Following the March event being cancelled due to the snow – I’m delighted to announce that The Blue Magpie Contemporary Craft Fair will be returning to Elmslie over the weekend of July 14th & 15th.
Historically this weekend in July, has for me, always been associated with Art in Action. Given that it won’t be running this year, I felt inspired to expand the fair to both days over that weekend, and (finger’s crossed) with rain being the only weather condition to potentially deal with, I thought we’d include some outside sculptures, to complement the ones we already own and which are in our garden, which is usually not open to the public. So now you can come and admire Hestia – our dragon – close up! And also see the work of Peter King and Claudia Petley of Metalsmiths, whose work also currently sits in our garden, but there will be more available besides to purchase!
With FREE ADMISSION we hope to continue in our mission to promote and support Designer-Makers from around the UK, and to bring to Elmslie – and to you – the very best in Contemporary Art and Craft.
This time we have a total of 24 exhibitors in a mixture of both local makers and some from further afield, some new and some returning faces, but all with one thing in common – they all produce beautiful, original and wonderful work.
Please note – some makers will be here for both Saturday and Sunday – but like previous fairs, some makers will be swapping over – so that some are only exhibiting on Saturday, and others only on Sunday – so it’s the prefect excuse to pop in on both days!
As usual, the bar at Elmslie will be transferred into a cafe for the day, offering a selection of home-made cakes, savouries and light refreshments, teas and coffees throughout the day.
And here are the makers . . . ! Watch out as more will be added over the next few days – but first up is Worcester-based Mercedes Pearson, whose work I first came across last summer:
Artist / Designer
I trained as a Graphic Designer at West Thames College and worked in publishing for many years, designing a variety of magazines and highly illustrated books.
Working with text and images has inspired me to create my artworks. Using acrylics, coloured pencil and collage, each picture is interwoven with text from my favourite poems and stories. Last year I exhibited at The Hive, ‘Every picture tells a story’ as part of Beeline storytelling.
As part of ‘Portfolio 17’, I took part in Worcestershire Open Studios and hope to do so this year. I am involved in a number of design projects; designing booklets, fliers, a community magazine and logos for local organisations. Three years ago I designed the logo for The Worcester Show, an annual event held in Gheluvelt Park in August.
I am available for commissions. See more of Merecedes’ work at:
Information to follow . .
Rhian Wyman Design
Rhian is a young enthusiastic textile designer based in the Royal Forest of Dean. All products are designed, hand woven, darned, washed and tentered by Rhian herself, using traditional techniques throughout. Contemporary designs and colour placements are influenced by Rhian’s interpretation of surrounding environments that she finds inspiring. High quality yarn is sourced from the UK, creating truly British Luxury handmade products.
After graduating with a BA Hons Degree in Textile design, Rhian undertook a year of internships with several established designer makers. This lead to her becoming a weaving assistant for Sioni Rhys Handweavers. This journey helped her to gather techniques, skills and experiences enabling Rhian to design and develop her own brand of high quality woven goods.
Since starting her own product range in March 2017, Rhian has exhibited at Made by Hand, Wales at Cardiff City Hall, Solva Woollen Mill (Pembrokeshire) Christmas Fair 2017 and Made by Hand, at Cheltenham Town Hall.
Ceramics & Textiles
Sarah Nicol is actually a textile designer with a BA (hons) in surface pattern from SCAT in Taunton 1996 and then an MA in textiles from Bath in 2008.
In 2009 she wandered into her partners pottery and asked if she could paint a pot or two. And their little business was born. She painted the design she had been making in her textiles. The mat slip and soft colours echoing the natural dyed linen and wools she favours in her pillows. The original collection was inspired by a two day train journey from LA to Seattle. She drew a 12 metre scroll as the countryside and flashed before her and those quickly noted shapes became simple folk art designs.
In 2016 she started to develop a new range. Fish. Working with fish is been a favourite since she was 12 and was taken on the snorkelling holiday in Kenya. A few years later her art A-level included a two term fish project this set a love of drawing fish into a lifelong passion. The first year of her MA it was dedicated drawing and embroidering fish so, although it came naturally to paint them on the pottery it is only now they are ready to be launched as a range.
At 66 I have finally found a career I like! After years of working in many diverse jobs – teaching, secretarial, bar work and child care to name just a few, I went back to college to learn how to make silver jewellery and fused glass.
