Category Archives: Craft-y

Jessica Fortner

Jessica FortnerMeet 20-year-old Jessica Fortner, who runs a charitable business called Transformed Scarves & Accessories.

“I’m slowly becoming a cat lady,” says Jessica. “I rescued the most handsome cat a few months ago – his name is Professor Hotchkiss.” Miaow… Continue reading Jessica Fortner

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Kate Luck

Meet ceramic artist Kate Luck.

Kate is the proud owner of Willow the cat, ‘whose life of luxurious food and sleep I rather envy!’ she adds. She hearts Pina Coladas, musical theatre, gelato, laughing with friends over wine, water sports and holidays to the mountains on North Wales (‘where my grandparents live’).

‘I love living in London,’ concludes Kate, ‘building my own creative life and living my dream!’

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a mould maker and slip caster for ceramic batch production and one off commissions, based in the heart of North London. I’m happiest pottering around in my studio, getting my hands messy, playing with plaster and clay, although I usually end up wearing most of it! I love working with all different kinds of designers and artists, taking their designs and turning them into a 3D ceramic reality.

Since graduating from Central Saint Martins, Ceramics Design BA course in 2009 I have worked for various ceramic designers and artists doing various internships. They have been invaluable in helping and teaching me about commercial creative practises.

With two years worth of experience I decided it was time to step out on my own and in September 2011 Kiss Me Kate Ceramics was born. Since then I have been fortunate enough to have had lots of clients. Each job is different, new and exciting but not without its challenges. It’s that balance that gives me a buzz and makes me want to get up and get straight into work every morning.

What inspires your work?

I have a lot of inspirations! I love flowers, particularly wild flowers. I am inspired by old vintage china, the florals, the colours, the gold lustre, the shapes, the decadence of taking time for tea and cake! I’m a bit obsessed with upcycling and ceramicising (yes that is a made up word) random objects. My biggest inspirations are shape and form. I’ve got a 3D brain so my mind responds to interesting shapes and forms, no matter where they’re found.

What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?

I’ve been very lucky in that I have had several really interesting commissions from making replicas of a vintage Czechoslovakian Face Plaque to making tea sets that are sold at the Oxo Tower. But I think my favourite piece that I’ve produced has been a Porcelain Paper Clay Chandelier [above]. Designed by uber talented lighting designer George Singer, the chandelier is made up of nearly 1000 paper thin porcelain paper clay discs that cascade down over a light source. The play of light and shadow through the translucent porcelain is beautiful. It’s probably the piece I’m most proud of.

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

I’m very fortunate to have a wide network of creative’s who I can count as friends. So, picking one is quite difficult. But I would have to say that my favourite creative has to be Helen Johannessen of Yo Yo Ceramics. Her pieces are functional, beautiful with a strong sense of fun and wit, as well as being so technically complicated!

I worked for Helen for six months as an intern and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done since graduating. Her technical knowledge is unbelievable as is her patience and love of sharing her knowledge. I owe the creation of Kiss Me Kate Ceramics to her, and one day I hope to be just as successful as her.

Read Kate’s blog, ‘like’ her and Tweet her: @KLuck86.

All images © Kate Luck. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.

Loveness Li

Loveness Li

Meet jewellery designer Loveness Li.

Loveness, who is originally from China, enjoys Chinese-style painting, as well as playing the traditional Chinese instrument, the pipa. She also loves Latin dancing, playing hockey, going for runs and many other things, too – find out more below!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I studied a foundation course in Art and Design at Central Saint Martins and am now a Jewellery and Accessories student at Middlesex University. I grow up in a seaport city called Dalian, who’s multicultural environment had a big impact on my life, creating my fascination with western history and culture. That is the reason I choose to come to London to study my BA degree.

What are your inspirations?

The incredible experience that I have had in the UK over the last three years has been the major inspiration for my design works. You can see the elements from Chinese culture with a twist of Western style in much of my work. I enjoy working with metals and combining it with different experimental materials such as, papers, ceramics, sweets etc.

What is your favorite piece of work you have produced?

