Tag Archives: creativity

Creative Women in the South West – Janie Burnett-Bleach

After a bit of a break for a work trip away in October, I’m continuing my series of photo essays on creative women in the South-West of the United Kingdom with some images of Janie Burnett-Bleach, a fantastic mixed-media artist who lives in a wonderful nature reserve in Martock, Somerset.

Janie produces mixed media pantings and sells only original works of art, it’s extremely important to her that each piece is completely original and different.  She also makes free-motion embroidered accessories, and teaches arts and crafts mixed media workshops to all ability levels from beginners through to advanced.

I asked Janie when and how she began producing her unique work, she said “I have been crafting or producing art for as long as I can remember, as a child I never wanted to do anything other than be an artist and could always be found surrounded by paper, paint and a wide array of other mediums. After college and university I worked on art in various forms part time whilst working full time until my 40th birthday when I decided I had to take the plunge into full time artist.”

Janies work is inspired by the natural world, in particular the nature reserve where she lives.  She also finds inspiration in the mixture of mediums which she works with, experimenting and mixing them within one picture, creating texture, interesting surfaces and finishes”

“Looking to the future, I plan to continue with my mixed media painting and put an emphasis on teaching others in workshops. I am also working on building a design portfolio in the crafting world where I currently have my own clear stamp range. I work hard to bring the crafting and the art worlds together as very often they are seen as two different entities. I will also be doing some traveling in 2018 to further inform my work and subject matter.

You can follow Janies work on her Facebook page www.facebook.com/janiebboriginals

Creative Women in the South West – Belinda Delany

Continuing my series of images of creative women in the South West is Belinda Delany, a textile designer/maker based in Devon. She uses natural fibres such as merino wool and silk in a beautiful range of colours to make luxurious wraps, wrist warmers and jewellery.  In particular she specialises in Nuno felt, a process where wool fibres are felted onto fine fabrics, such as silk, to create a luxurious fabric.

I asked Belinda where her interest in working with fabrics and fibres began “ I have been interested in textiles since my teenage years when I began to make my own clothes. I began to make felt about five years ago during a fibrecraft course at Bicton College in East Devon” I also asked her what inspires her beautiful work “ I’m really inspired by colour and use a broad palette in my work. I take a lot of photographs of the world around me whether in my garden, on my travels, at an art gallery and use these images as inspiration”

Belinda currently sells her work at craft fairs throughout the year, and you can find her at the following events in the run up to Christmas:

Tavistock Town Hall – 11th November 2017

Knightshayes Court – 17th, 18th & 19th November 2017

Bicton College Christmas Fair – 3rd December 2017

You can follow Belindas work on her Belinda Delany Designs Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/belindadelanydesigns/ and she plans on opening an Etsy shop soon to further promote sales of her amazing work and hopefully reach a broader audience.

Creative Women in the South West – Lynne McDonagh, Copper Lark Studio

Continuing my series on creative women in the South West, I recently photographed Lynne McDonagh, of Copper Lark Studios –  a mixed-media artist working mainly with metals, clay and found objects. She creates jewellery with her own handmade porcelain and Raku fired beads and also produces small ceramic homewares and wall hangings.

You can view some of the images below, and scroll down to read more about Lynnes work.

I asked Lynne how it all started:

I’ve spent more than 20 years Producing mixed-media art work and jewellery, although it’s only in the last few years that I’ve had the courage to pursue my long term dream. I originally studied silversmithing and ceramics back in the 1990s and I totally connected with the alchemy of transforming metal and clay. I would have loved to forge a career in the arts but I needed a regular income to pay the bills. Then, a few years ago, after being made redundant for the second time, I decided it was time for a big change. I booked myself in for refresher courses in silversmithing and ceramics, slowly put my studio together and set about rediscovering my style. Now I’m building my business, Copper Lark Studio, selling jewellery and ceramics on line with Etsy.

What inspires your work?

I’m inspired by natural weathering and I delight in the offbeat, the quirky and irregular. I love ancient artefacts and mysterious objects that are washed on to the shoreline. These things Fire my imagination and connect my art with another passion – history. colour is so important too. I naturally incline towards an earthy, subtle, palette, so living surrounded by sea and green open spaces is a constant inspiration.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to grow my business online. I’m working on my own website which will be launched very soon. I’m also keen on working with retailers and I’d love to get my work accepted by a gallery. I’m also looking at more craft fairs and markets.

You can check out Lynnes stunning work in her Etsy online shop here: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CopperLarkStudio

Creative Women in the South West – Jo Heath, Beespoke of Devon

Next up in my series of photo essays “Creative Women in the South West” is Jo Heath of Beespoke of Devon.  Jo is a fantastically talented woman, and she’s based in Exeter where she creates beautifully fragranced natural wax candles, using both soy and beeswax.  Her candles are a mix of pillar candles, and container candles, using tins, glass and ceramic containers. She also produces fused glass products to complement her candles and the aromatherapy soaps she creates, along with a range of aromatherapy cosmetic creams and oils for men and women.  Click through the photos to see her at work, and scroll down to read more about Jo and her work.  You can see her products over at Beespoke of Devon


I asked Jo how it all started:  “3 years ago I attended a candle making workshop as I wanted to use my aromatherapy knowledge to help my clients benefit from using natural essential oils in their home” and her love of plants and aromatherapy knowledge really shows through in the wonderful blends she creates – the candles smell amazing!

