Sunday, 31 October 2010

Naoko Yoshizawa

3.Blue shell necklace Blue Shell Necklace - Japanese paper, oxidised silver


Q So who is Naoko Yoshizawa?

I'm a jeweller, originally from Tokyo, making paper jewellery. The choice of paper stems in part from the native culture of Japan, where paper is used for a variety of crafts, from children's games through to home furnishings, such as doors. It also ties into the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, that is, the beauty of the impermanence of nature. In the West, wabi-sabi is best known through the falling of the cherry blossom, but it permeates much of our traditional culture, from haiku through to flower arrangement through to crafts.


1.Green necklaceJPG Green Necklace - Japanese paper, thread


Q How did you decide to become a maker?

I started off as a jewellery designer: having studied at Hiko Mizuno jewellery college in Tokyo, I took a job as designer at one of the biggest selling mass-production jewellery companies in Japan. After several years, including some at the end of my time there as the sole designer in the company, I decided to move into crafts for a new challenge, using my savings to study jewellery and silversmithing at the Edinburgh College of Art, under Dorothy Hogg.


2.Red&pink necklace Red & Pink Necklace - Japanese paper, thread


Q Where in the world are you based?

I've stayed since 2008 in Singapore, where my husband lectures. Before that, we had a short stay in Cambridge, after leaving Edinburgh.


10.Red round paper pendant Red Round Paper Pendant - Japanese paper, oxidised silver


Q Do you create your work in a studio base or a home base?

In Edinburgh, I was artist in residence at ECA after completing my studies, and could use the facilities there. Since moving to Singapore with our young family, I've found it convenient just to make jewellery at home when the children are asleep!


4.Red shell necklace Red Shell Necklace - Japanese paper, oxidised silver


Q Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?

I sincerely hope that as standards of living worldwide continue to rise over the next century, people will increasingly seek out hand crafted wares rather than solely mass produced ones, as more and more people come to enjoy having individualistic furniture, jewellery, ceramics and so on. Not that there is no role for mass production---clearly there is---but hopefully the two reach a mutually beneficial co-existence.


7.Leaf shape brooches Leaf Shape Brooches - Japanese paper, thread,silver


Q How do you sell and promote your work?

I am exhibiting in several galleries around Europe this Christmas: Lesley Craze Gallery, London,; Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool, ; expo arte, Oslo, paper necklace

Black Paper Necklace - Japanese paper, gold-plating bronze


8.Paper thread necklacePaper Thread Necklace - Japanese paper, thread


Q. What is your working style? 

I find rock music helps me concentrate!


image Pink & Blue Flower Necklace - Japanese paper, oxidised silver


Q  3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...

Don't be shy.

You won't get exhibitions if galleries don't know who you are. Send them your CV, send them pictures of your work.


6.two brooches Two Brooches - Japanese paper, silver


Q Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?

Nel Linssen is a big heroine of mine.

Q What do you do to relax?

I have two children; I don't relax!

9.Large blue paper circle brooch(section)Large Paper Circle Blue Brooch - Japanese paper, silver



Note: All Art Work & Photographs by Naoko Yoshizawa

Monday, 25 October 2010

Karen Akester

clip_image006  Boyracers: Cast figures glass; wood; metal
Q. So who is Karen Akester?
I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1993 with a BA (hon) in Glass. After graduating I gained valuable experience working in a commercial glass factory in Cambridge. A highly pressured environment, it was hard work providing daily hot glass making demonstrations to the general public, however it provided limited creative opportunities and I left to return to Edinburgh. After several years working as an illustrator, I returned to eca graduating in 2002 with a Master of design in Glass. Since then I have continued to work as an artist and a glassmaker, exhibiting in Britain and abroad. Much of my work has been the result of Artist Residencies which can be intense and stimulating and previous fellowships include Wheaton Arts at the Creative Glass Center of America 2003, the Gulbenkian kiln forming residency at North Lands Creative Glass, Caithness 2006 and Edinburgh College of Art Glass department (pt) 2004-2009. 
Q.How did you decide to become a maker?
As a child drawing and making models kept me out of mischief! It has been a natural progression and I can’t imagine doing anything else?
Q. What made you choose the materials that you work with?
I had applied to Edinburgh College of Art to study Illustration and whilst there was introduced to the Glass department. It was amazing, I was so excited by the work I saw and immediately selected it as my ‘second subject’. After the first workshop I was totally inspired and knew that this was something I wanted to learn full time and applied to swap departments. That excitement hasn’t left; I am fascinated by process and materials and find glass an ideal material to exploit as it has so many chameleon qualities. Its unpredictability also means your constantly learning and discovering new things.

  clip_image004Entymology kids: Cast figures glass; leather; metal

Q. If you didn’t work in glass what other medium would take your interest?
Wood, stone, metal my long term plans are to incorporate more of these materials into my work.

