Tag Archives: Photography

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

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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

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!