gwyneth Paltrow walked across the sand at low tide during the closing scenes of Shakespeare in Love

We walked through pine trees before getting to the dunes, where we had a picnic with lashings of ginger beer! 

Next along the coast we stopped at Wells-next-the-Sea, a small seaside town where beach huts sell for £60,000! 

The famous windmill at Cley-next-the-Sea and the flint faced cottages are a real draw for visitors wishing to get a flavour of the typical north Norfolk coast.  There is a great gallery too called, appropriately, Made in Cley, as well as the Pinkfoot Gallery, a smokehouse and a fabulous deli, Picnic Fayre

It was a great opportunity to hand deliver some of Sue's new work to the Appleyard Gallery in Holt, which was just in time for their spring exhibition.  One of the main artists displaying her work was Nicola Hart, who  produces beautiful wildlife collages by applying layers of collage made of different colours and textures. They are stunning.  Holt is lovely Georgian town three miles inland from the sea, characterised by antique shops, galleries and independent shops. 

A visit to Burnham Market (or Chelsea-on-Sea as it is whimsically known) is always worthwhile, especially as there was an Alice Scrutton exhibition at the Fairfax Gallery showing her exquisite North Norfolk seascapes.  She captures the amazing light of the wide skies and coastlines using a subtle palette.  Another gallery worth a visit is the Grapevine Gallery exhibiting a range of contemporary art and craft.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Sue has been struggling with taking photos of her work for what seems like years.  The high gloss glaze, the perfect squares and the white porcelain; a difficult combination for even a professional photographer!

Two years ago we had some beautiful product shots taken, but work moves on, and these designs and images are no longer current.  If  we are going to venture into the on-line world, taking good photographs is something Sue has to crack!

Sue has a notice board in her workshop filled with inspirational quotes (I will introduce you to it in another post), and one of these is "We learn to do something by doing it.  There is no other way". by John Holt, an American author and educator.

There is no doubt in my mind that practising this motto has led to Sue's ability to make beautiful ceramics.  So it is time for her to get over her fear and throw ourselves into another area of the business.

Our friends Hannah Nunn, who makes paper cut lighting and owns Radiance, a beautiful lighting and craft boutique in Hebden Bridge, and her partner Robert Currey of Ahand, gave us lots of helpful advice and encouragement.  Armed with that, Sue bought a new camera, a few photography accessories to try, found some bits of what we call 'fluff' ie pebbles, seeds etc and locked herself in an attic bedroom for two days. And so the fun began!

There is nothing quite like doing the same thing over and over again with minute changes each time.  And of course, when you're trying to control the light, there are so many other factors to contend with.. Now not all of the shots looked like they had been taken by a professional, and Sue was certainly grateful for the camera delete button, but here are a selection of some of our favourites.

The mustard box has always been one of Sue's most pleasing shapes and this red lamps design is Sue's latest.

These little silver star tealight holders do sparkle, but it is not always easy to capture this on the photo.  But we were getting somewhere.....

And I think the strategically placed pebbles give the beach hut range a seaside feel.

As you can imagine, there was quite a lot of huffing and puffing, but on the whole after an intensive period, Sue had made great progress, and her determination was starting to pay off.

Watch this space over the coming months as I share more photos with you, and if anyone has got any tips for taking photos of work, then I'd love to hear from you!