Tag Archives: Photography

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

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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

Lacock Abbey visit

The problem with self-employment is that if you’re not careful you can find yourself feeling like you can’t stop – if you’re not working, then you’re marketing and doing all the admin that comes with running a business.  So I made a decision the other week that I would take a day off, and actual full day off, on a weekday too, and took myself off on a day trip out.  It wasn’t totally a day off from photography though as I decided to take a trip to Lacock Abbey and village, near Chippenham, which is the place where William Henry Fox Talbot produced one of the first (if not the first) photographic negative. Although I’ve been a photographer now for nearly 20 (yes, 20!) years, I’ve never got around to visiting Lacock, and as I now live around an hours drive away it was time I made the trip.

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The Latticed Window – replica camera and negative

Lacock Abbey was the family home of William Henry Fox Talbot, and is now owned and maintained by the National Trust.  Inside the main entrance there is a fascinating small museum dedicated to Fox Talbot and the early days of photography – I found it interesting to hear that he started his experiments in capturing and image due to the fact that he couldn’t draw or paint as well as his wife and daughter.  I also got into photography as I’m 03102017-Lacock Abbey-004pretty rubbish at drawing, so photography is one way of creating without having to try and learn to paint! The museum also holds some interesting items and images related to photography over the years since Fox Talbot created his images, including a gold Nikon camera!

Whilst I was there, there was also an exhibition upstairs in the museum entiled “Drawn to the Land” with images by Sophie Gerrard, documenting 6 women living and working in the most remote parts of Scotland. Some stunning images, and I ended up chatting to a lovely couple and giving them a few hints and tips on photography whilst we wandered around looking at Sophies images 🙂

Wandering around the Abbey, it’s a beautiful place, and of course the part I really wanted to see was the lattice window, made famous as the subject of the oldest negative in existence.

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It was very strange to be stood in the same spot as Fox Talbot, and to think that if this invention had turned out differently, who knows what job I would be doing, and to think that from this point back in 1835, came the life of images we have today. Photography and all things that have evolved from it have advanced so rapidly, this photo below (grabbed quickly on my mobile phone) is an interesting representation of who far we’ve come, we take so many more photos in 30 seconds, than were taken in the whole of the 1800’s.  Everyone has a camera in their pocket, and the quality is getting better with each new phone that comes out.  The photo below was taken on my Samsung Galaxy S6 phone – not bad, eh?

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It was quite something standing there, looking at the same window, and taking the same photo that was taken all those years ago.

The Abbey itself is such a lovely place, there’s so much to see, not only the furnished family rooms, but also the unfurnished abbey rooms, which open out into the cloisters.  I found it interesting, reading some of the signs around the place, that some of the external walls were taken out in the 1800’s to create a romantic ruin which opened up onto the main grounds. These walls have since been replaced, but I can imagine how beautiful it must have all looked.

After a walk around the Abbey itself I also took a stroll through the grounds, which were looking beautiful as all the crocus were coming out, the daffodils and snowdrops were still around just about.  There were signs that in a few weeks it could be bluebell central – maybe I should book myself another day off!

Below are a couple of panoramas I shot whilst there, well worth a quick spin!