I love working with metal – particularly sawing – and I’m inspired by nature and animals.
Luckily, I live in beautiful Herefordshire and spend a lot of my time outdoors, gardening and walking.
Since Claire and I set up Silver Tree Studio, the learning process has continued, as we experiment with new designs and try to fulfil (sometimes challenging!) commissions for our customers.
Having worked in newspapers for most of my life, I wanted a change of career after my daughter was born. I enrolled at Malvern School of Art on their Silversmithing course – something I had always wanted to do! Under the wonderful tuition of Belinda Gilbert, I discovered my passion for working with silver.
I have a love of circles and spirals, which I like to incorporate in my work. They have been used in art and jewellery since ancient times. I like the fact that although I am making new pieces, they have a connection with the past and that it is keeping the tradition of those designs alive – taking them into the future – just as a circle has no beginning and no end.
I also use textures, my favourite being a simple hammered effect, which makes the silver catch the light when it moves. I occasionally add semi precious stones and crystals to my designs but the silver, for me, is always the star of the piece.
I think that creativity flows most freely, when living in an inspirational landscape – I am so lucky to live in Malvern – the hills are amazing. They are different every time you walk on them, depending on the time of day or year and of course, the weather! Who could fail to be inspired by them?
Silver Tree Studio
We have been running Silver Tree Studio at the Fold in Bransford for almost three years now. As well as being our workshop, it is also a space where we display and sell not only our own work but the work of a diverse group of local designer makers.
Our motto is ‘beautiful, handmade, local’ and we aspire to only sell pieces that are all of those things!
All of our pieces are lovingly hand formed in our studio – you can see them being made and ask any questions you may have about the different processes used.
We are happy to undertake commissions and in fact have done over 300 since we opened for business!
Photos coming soon . . .!
Sasha Louise Rae
I live and work in the shadow of the beautiful Malvern Hills, a place which gives me constant inspiration.
I create bold and lively prints of birds and natural forms using simplified images to express character and movement.
my Instagram @sashalouiserae
my etsy store SashaLouiseRaeDesign
Vanessa Miller Jewellery
I’m an independent jewellery designer-maker based in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter. I am alumni of and Artist in Residence at the School of Jewellery, Birmingham. My collections are inspired by nature, the wonders of the world around me and happy, carefree childhood memories. With a smile in mind I design and handcraft unique contemporary, silver jewellery ranging from small charm necklaces and earrings, to larger detailed pendants, brooches and rings; some feature moving elements, others incorporate a small hidden detail. I hand-carve and model unique pieces of jewellery in milliput and cast in precious metals such as silver or gold. My creations are embellished with semi-precious gemstones and fused gold such as the ancient Korean technique of Keum Boo or I add small hand carved gold elements creating unique pieces of wearable jewellery. I sell online, through fairs and galleries locally and nationally; I also work to commission.
I am a porcelain potter. I throw porcelain vessels enriched with oxides and slips that depict the coastlines of my childhood. Inspiration comes from the merging of sea and sky, water and sand. Porcelain is demanding, it encourages intuition and integrity. The combination of inspiration and material drive my work forward, resulting in constant subtle changes. Each pot stands as an individual but it is the culmination of the pieces before that prevent it from being static and promote further development.
I throw porcelain vessels enriched with oxides and slips that explore my fascination with coastlines. Inspiration comes from coastal divisions where the sea leaves traces on the sand in undulating ripples and from the ever changing line between sea and sky.
I make individual pieces alongside groups and small installations. The forms are the landmarks of my childhood. The material I use is versatile and beguiling and I enjoy every aspect of every process from inception to the final ceramic form.
For more than 20 years Jane Hickman has been painting using the Batik technique.This process allows the artist/designer to control coloured dyes when painting on a woven material such as silk or fine cotton. Water based dyes are used in conjunction with hot liquid wax to determine where colours appear in the painting.
In 1986 she set up her studio in the Herefordshire countryside. Since that time she has developed her work and sells through Galleries,Craft Shows and Flower Shows. If you look through the following web pages you will see that her main subject is flowers. Her interest in Flower painting is reflected in her love of gardening.
In the beginning, she sold only original Batik paintings but over the past 20 years she has published a range of greetings cards and a separate range of prints. Her latest venture has involved having her designs printed onto silk, velvet and wool fabric to produce an extensive range of scarves.
