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Bristol and Somerset makers amongst the best

  • Date: 22 September 2011
  • Area: South West
Rebecca Coles' butterflies

Rebecca Coles' butterflies. Credit: Rebecca Coles

Craftspeople from Bristol and Somerset are amongst the best British and international makers exhibiting their crafts at Origin: The Contemporary Craft Fair.

Origin takes place at Old Spitalfields Market and runs until 28 September 2011. It offers a rare opportunity to see and buy high quality, original craft from over 200 top class makers. Disciplines include ceramics, furniture, metalwork, glass, fashion accessories, jewellery and knitwear.

Bath based Anne Selby makes luxurious stoles, boas and scarves in silk. She uses a variety of techniques, including arashi shibori, and has invented a machine to help her create her work. The Compleat TMmachine will pleat multiple layers, providing high levels of control and precision.

The machine allows Anne, and other users, to place colour on top of the pleats allowing more creative freedom and expression with the design. The award-winning machine has been so successful that its use has been adopted worldwide, with future developments including Hermes, Hugo Boss and Louis Vuitton.

Jessica Turrell works from her studio in Bristol where she uses vitreous enamel and etched copper techniques to make jewellery and wall panels.

Jessica's delicate work is inspired by text, photographs and memory. Jessica said:
"I'm inspired by the poignancy of abandoned photos that no longer connect with their history. I write text about the photos and use shadow and interference to break up the legibility of the text."

Paper artist Rebecca Coles is based in Frome. Her work is inspired by entomological cataloguing and display. Rebecca creates hundreds of butterflies, hand cut from paper.

Rebecca said:
"I am fascinated with the process by which three-dimensional decorative forms materialise out of flat sheets of paper. By deconstructing various paper ephemera I create unique works of art."

"Each shape is hand drawn and then intricately cut from carefully selected paper. I dissect small details of colour, imagery and text into silhouettes that are then re-sculptured, pinned and encased. My aim is to transform an everyday object into a piece of work that invites the viewer to see beyond its original source."

Bristol born SophieWoodrow is also inspired by natural history and works with clay to create sculptures of creatures that might have existed in this world.

Sophie uses our continually shifting theories of evolution and has been influenced by the misinterpretations of geological evidence made by the Victorians.

Sophie said:
"My work has been informed by an interest in the Victorians as the first generation who chose to define nature in opposition to what is human. In a spirit of wild curiosity, tinged with fear, the Victorians idolised nature, 'packaging' it into highly romanticised, palatable works of art. Our modern-day understanding is very different, so that we now interpret much Victorian art as 'unnatural' or kitsch." 

Stephanie Wooster is a textiles designer maker based in Bristol. Working primarily with knit, Stephanie creates accessories that express her interest in how textile objects feel and how they make us feel through the wearing of them. 

Stephanie said:
"Whether worn to protect, comfort or adorn, an item of clothing can change our body language, confidence or reinforce, to ourselves and others, who we are."

Stephanie's textiles also include print, stitch, embroidery, crochet and felting. Her current inspiration comes from two museums in Bristol - the Bristol City Museum where she researched the mending samplers and mended objects from the collection, and the Glenside Hospital Museum where she researched items used in the mending of minds and the use of making activities to treat patients.

The resulting accessories work with delicately constructed fabrics and elaborate seams to create items that inspire positive feelings.

Arts Council England funds the Crafts Council, the organisers of Origin, which is at Old Spitalfields Market, London from 22 to 28 September 2011. More information and tickets at £10 (£8 concessions) are available at the Origin website.