Q. What are you currently working on?
I am currently exploring metal casting looking at patination and old tin toys and I am continuing my explorations into pate de verre (glass paste).

Q. Do you have a studio base or a home base?
I model make at home and hire workshop/studio space as and when needed.
Kinder transport: Cast figures glass; wood; metal
Q. Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
I think that Britain has a wealth of talent within the crafts be that glass, ceramics, jewellery, weaving etc but what I find really disappointing is the current attitude towards these disciplines at College, University level. Often cited as lack of funds or applicants, we are witnessing time and again the closure of glass and ceramic departments throughout the UK. With Art colleges opting for a more generic art degree and the freedom to express ideas in any medium… (all fine) the technician will see to the rest?! But what they don’t seem to appreciate is that they are taking away the opportunity to learn valuable skills. The process of making your own work can only have a positive impact on your creativity. If these options aren’t available I think we are really starving future creative industries.I hope that councils, schools and colleges will see the light and start reinvesting in these unique disciplines. 
Q. How do you sell your work?
Through my website exhibitions and more recently through the Bullseye Gallery
Q. What is your working style?
My methods of working are repetitive, labour intensive and meditative. Constantly evolving and changing through the making process the pieces often develop their own narratives, which can be unpredictable and exciting.

Only 2 can play: Cast figures glass; wood; metal

Q. 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...

Q. What inspires your work?
I am a bit of a hoarder, collecting old photographs, toys, fabrics, prints anything that triggers an emotion. In the last few years I have worked on a series of group sculptures where I try to encapsulate a specific moment in time-usually springing from a childhood memory.
Q. Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
It is really difficult to narrow this down to a short list, as there are a lot of people I really admire: Louise Bourgeois; Caravaggio; Michelangelo; Brancusi;
Nicola Hicks; Hussein Chalayan; Vivienne Westwood. (My list could go on and on!)
Q. What do you do to relax?
Watch old movies and read.

 clip_image010Smock dress: Glass

Monday, 18 October 2010

Senufa Salley

1   Fine Silver Pendant - Afro Goddess Series

Q. How did you decide to become a maker?
It was my early twenties (20?) and with the moral support of my husband and with his fabulous sales skills, I found the courage to stand in my truth and try my hand at this craft. We couldn’t afford to send me to school so I sent myself to the library, unleashing a beast. Since I had no idea what I was doing, I did whatever I wanted, learning by making lots of mistakes. I had very low self esteem and many body issues. Creating the work that I did, helped to heal me in a way and helped me to love me exactly the way that I was.

I attracted clients who delighted to see my ‘real women’ earrings and necklaces, and wanted to celebrate ‘woman’ and who wanted to support me as an artist. I also attracted artists who mentored me and loved me like family.

Q. What country do you live in?
Living in Austin, I would say the “country I live in is TEXAS...” (Editors Note: Just in case you don’t know - Austin is in the USA)

Silver, Leather and Turquoise Ring
“totally a work in progress”

Q. Do you have a studio base or a home base?
Currently, my living room serves as my studio....and actually, any flat surface in my house ends up becoming “my studio” I’ve enjoyed studio spaces in a few Art Centres in South Miami and in South Beach for years and years. Being in those environments and having amazing, creative energy around me from the public and from the other artists, plus having my kids, (and me!!) grow up in that environment was priceless.

Sadly, like most run down areas in a city where the artists move in, the people come, the restaurants come, fancy boutiques come, the gap comes, then, viola....rents go through the roof!
3 Bronze Faces - works in progress

Q. What made you choose the materials that you work with?
I’ve transitioned from using only a metal (silver and gold) to working with more organic and softer materials. My love of nature draws me to these materials...woods like ebony, driftwood and cocobolo: seeds and seed pods like tagua and mahogany pods: shells of slow moving snails and turtles.
Now, when I work with metals, I choose to deeply antique silver and bronze, wishing the wearer to feel like they were found in an ancient burial site.