Stephanie has a strong focus on clean lines, known for her bold, geometric style, with a sensitive approach to detail from the start to finish of each piece that she creates:
“Inspired by architecture and continuous state through destruction and development, Stephanie’s designs have developed through a process of construction, deconstruction and reconstruction. Attracted to the linear frameworks that create space and pattern, coupled with a fondness for Mathematics, Stephanie’s collections have evolved to create large-scale wearable art structures, and her luxury fine-fashion collections, including her ‘Kite’ series”
Made by hand from her UK based studio, attention to detail and a careful finish are essential in showcasing the bold Geometry and clean lines of every piece created.
0750 660 7251 |firstname.lastname@example.org|www.stephaniebatesdesign.com
Gabi & Nick Ward
Nick and Gabi Ward are designer makers of handmade ceramics. Nick studied Studio Pottery at Harrow School of Art. Gabi studied Textiles and Ceramics at West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham. They went on to design and create work for the international interiors market. In recent years they have returned to their craft origins and are selling their work through galleries. Their current work includes thrown, decorated earthenware using figurative and abstract images inspired by natural form. By using the hand drawn technique of sgraffito and painting the pots with stained slips they achieve a contemporary finish.
They work together in their stone barn in rural Herefordshire
Danielle was born in the rural, market town of Ludlow, Shropshire. Her keen love for woodland walks, has greatly inspired her connection with the natural elements. In turn, informing her three dimensional, material explorations throughout her studies at Ludlow College and Hereford College of Art and Design. Flowers graduated from Cardiff Metropolitan University, School of Art and Design in 2016 with a first class BA (hons) Artist, Designer, Maker, and since has set up as a young entrepreneur in the create industry.
Danielle handcrafts contemporary, wood turned home décor and jewellery, from the rural surrounds of Ludlow, using native timber sustainably felled in Shropshire. Juxtaposing the unique grains of British hardwoods, with raw silver, brass and leather to create timeless statement pieces.
Inspired by the primitive connections and relationship of material and process, encapsulating the transitional state of change between elemental materials; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. Flowers strives to create balance and harmony between material qualities and their aesthetic values. Engaging with the rhythmic and meditative process of woodturning, with the aim of preserving traditional craft processes and highlighting contemporary British craftsmanship.
Printed Textiles and Gifts
My work is inspired by folk art and the Arts & Crafts movement and it combines my love of history, nature and poetic verse.
I produce hand drawn designs which are then screen printed onto fabrics and board to produce a range of decorative objects for the home – each piece is made by my own hands from original designs, to printing, stitching and finishing.
I have been working as a print maker and designer for over 30 years after studying printed textiles at Manchester Polytechnic, working in a textile design studio in London and then running my own greetings card and gift wrap design business. I now enjoy creating objects which satisfy and amuse me and I hope that you like them too.
Now a Shropshire based jeweller, I initially trained as a Graphic Designer, obtaining my degree at the University of Central Lancashire. After working in the industry for several years, I left to travel around Australia and then worked as a Marketing Administrator. During this time, I completed various local evening classes to discover my creative interest lay in Silversmithing.
Silversmithing is my passion, it’s in my blood! I love manipulating metal like my blacksmith ancestors before me; beating silver wire into organic shapes, such as stylised daisies and simplified butterflies, to create my distinctive hammered jewellery. My work includes necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings, sometimes wrought entirely from silver or often combined with freshwater pearls, using the irregular characteristics of the stones to compliment my unique style. My hand-knotted pearl necklaces and bracelets feature my original toggle fastenings which are a distinguishing characteristic of my jewellery.
My passion for jewellery design, recently led me to establish a business called ‘MIST Jewellery’ (inspired by the nickname ‘Misty’ which I acquired in the Australian outback). When I relocated from Lancaster last year, I fulfilled my dreams to become a full-time jeweller with a workshop and gallery in the idyllic Ironbridge Gorge.
Heather Ashworth set up Skipp and Jones, which is a surface pattern design company that specialises in interior product and giftware, in 2017. Heather followed a degree in textile design by working as a surface pattern designer producing designs for both private and commercial customers, from small one-off designs to rug designs that have sold in leading retail stores throughout the UK.