She has recently developed a range of fused glass candle plates and soap dishes to complement her candles and soaps and the inspiration comes from all sorts of places, art galleries, museums, books and online ideas via Pinterest all contribute to new fused glass designs and ideas.  She also finds that lots of trial and error is involved when working with glass and kilns schedules, and Jo sandblasts the glass to give it a beautiful frosted appearance.

In the future Jo is planning to increase the outlets stocking her wonderful products and is currently developing a wholesale enquiry package and creating a new website, and ultimately wants Beespoke of Devon to take over as her main work. www.beespokeofdevon.co.uk

Creative Women in the South West – Carla Taylor, The Mousehole Woolery

I recently visited fibre artist Carla Taylor of the Mousehole Woolery in Dorset, and captured some images of her at work, creating her wool sculptures.

The Mousehole Woolery is nestled in the heart of the Dorset countryside and is the home and studio of fibre artist Carla Taylor, who creates contemporary sustainable wool sculptures inspired by the wildlife and conservation of the British countryside and coastline bringing a little piece of nature to your home. Each sculpture is hand crafted using the technique of needle felting where special barbed needles are used to repeatedly stab and sculpt wool fibres together to form a solid mass. Each sculpture is created with many layers of wool and can therefore take many hours to complete transforming fleece in to a sculptural work of art! As an official supporter of the Campaign for wool, Carla likes to work closely with local Dorset farmers promoting the use of local and British wool and will often refer to conservation awareness within her sculptures as well as incorporating vintage pieces in to her work, reflecting her lifetime passion for collecting antiques, recycling and the history of each piece. Carla exhibits her work at both galleries and contemporary and country shows across the South West as well as running needle felting workshops and is soon to be featured in “Craft It Yourself” on More4 where she shares her love and passion for needle felting and British wool!

I asked Carla how it all started:

It only feels like yesterday that I was rolling fleece in the sunshine of the rolling fields of the beautiful Dorset countryside with the lovely smell and feel of the lanolin on my hands and the beautiful textures and colours of the wool calling out to me to make a connection with the land and use them in a creative way. It was 2013, my partner’s job in farming had brought us to Dorset to a rare breed farm where they had the most beautiful White Park cattle, Hebridean and Portland sheep. It was my first experience of farming but I think I had always been a country girl at heart, always exploring nature on family walks as a child and working with animals throughout my adult life, feeling happier in a pair of wellies walking my dog than I ever did a pretty dress! Our wool at he farm was sent off to the British Wool Marketing Board a wonderful organization that operates a central marketing system for UK fleece wool with the aim of achieving the best possible net return for our farmers but I was surprised at that time to learn that it cost some farmers more to shear each sheep than the return they received for each fleece and that some were in turn occasionally burning their fleeces as they were almost classed as a by-product to the meat. As someone that likes to recycle items I found this a great waste of an undervalued resource and wanted to raise awareness of the topic and showcase British wools versatility, beauty and worth as well as supporting my local farming community. I researched the internet for different uses of wool, came across needle felting, taught myself and the rest as they say is history! The Mousehole Woolery established in the fields of the Dorset countryside!

What inspires your work?

Working with animals throughout my life and living in a farming community in the Dorset countryside provides me with a great source of inspiration for my sculptures as well as incorporating vintage finds of an era past reflecting my lifetime passion for collecting antiques, recycling and the history of each piece. An ammonite collected from a walk along the Jurassic Coast to a magical sighting of a fox cub in the garden can all be sources of inspiration captured on my iPad or camera, recorded as an everlasting mobile reference that I carry with me throughout the ever changing seasons of the year. Conservation awareness is also featured in many of my sculptures as I believe we are all guardians of our beautiful British countryside helping to conserve the wonderful environment that we share with our wildlife for future generations to come. I don’t usually tend to make sketches before I start, I prefer to physically handle objects or visualise images in my mind and then refer to my ever growing beautiful collection of wools, pondering over the colours and textures to inspire me further. Natural, undyed fibres are usually my first choice to work with such as Blue Faced Leicester, Manx Loaghtan or Shetland but I have recently taken a liking to some of the bright Merino variations with silk and dyeing my own locally sourced Dorset wool with natural plants.

What are your plans for the future?

Oh our future plans at The Mousehole Woolery now that’s a great question! We have so many things planned for the future but we couldn’t possibly spill all the beans right now otherwise there would be nothing to look forward to now would there! But if you fancy joining our woolly community and hearing all about our latest news and offers first then please do pop on over to our website at www.themouseholewoolery.co.uk and subscribe to our new monthly newsletter!