“My work is related to the landscape: an emotional response to places I know intimately having walked and sketched them numerous times”.
What is it that attracts you to the art you love? Is it the colours, the texture, the escapism of a dreamy landscape or the bold lines of abstraction? For those who are fans of Lisa Burrow's art the answer is simple: it's the family dog.
“In drawing, I am attempting to understand three-dimensionality in terms of shape, line and tone. I use drawing to negotiate and comprehend the visual world. I am attempting to make an objective record of what is seen. Each drawing is a response, made with self-imposed restrictions, to my concrete surroundings, to a chosen field of vision.”
It’s hard to find a USP in today’s over saturated consumerscape but furniture maker Giles Grover has managed to do just that. “I’ve been designing and making for the past 20-30 years for my family and friends so none of this is new to me but what is new is the process of making a maquette first,” explains Grover who first crafts a 1/5 scale model of the commissioned piece so that the client can play around with it before he makes the full-sized version.
Do you or your interiors need cheering up? Then let Sarah Waterhouse come to the rescue with her new collection of fabrics inspired by ‘the hundreds of houseplants' she has at home. “My work is usually inspired by nature or the architecture around Sheffield but I’d never done anything about nature indoors before so I thought I’d give it a try.”
“I use red earthenware; the most abundant clay on the earth’s surface. Through its formation process the clay travels through glaciers, rivers and streams; breaking down and picking up oxides and detritus that provide its rich colour and low firing properties,” explains Victoria Dawes about the very thing that all true makers are passionate about: raw materials.
Ross Gilbertson’s studio is quite unlike any other at Yorkshire Art Space. An eccentric hybrid of carpenter’s workshop, sculptor’s atelier and mad scientist’s laboratory, it is filled with metamorphosing creatures (a lot of them half-man, half-dragonfly) cast in bronze, and human forms emerging from polished concrete eggs. Even his ‘classical’ furniture has a Steampunk subversiveness to it: Georgian hanging corner cupboards are crafted from gleaming copper or cast from iron.
Wanting an alternative to traditional ‘brown’ furniture or the kind of generic white flat pack stuff that nobody really cares for? Look no further than Anna Childs whose use of Valchromat (a high performance wood fibre panel that comes in lots of lovely different colours) in her signature leaning shelf unit means that you can have a splash of aubergine, orange and petrol-blue with your sustainably sourced oak.
“You might not know but Sheffield City Council has just declared a Climate Emergency and is working towards becoming a zero-carbon city by the end of the next decade,” says Sadie Renwick by way of explaining the inspiration behind her current work-in-progress: a massive canvas about the hierarchy within nature called ‘Top of the Food Chain’.
“I have two different ranges of work: my resin and silver jewellery inspired by nature and great painters such as Monet and Klimt and then there’s the contour map-inspired pieces,” explains Clifford of her burgeoning contemporary metalworking empire. “For Art in the Home, I will be making a piece of wall art and some jewellery from the Contour Map Collection range.”
As beautiful as it is practical, John Thatcher’s furniture has a common sense quality that is the hallmark of all successful design. Take his Tripos range of stools and low tables: originally inspired by an antique Chinese stool, the three legs and rails of each piece meet in an equilateral triangle formed by half-lap joints giving the functional, timeless design of these pieces a modern, graphic edge.
“My work encourages people to pick it up and interact with it,” says the Ghana-born Sheffield-based silversmith Francisca Onumah of her vessels, vases and tumblers that all bear the scars of her fascination with mark making.
“My background is actually in fine art/painting but I was always interested in fragrance. I investigated how to translate still life paintings into a fragrance experience by using food to make paints,” explains ‘Perfumer of the People’ Michael Borkowsky who then hit upon the idea of making perfume that acted as ‘portraits’ of other artists.
Henk Littlewood was surely always destined to be a master carpenter. Try saying his name — HENK! — without sounding like you’re summoning an imaginary viking god of wood. And then there is the coincidental symbolism of his surname.
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Kandy Diamond (yes, that’s her real name) is to knitting what The Sex Pistols were to popular music. Fantastically irreverent, her adventures in knitted textiles are a two-finger salute to the polite twinset-and-pearls brigade and push the boundaries of her craft.
“What I’m really interested in is the body and its relationship to ceramics because ceramics are an important part of our everyday life,” says Kate Langrish Smith explaining that every time we nip to the loo or make a cuppa or plate-up some food our body is coming into intimate contact with ceramics.
Sheffield is a better place for having Carla Murdoch Ceramics in it. The Hillsborough-born lass, who has recently returned home after a stint teaching in Lichfield, proves that there is beauty to be found in the functional… and that studio pottery can be really cool.
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The sheer diversity of skills, styles and inspiration starting points amongst Yorkshire Art Space creatives is astonishing. For some it’s the beauty of nature, for others it’s the materials themselves. For Brian Daines it's ‘the impact of the hidden, whether it be in the unconscious, in past history or somewhere in the present’.