I pick up lots of things on the side of the road (rocks, leaves, twigs, shells, bones, rusted metal). Some things I hunt up sit for years in my studio, staring at me, telling me their secrets and answers to things I’ve known only inside dreams. Sounds super weird, I know, but for me it’s natural. I want there to be some magic now in the materials I choose. Sometimes it’s hard breaking old patterns of work but it’s been extremely rewarding.
4 Bronze Face – Work in progress
“the face is sitting on a vertebrae  ...don't know how it will end”
Q. Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
More and more I see people all over the world taking their craft and showing this passion to the world in their own, unique way. When I was a pup, it was the rare bird that became a success without the help, support, and backing from a gallery. Now the only thing preventing a person to publish and sell directly to their public would be the loss of an internet connection. Not only can you sell your works over the world wide web, but you can connect with your “people” and sell, or just find your like minded people, just as crazy as you, and find connections and support that money (sales) alone cannot buy.

Someone telling me that my work touches them is my wish.

5 Avocado Seeds that i Gourded
“my idea is to have a whole bunch of them cascading as a neck piece...we shall see!

Q. How do you sell your work?
Word of mouth and referrals to my website, and on my etsy shop,

Q. What is your working style?
To be honest, I’m a bit of a mess and very undisciplined in my working style....a bit of a scatter brain! I can be easily distracted by the way something on my bench lays on top of something else, sending me away from what I originally started out to do. That, and being a perfectionist but NOT anal, makes for a very interesting blend of styles! Because I have been happy with pieces made in this falling down the rabbit hole way, I’ve come to just accept the way that I work and have stopped comparing myself to others!

Knowing that some of the ladies and gents who own my work, literally, never take it off, helps me. It helps me while I work, in having that piece NOT be, not about me, but about the person sleeping or showering and cooking with this on, or their lovers or kids associating that jingling sound to their love.

6 Bronze and Silver Earrings - from the Pieces of Prayers Series
“ for my brothers and sisters who believe in the  power of their prayers as they pray for peace for all of us

Q. 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft artist/maker...
Work is problem solving. Love your mistakes. Don’t think you will always know the outcome, and don’t be married to that outcome. Magic happens when you are the channel for whatever has decided to use you to manifest it.

People don’t have to ‘like’ your work for you to have done your can elicit fear and anger and still be a great success/good artist. Plus, not defining yourself by one piece you’ve made has been good advice for me. YOU are the collection of everything you have made and everything you will make. Plus, you are more than your art/craft. You can be a ‘great painter’, but if you beat your wife, I’ll add that tag...this is a great painter/singer/glassblower, that beat his wife”.

Teach and give away what you have learned to someone who wants to learn something from you. Study humans and animals that attract you. Writers and painters and birds and whales...lots of interesting stories in those lives....lots of inspiration too.

Is that more than 3 words?

Sterling Silver Links
“I solder together about 1/2 inch jump rings, then form and hammer them into the heart shapes I like to leave in all the markings from the old anvil I use, making each one love, a little rough around the edges...”

Q. What inspires you?
A sky full of stars.

Wood, Bone and Something from the Sea (Coral?)
“this is one of the pieces that has looked at me, while i contemplate it since as
long as i can remember...”

Q. Who is/are your favourite artist(s)/maker(s)?
That’s a hard one to answer! I’ve fallen inside many a painting, photograph, sculpture, song, movie or a poem...and have been deeply moved.

I love ancient arts from all over the globe. The Africans Arts take my breath away when I see the pyramids and anything carved by those royal hands. I love exploring the jewellery arts made the world over especially b4 electricity came along. For some reason, this intrigues me...cutting stones and bezel settings, polishing gold, casting....smithing and raising metal...all these with no power tools always blows my mind.

