Meet the Curious Keepsake Machine
The work I make focuses on creating public art and craft objects that inform, entertain or educate. This is through narrative usually focusing on local stories based on place. My work focuses on Places. The history, memories and stories that happened there or a narrative of what is happening there now. I search for little known stories and create a permanent record of them, through stand alone or wearable objects. These objects create a repository for knowledge, before the stories become lost forever. The narrative is meticulously researched reviewing books, newspaper articles, photographs, conversations, museums and through visiting the places where the narrative happened.
Exploring ideas about landscape, human settlement and what makes ‘home,’ Nicki often uses traditional craft techniques in ceramic and textile as well as working collaboratively with communities. Imagery of unused and decaying buildings, graffiti and ideas about abandoned histories find their way into works which staunchly celebrate the principle of ‘making do’ with scarce resources.
With a background in museums, galleries and arts development, Nicki is currently artist-in-residence for Mrs Smith’s Cottage, creating new work intended to engage visitors through participation onsite as well as around the village of Navenby.
My work is inspired by childhood memories and consists of two distinct elements: the hand made in the form of base metals, sterling silver and porcelain and found objects. These found objects are old, used and discarded, they are often of little or no monetary value but have value in their history, they have a story to tell and an inherent beauty found in their patina created through use over time.Using the found objects as handles and metals which are shaped and formed, I create spoons, knives and forks, tools and utensils. Colour is applied through the use of enamels, patination and oxidisation, and texture is created through hammering and the rolling mill.My memories of mealtimes as a child have profoundly influenced the way I work, the type of crockery and domestic ware we used, milk was poured from a milk jug, sugar in a bowl and tea poured from a teapot into a cup and saucer. Using porcelain and a hand-building technique I recreate these items but with a sense of playfulness and a little fantasy thrown in.
Based in South Lincolnshire, working from my garden studio, I create unique hand cut mosaic jewellery and interior pieces, made with iridescent glass, vintage ceramics and Italian millefiori. My pieces are inspired by nature, folk art and style movements, creating decorative and attractive pieces to wear and for the home. I enjoy using a wide range of materials, hues, textures and assembly methods to develop a style of mosaic that encompasses these techniques, bringing shape and relief to create contemporary art pieces. For me mosaic, as a medium, is an exploration of choice and selection to create an effective and durable solution, through picking, cutting, laying and combining materials. The art form also reacts with its environment through the reflection of light giving an extra fascination
Goldsmith turned Sculptor: Caroline trained in her native Germany as a goldsmith (journeyman) and jewellery designer – specializing in repoussage. The introduction of wood as an additional medium made the gradual transition from jewellery to decorative art to sculpture possible. A childhood preoccupation with making characters re-emerged – first in form of carved heads – then the full figure. The combination of carved wood and repousse metal lay at the heart of her MA research.
More recently her larger figures have been made of plaster and hay or straw. The latest and smallest figures have been made of porcelain. A balance of imagination and observation are evident in all the sculptures. Carrying over skills (and even misappropriating kitchen tools) from one media to the next has been at the core of the journey until now.
Laura’s creative practice has been varied, from exhibition curator to craft maker, project producer to game designer. Her practice is underpinned by two themes, craft making and the communication of ideas.
As exhibition curator she has worked on international projects and has experience of planning projects for museum and gallery environments. Past exhibitions have always included interactive elements to engage the public further with the themes.
As a maker and game designer she is interested in creating bespoke games and interactive experiences that draw attention to lesser-known subjects or facts through the appeal of play and tactility of handleable objects. She has created games for galleries including print-craft-play at home games during lockdown and most recently designed the Street Seekers game for Transported Art on which she collaborated with Kathleen on the creation of interactive puzzle objects.
I do what I do because l have always been compelled to do it. There has never been anything else that l could or wanted to do.
I work in metals and glass, usually in response to a commission or a client’s request that requires no need for interpretation boards.
I strive to deliver quality and value that, in the words of old W M himself ‘are useful or beautiful’’, and from the feedback l have received over the years my clients have added, ‘meaningful and treasured’. That makes it all worthwhile and me a very happy maker!
Crossing the divide, real or imagined, between art, craft and design my work is embedded in material exploration and communication. Through making I explore human emotion and experience, the challenge of creating work that communicates or generates an emotional response a driving force.
That we are able to embody a clay vessel with memory and emotion constantly intrigues me, and observing reactions and relationships between vessel and viewer fascinates me.
Working in series, I hand build sculptural vessels in both porcelain and stoneware. Often developed from initial exhibition pieces, the principle of working with a single form allows for an exploration of response to scale, colour and surface, while maintaining a sense of belonging across the work. Ensuring each individual piece is part of the whole yet has an identity all of its own, is a vital element of my work.