My favorite piece of work I produced is called Resolution. The inspiration of this piece was the combination of ancient Egyptian Wedjat eyes and light. The sun shines through the coloured sweets and forms colourful shadows on the body. In order to create the ancient aged look of the piece, I heated the copper until it melted to create the interesting shapes. Then using skills of Patination and enamel I added green and red colour on it. The eyes are an extension of the brain, and thus I used food colouring, chocolate, jam, and marmite to create the pattern of veins and nerves in the sweets.

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

I do jewellery design but my favourite ‘ creative’ is German and Swiss painter Paul Klee. He has been variously associated with Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and Abstraction.

Klee was very intensive with music, because of his early exposure to music as a young child. The inspiration from music gave his work lots of movements and he combined it with many different mediums—oil paint, watercolor, ink, pastel, etching, and used many other interesting materials, like canvas, burlap, muslin, linen, gauze, cardboard, metal foils, fabric, wallpaper, and newsprint. As you can see, I often create natural movements using different and unexpected materials in my pieces, as did Klee.

View Loveness’ blog here and Tweet her: @lovenesslee.

All images © Loveness Li. To view the designs in clearer detail, click on them.

Amy Humphreys

Meet Amy Humphreys, founding lady of Amy Allwright Homeware.

When not getting crafty, Amy enjoys cooking (and eating) roast dinners, eating popcorn, going to the theatre, drinking whisky and, er, doing the ironing. ‘Don’t judge me!’ she says. ‘It’s very relaxing – and you can watch a film whilst doing it. Bliss…’

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I recently graduated from Loughborough University, where I studied Printed Textiles.

I now live in Loughborough with my husband Paul and since graduating I started making products for my home – I love sewing as well as designing. Once I’d made myself a beautiful pinny, other people started to ask for similar products for themselves. And so I started making homeware products for friends and family. After six months of doing this, I decided to make a go of it and turn what I love doing into a business. I am now developing my own printed fabrics collection, from which I’ll make my products.

My website has just been launched, which was designed by A Dozen Eggs, who were featured on TYC in February.

What are your inspirations?

I’m a sucker for a good musical, costume, film, theatre, stately homes… I love how these things can create an entire atmosphere, warm and cosy/funny and joyful/classy and nostalgic.

What’s your favourite piece of work you have produced?

I’ve just completed my designs for my first print collection and my favourite design is of town houses in Bath. I love the look of terraced houses and how they can layer up to create a very British looking scene.

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

Teresa Green was one of my original inspirations for seeing how I could turn what I love doing into my career. I like the integrity of her work and the style of her drawing.

Visit Amy’s website and blog; Tweet her, too – @AmyAllwright.

All designs © Amy Humphreys. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.

Stacey Williams

Meet 23-year-old Stacey Williams.

When not working, Stacey loves photography, going to gigs and festivals and walking her 8-month-old Border Terrier puppy.

Read on to find out more about her retro inspirations and more.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am a full-time teacher of Art and Design at an Academy in Sandwell and part-time creator.

I graduated from Staffordshire University in 2009 with a BA Hons in Fine Art where my work  focused mainly on photography but I dabbled with elements of craft throughout.

I am inspired by nostalgia and all things cool and pretty and create jewellery, illustrations, prints and greetings cards under the name Things and Such.

What are your inspirations?

My main inspirations are everyday items from past, I love old forms of communication such as the typewriter or vintage telephones. I still collect vinyl records and listen to new wave so I think I am definitely stuck in the wrong era! I feel my work reflects this but with a modern revamp.

What’s your favourite piece of work you have produced?

I think my favourite piece would have to be my typewriter illustration. I adore house clearance stores and vintage markets and I remember my initial inspiration whenever I see it.

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

I am a huge fan of Robert Rauschenberg. I think his works have given many artists and creators the freedom to explore and amalgamate many materials and techniques and enjoy pieces simply for variety and texture.

Like Stacey on Facebook and visit her shop; Tweet her, too: @EssJayDoubleYou.

All images © Stacey Williams. To view the photographs in clearer detail, click on them.

Jess Heath

G’day, Jess Heath!

When not working on her jewellery business Raffles Bizarre, Jess also loves socialising with friends, watching films (especially horror films) and is also prone to the odd American series – ‘I’ve been known to get through five seasons of shows in a week,’ she tells us. Crumbs…

‘I often encounter people who believe being self-employed is easy or lazy,’ says Jess. ‘Being self-employed is definitely enjoyable – I get to do what I love from the comfort of my own home – but I will usually work 14-hour days and, until recently, seven days a week.’

Read on to find out more about shark-obsessed Jess.

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a 25-year-old Model Design and Special Effects graduate from London.

I’ve been out of university for three years now and am currently running my handmade jewellery business Raffles Bizarre full-time and working as a freelance make-up artist. I love doing anything as long as it is creative so also enjoy illustration, photography, graphic design etc., and through Raffles Bizarre I sell a wide range of jewellery and other accessories such as fascinators and mini top hats. The jewellery I create is very diverse but I am best known for my illustrated pieces and my work created from recycled jewellery and found objects, vintage and modern.

What are your inspirations?

Absolutely anything. I’m always jotting down notes in my phone, ripping out pages of magazines, or snapping photos of things in the street most people would walk straight past. Anything from a pattern to a piece of furniture can be inspiring, I also draw a lot of inspiration from the films I watch and find it particularly motivating to work whilst watching shows such as Project Runway and Project Accessory.

What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?

That’s a really tough question. I think I most enjoy creating some of the more extravagant mixed media pieces in my Queen B collection, however my favourite right now (and the design I wear the most) is probably the Navajo Eagle Necklace.

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

That’s another hard one. An obvious choice would be Tarina Tarantino, she has built up an impeccable brand with completely original designs. Her pieces are instantly recognisable and I think that’s a sure sign you’ve made it, when people spot someone wearing it in the street and know who designed it. Others include Pamela Love, Vivienne Westwood and Betsey Johnson, if I wasn’t a jewellery designer myself I would definately be covered head to toe in their jewels.

Visit Jess’ website, read her blog and say hello on Twitter: @RafflesBizarre.

All designs and images © Jess Heath. To view them in clearer detail, click on them.

Rebecca Higgins

This is Rebecca Higgins, a 21-year-old French and Italian student, who makes – amongst other things – jewellery, notebooks and accessories.

Rebecca likes (in no particular order): teacups, fancy dress, vintage clothes, wicker baskets and sunshine. ‘And flowers!’ she adds. She dislikes fleeces: ‘especially ones with animals on. They’re just…weird.’ We wholeheartedly agree. 

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am currently on a year abroad in Paris as part of my course. I will be returning to university next year, then I hope to go to art college. I have ‘made things’ since I was little, although I have moved on from the cereal packets and egg boxes that were my medium of choice back then! I am a real arts and crafts geek – I have dabbled in so many different crafts, but what I do most at the moment is sewing and working with polymer clay. At uni I do lots of backstage work with the drama societies – I have costumed several shows and helped out with sets and props. I am gradually building up a brand called House of Gingerbread which is an outlet for my polymer clay work. I needed to get rid of some things! ‘Claying’ is addiction once you get started, and short of wearing them all myself, I had nothing to do with all of the things I was producing!

I did my first craft fair last year, which was a great success, and I have a Folksy shop, plus a Facebook fan page. It sells cute and quirky jewellery, accessories, notebooks and buttons. House of Gingerbread is very much a work in progress at the moment, and I am slightly in limbo, being away – but I hope to get on with it full steam ahead when I return home!

What are your inspirations?

I am inspired by so many different things – at the moment I can’t stop reading crafty blogs and watching craft videos on youtube. The Parisian architecture is beautiful, and I hope to try and incorporate some of its themes and features into my work over the summer. I am also inspired by all things English – my greatest love aside from polymer clay is teacups. I have a collection of over 30 vintage and antique ones. I am a great believer in the ‘make do and mend’ philosophy, and I love to make my own clothes. I have a beautiful white lacy dress that I made from a tablecloth! I am inspired by country pursuits and thatched cottages. I have a love of anything slightly ridiculous but adorable – like garden gnomes. I love chintzy floral patterns, although these are difficult to replicate in polymer clay!

What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?

My favourite piece of work I have ever produced is my ‘candy and cakes’ notebook. Unfortunately I no longer have it as it has been sold.

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

My biggest inspiration in the field of polymer clay is Donna Kato, who writes the most amazing books on technique, and the many other folksy sellers out there! In general, my biggest inspiration in the design world has got to be Cath Kidston.

Have a look at Rebecca’s Folksy shop and Tweet her: @fimotothemoon.

All images © Rebecca Higgins. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.