I love artists (including writers and musically) who stand outside of their time frame, making something fresh. A small taste of these lovelies would include Virginia Wolf, Julia Cameron, Paul Robeson, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, James Baldwin, Eugene O’Neil, Zora Neal Hurston, Josephine Baker, Henry Theroux, Dale Chihuly, Saul Williams, Salvador Dali, Jenny Holzer, Guillermo Gonzalez, Brother Bob Marley, Nil Lara, Charles Loloma, Patty Smith, Stanislaw Szukalski, Buelah Ecton Woodard, Audre Lorde and Andy Goldsworthy.

One of the features I do love on etsy is their hearts/favourites page. There are lots’ of fresh new artists there that I have hearted. When I see artists that I like and then see their favs, it’s the dance that goes on and on. I am in the process of adding more artists’ web sites to my links page too.

I have to add my parents to this list. I grew up with my mom’s sculptures all around me. To this day, I can look at one of her pieces and still be deeply moved by its power.

My dad  is one of the most amazing painters I have ever seen. That said, he still gets the wife beater tag. It always amazes me how some the world’s most creative and talented people can swim inside dark deep waters and still create works to make us and help us, the viewer, see and feel something new and even wondrous.

Bronze and Silver Earrings - from the Pieces of Prayers Series
“for my brothers and sisters who believe in the power of their prayers as they pray for peace for all of us”
Q. You walk into your bathroom and see a crocodile in the bath tub....what would you do?
Because I would probably shit myself, I’ll choose another question, thank you!!!! I grew up in south Florida, and these buggers were in your tubs, and lawns, eating little Muffie the Poodle.....

…….OK here is another question  - What do you do to relax?
I re-read books that I love. Right now I’m reading Keri Holmes, the Bone People.

Senufa Salley
“me in my studio in the early 90s on south beach...oh the days!!! “

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Jay Anderson

Cute Scottie Dog Card 5 x 7 Illustration

Cute Scottie Dog - Card illustration

Q. How did you decide to become a maker?
I think it’s always been in my blood – perhaps it’s because I grew up with Mums and Grans (editors note: Grans = Grandmothers) who made everything from Christmas decorations to toffee apples.

Q. What made you choose the materials that you work with?
I work very intuitively and get quite involved with a project and materials that relate to it and then I’ll take up something new that my mind’s been mulling over for a long time. I think a lot before I do any work and then I leave it to my intuition. 


Kirsty Cat - Fun Card Illustration

Q. Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
I’ll begin by saying I’d like to be an optimist about there being a resurgence towards applied arts. In some of the art colleges crafts / applied arts, I feel, have not been given the gravitas behind them that other disciplines get. For example, ceramics, furniture and certain forms of textiles are being ‘rationalised’ within the art college syllabus whether it’s for health & safety reasons, costs or lack of uptake. But you won’t get an uptake if there is a lack of facilities and opportunities at school level. If it’s not recognised then the need for crafts and applied arts becomes an ever-decreasing circle that’s self-perpetuating. It’s a bit sad really, if there’s less and less engagement to develop these skills at an early age and there’s less and less places available to progress to … well the rest is as we see it today.

My final observation is the lack of inheriting craft skills from previous generations. It was a natural process – people (mostly women) made things whether out of necessity or cost factors and children learned from their mothers and grandmothers. This doesn’t happen as much now - the average person now lives in a cheap quick mass produced world or uses their free time with gadgets (and I’m thinking TV, computers etc) that take them away from the need to create. I understand why this is so, as we know, women’s roles have changed dramatically in the last 20/30/40 years. Most are in some form of employment so it’s difficult to free up the time or have the mental energy or the money to be a maker let alone a professional one.

However, I do see a development from small pockets of creatives (whether trained or self taught) who are pulling together, not unlike a cooperative, and are beginning to make head roads into establishing coordinated events that may drive people into taking up the need to make and create. We need to have environments like Greenwich Market in the cities and major towns of Scotland. I shall now take a deep breath and get off my soapbox! Long live the makers!

Original Mixed Media Collage Modern Artwork 21 x 22.5 cm
The Outsider – Mixed Media Collage

Q. How do you sell your work?
I sell work through various sources as I have only just begun to ‘do it for myself’ so I use Etsy, as well as I’m building some connections with independent shops in Glasgow, Edinburgh and locally in Fife and am about to embark on my first craft fair in Edinburgh through The Spider and The Fly

Q. What is your working style?
It changes all the time. I’ve done some commissions where I’ve created expressionist/abstract works of art and then I’m using the finest fine line pen to work on great detail. At the moment I’m enjoying clean illustrations with limited colours as well as deciding to make a rabbit and finish off my stencil artwork based on a Russian bear and Communism. Working style hmmmm… a bit mixed really!