Heather has very broad interests and many things motivate her to design, from the ever-changing seasons in her garden to fabulous architecture and engineering. Many subjects enthral her and the designs for Skipp and Jones reflect this. Heather’s fascination with the brilliants of both natural and manmade structures inform her design work and keeps her work fresh and inspired.
As well as producing products for retail, Heather also provides a bespoke design service, working with both Interior Designers and directly with customers to create exclusive designs to complement their rooms schemes and homes. These designs give a unique twist to a room designs and can be a colour change to the design she already produces or a completely original design created to the customer’s requirements and printed onto fabric or wallpaper.
It is very important to Heather that everything that she sells is printed and manufactured in Britain. As her suppliers are close at hand she can make any adjustments easily and quickly; for instance, Skipp and Jones’ cushions are manufactured in Birmingham, which is only half an hour from the studio.
Born in Herefordshire, Rhys has always had an interest in the creative arts. The main focus of his work is to create something that describes his environment. He has a specific interest in surface and texture and tries to mimic what he sees in his surroundings in his paintings and drawings. He also has an interest in printmaking and has taken a new venture into the linocut process looking primarily at british wildlife.
Graduating from the university of Wolverhampton in 2009 with a BA In 3D design and applied arts Tom Asquith went on to undertake a year long postgraduate programme at the prestigious Bishopsland workshops just outside reading. It was here that he built on and developed on the techniques he learnt at university through the help of technicians and tutors and took part in masterclasses with some the country’s finest silversmiths and jewellers including Rod Kelly, Malcolm Appleby and Jacqueline Mina. After leaving the Bishopsland workshop in 2011 Tom then moved to Birmingham where he set up his workshop in Birminghams historical jewellery quarter where he still works today.
Drawing inspiration from large spectrum of subjects including cell structures, historical military emblems, regalia and architectural forms that have both gothic and Celtic influences, Tom produces award winning ranges of functional silverware and jewellery that explores pattern, line, repetition and geometry executed with precision and attention to detail. By exploring the application of surface decoration Tom hand makes each piece in his jewellery quarter workshop using a variety of techniques such as engraving, saw piercing and chasing adding gemstones and plating to create subtle hints of colour and create focal points for the eye.
After studying furniture and product design I left university and at 22 began working as a designer and maker in the middle of a recession from the cellar of a derelict house in Birmingham.
I began by making rattan furniture and doing some product design work and after a few years had a small workshop with some basic equipment.
In the early years I made a range of furniture and accessories but the clocks attracted most attention and gradually I developed a number of successful designs which were sold to leading galleries and stores in the U.K, Europe, Japan and America. We continued production with a small workforce for over 30 years until last year when my wife and I decided to ‘downsize’ and move to the country.
I now work from a small workshop and continue to design and make clocks on a small scale for sale direct to the public. When you buy a clock you will look at it thousands of times each year and so I aim to produce work that is well considered, well made and with a timeless quality that will continue to appeal.
I have always had an interest in fabrics, threads and paint and have developed a love of art in its widest sense.
Over the years I have dabbled and experimented with many skills and techniques in both paint and textiles. I love the effect paint has on canvas and paper. Likewise I use similar approaches to textiles where I use threads, fabrics and yarns to cover a background like brushstrokes of paint.
I experiment with colour, shape, texture, mixed media and composition to create my pieces of work. I use a variety of recycles fabrics, wool and yarn in my work and find inspiration from nature, landscapes and seascapes.
Daisy Lee Overton
Since graduating from The School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University, Daisy has set up her studio in the heart of Sheffield city centre keeping close to The Peak District where she grew up. The rolling hills of the Peaks with their soft curves and expansive greenery inspire Daisy’s collection of ‘Springtime Florets’ Motivated by her love of contrast and combination she uses a number of metal working processes; fold forming, etching, hammerin g techniques and casting , to create fluid linear works which sit across the con tours of the body as beautiful contemporary jewellery pieces. ‘ I continue to look for ways in which I can develop my work, through visual inspiration from the ever changing contrasts of the world around me and via exploration of different metal working processes.’
Working primarily with silver, Daisy creates these beautifully stylish pieces which are perfect as gifts to commemorate significant milestones such as birthdays, graduations, weddings or even just perfect to treat yourself .
Daisy also works on repairs and bespoke commission pieces and welcomes any enquiries you may have.
Please do contact Daisy on : Tel: 07495 931 839 Email: email@example.com Website: www.daisyleejewels.com