Original Mixed Media Collage Modern Artwork 15 x 15 cm
Moon 3 – Mixed Media Collage

Q. 3 words of advice for an aspiring Craft maker...
Believe in what you do
Don’t wait for tomorrow
Be true to yourself

1970's Original Vintage Gouache Painting Strawberry Theme Design 22 x 28.5 cm
Strawberry Textile Design – Gouache & Cartridge Paper

Q. What inspires you?
That’s a hard one to answer because it’s so eclectic. The last exhibition that inspired me was the Charles Avery at Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. I love Andrew Joyce’s work at the moment. I love seeing my friends’ work. Loving Swoon at the moment too. But it can be a photograph or a texture or a conversation …….

Q. Who is your favourite artist/maker?
Too many to list … I’ve already mentioned Swoon but I find it very hard to name one or two.

original OOAK silk fabric artwork
Take Me – Silk Screen Print on Silk Fabric Using

Q. You walk into your bathroom and see a crocodile in the bath tub....what would you do?
How do you know I have a crocodile in my bathroom????! I say ‘good morning’ of course!!!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Hazel Terry

Q. How did you decide to become a maker?
I have always been a maker since I was in my early teens, my first job was at a pottery, painting on glazes, and then I worked at a craft centre demonstrating silkscreen printmaking, ceramics, candle making amongst many other craft techniques. I always loved making my own clothes and things, maybe its part of an all consuming desire to be independent, capable and strong, it is incredibly satisfying and life affirming.


Q. What made you choose the materials that you work with?
I don’t have any fixed media that I use. I qualified as a painter so this is my preferred media, but I also studied Fine Craft Design, which included jewellery, ceramics and textiles. So I do move between media. A lot of the work that I do with my students is in animation, mixed media, Paper Mache and other recyclables. However more and more I like textiles but this can change to printmaking, collage and numerous other mediums. I switch between the desire to make very functional objects and the need to make things that are flippant, fun or just art.

Chicken Lady

Q. Crafts in the 21st Century – what does this mean to you?
We now use so many materials in our creation of craft and this is evolving all of the time. We have quick, short lived movements in craft and art; this reflects the speed of our culture and communication, it is an interesting time. Increasingly I have concerns about the de-skilling of our art education. Art schools are losing traditional craft specialism; an example of this is Edinburgh Art College’s recent disbandment of their tapestry course. Glasgow School of Art, following Edinburgh and Dundee, will no longer be running a ceramics degree after the current academic year. Once we have lost these courses their equipment and specialist, craft practitioner, lecturers it is very difficult to reinstate them, and these skilled crafts are not available to future generations. I am sure that this trait in Scotland is being replicated throughout Britain and many other countries worldwide.
Kath’s Birthday Brooches (Kath is a Barber)

Q. How do you sell your work?
I occasionally participate in exhibitions, I am approached privately and I also have etsy and DaWanda shops.
Nettle Beer

Q. What is your working style?
My mind has to be clear, so everything else has to be done first. That includes all the cleaning, kids in bed, no outstanding work and a clear workspace. Unfortunately these days I need a clear idea of what I am going to do. This is a problem, I watch my daughter, she just lets loose on the paper and it works, she has no inhibitions. Maybe it’s because time is so limited for me, I want to know whatever I am working on is going to work out. I know that this is a mistake and it is a problem that I need to address, I need to play more often.
Super Soft – Appliqué

Q.   Three words of advice for an aspiring Craft maker...
Constantly evolve.
Learn new skills.
Get a partner who is good at all aspects of business!

Q. What inspires you?
Everything inspires me, but mainly my family, nature and fun.
Rosehip Syrup – Appliqué

Q. Who is your favourite artist/maker?
Oswald Flump is one of many, many artists and makers whose work I love.
Untitled – Altered Leaves

Q. You walk into your bathroom and see a crocodile in the bath tub....what would you do?
Check it’s got enough water and food; probably go to the fishmongers and by some fish for it!


You can check out Hazel’s blog and photos of her work at the following addresses: