Category Archives: Cultivated

Collaboration within Craft


  1. The action of working with someone to produce something.
  2. The situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing.
  3. A recursive process to realise shared goals by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus.

Most recently I have been thinking a lot about what impact collaboration can have upon craft practice, following on from a recent ‘Synergy Swap’ day with Design Factory members at Unit Twelve, linking into the current exhibition ‘Simpatico’. It was a positive day, and I felt really enthused afterwards after exploring several different forms of collaboration throughout the day.

The day produced some exciting responses of intertwined work. Below are a few images of myself and fellow ‘Cultivated’ graduate Rachel Butlin’s responses. We experimented with a selection of our own materials used within our individual practices, the result of which were the early stages of a playful series of vessels. It will be exciting to see how this series develops in the next coming months.

The day taught me collaboration can also be much more than a swap of skills or production of a body of work; Collaboration can open up a discussion between Makers that can pose thought, altering one’s thinking and perceptions, allowing for a more rounded practice – and possibly a change in course. Throughout the ‘Synergy Swap’ day I was able to engage in some thought provoking discussions, which enabled me to clarify some inward battles of my own.

The day made me think back to previous work I have found really interesting – Lin Cheung’s input for the exhibition Process Works a series of e-correspondence between herself and Caroline Broadhead, which act in a way such as this. They really reflect how thought provoking such collaborations can be.
On reflecting upon the correspondence and exhibition, Lin comments, “Making the objects for this exhibition had a profound effect on the way I viewed my own approach. I was able to see my own thought processes with new clarity: The way I looked at the world, the way I absorbed information and the ways in which I communicated ideas…the short e-correspondence we exchanged at the time continues to inspire and sustain my practice to this day.” The piece is something I continually return to and read; with such an honest dialogue the discussions provided food for thought within my own practice. Collaboration can allow makers to become critical of their own practice.

It’s an interesting exercise to explore collaboration, push the boundaries. I will look forward to another ‘Synergy Swap’ day and the collaborative relationships developing. More images of works in progress to come…
Tweet @birtles_charlie




Charlie began her six month placement on the Cultivated programme back in September. She produces conceptual pieces, often wearable, from readymade elements influenced by her interactions with found objects. Two months into the programme, we sat down to find out more about her influences and ambitions.

What’s your most interesting item in your studio?

I couldn’t pick out just one interesting item in my studio, rather a collection of tools and prompts during my making process which I find interesting…

My cutting mat – not for the purpose you’d think. The grid-like structure upon the mat acts almost as a frame for a composition of my ideas; bits and bobs, fragments, and works in progress.

My peg – it shows the marks and scars of craftsmanship. All the marks are individual to the needs of each of my pieces; the right angle to file that down, the right hole to enable that cut.

My ‘found’ shelf – a collection of all the bits and bobs I have found along the way; some directly relevant, others just intriguing, others “naff” and unusual.

Who are your craft heroes?

I’m drawn to quite a variety of craft practitioners.

The work of Hans Stofer has been key in the development of my own creative practice. Rather than defining himself by his training and skills, he presents himself as a ‘creative thinker’ which ultimately influences his output, whether it be jewellery, objects or compositions. His thought process is the key to defining his practice, creating an intrigue about his odd pieces, which for me justifies ways of working such as my own.

I love the variety of work from Lin Cheung. I recently purchased her new book Tomfoolery, an insight into the making of her portfolio of jewellery and objects over the past ten years; it’s a beautifully inspiring book. The most resonant chapter for me is a screen shot of a series of email correspondence Lin had sent between herself and Caroline Broadhead; the conversations are really quite frank and completely hit the nail on the head with the constant doubts and quibbles you have whilst developing a creative practice.

I also love the work of Stuart Cairns. His visual language between photographic snapshots of wanderings, drawings and objects is so beautifully clear, not to mention his stunning objects – the beauty of the found. I’m taking real inspiration from seeing his work in our current Language of Objects exhibition here at Unit Twelve.

Is there anything that makes you frustrated within the craft world?

I get slightly frustrated at the emphasis on traditional craft techniques. ‘Craft’ is suceedingly more blurred within the boundaries of art and design. The preservation of traditional techniques is important, but I don’t feel craft should be pigeon-holed as being backward-thinking and old fashioned. Traditional techniques should inform the making, but thought is equally, if not more so, important to give integrity to the work.

When I was studying, I constantly read all the papers published by the European initiative ‘ThinkTank’, following on from the exhibition and discussions they held each year from 2005-2010. They held some really prominent yet varying debates on skill, value, time in regards the applied arts. The articles proved as real food for thought for me.

Where would you most like your work to be exhibited?

Although my pieces make reference to the everyday, I feel they work best in a gallery environment. Placing them in such a space, I think, changes our perspective on how we view them – we no longer look at them as useful. I like playing with ways of displaying my pieces, creating compositions and landscapes to show a thought process.

What’s so special about the materials you use?

The majority of materials I use are recognisable, everyday objects, deconstructed and used for a new purpose. There’s initially nothing particularly special about the materials themselves, they are often undervalued. It’s my ability to see past this to their potential, as a newly formed beautiful object or composition, to be able to pose this alternative to the viewer.

Do you ever question what you’re doing?

I continually question what I am doing; playing, reflecting, refining. I read regularly around issues and debates in the art/craft field, which often prompts reflection of my own practice and where I sit contextually. My notebook acts as the format of my reflection, posing questions and marking down notes.

What do you do to take time out and relax?

I think I rarely switch off! I do find myself taking photos of odd things even when I’m out and about just because I think it’s a lovely composition.

Have you got a favourite book? What are you reading at the moment? 

Collecting books is my weakness.

I constantly flick through ‘In Flagrante Collecto Caught in the Act of Collecting’. It’s almost an encyclopaedia of various miscellanea, containing all sorts of intriguing objects and collections. I use it as a source of inspiration in appreciating the wonder of everyday objects.

My favourite novel is a charity shop find, ‘If nobody speaks of remarkable things’. It follows the lives of a whole street of individuals over the course of one single day. The language used within it is so thoughtful, poetic, it really emphasises to the reader the wonder of the mundane. I regularly re-read it; I find it provides an escape from my making process to reflect on my inspiration behind it.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

I’d struggle to pick out one main achievement. I’m very proud of what I have achieved since graduating: exhibiting at new designers, showing as part of the Young Meteors at Lustre, being selected for Unit Twelve’s Cultivated programme. It’s all a journey, and a massive learning curve, so I’m not taking any opportunity for granted.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

No, it’s all a learning process.

What have you got coming up?

Having just showcased as part of the Young Meteors at Lustre, I’ve now got the chance to reflect upon the experience and think about the future of my practice during my remaining time at Unit Twelve on the Cultivated support programme, the conclusion of which will result in a final group exhibition in September 2016 involving all four of us graduates.


You can see more of Charlie’s work, and follow her time here at Unit Twelve, on her website

Meet The Maker: Isabel Moseley


We recently sat down for a quick chat with Isabel Moseley one of our ‘cultivated’ makers to find out a bit more about what she’s been doing, where her inspiration comes from and the things that are important to her.

What’s your most interesting item in your studio?

My 1930’s repeat pattern book. I found it in a throw out box at an antique fair – I think it is very useful and still relevant today – I can’t imagine why anyone would want to get rid of it.

Who are your craft heroes?

The bookbinder Keith Smith is great for inspiration as he is so maverick and original. I also really admire Marthe Armitage for her pattern design and print making – my dream would be to work as her apprentice! But I find inspiration from a wide range of subjects – at the moment I have been researching Issey Miyake’s techniques for creating texture in fabric and also the amazingly beautiful bus stop designs of the Soviet era.

What have you got coming up?

I will be visiting Switzerland later this year where I hope to gain inspiration from the beautiful scenery and people. I think travelling and meeting new people is very important as new environments can act as a great catalyst for ideas. In my experience change is a kind of food for creativity. Also in March I will be showing some work at The Brindley and of course in September I will show work alongside the three other artists taking part in the Cultivated program here at unit twelve.

Have you got a favourite book? What are you reading at the moment?

I’m a big fan of ‘Great Expectations’; I love the idea of a grimy Victorian London. I love to read about how people lived and survived during different eras and in different countries – at the moment I am reading ‘The Pillow Book’ which is a kind of diary written by a lady in waiting during the 10th century in Japan – I find it comforting to know that even a thousand years ago in Japan people had the same thoughts and worries as we do now.

Have you got a favourite film?

It is very difficult to choose – I like old films where directors have had to be creative about achieving the special effects. Older films are so much more physical and full of texture I especially enjoyed ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ staring Boris Karloff as the monster, the lighting and costumes where brilliant.

Where would you most like to see your work exhibited?

At the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice! It’s my favourite museum as it’s so gloomy and atmospheric and is more like an archival house of art and design than a museum. Like many buildings in Venice it has been allowed to crumble and reveal all the layers inside which I find fascinating. Mariano Fortuny had a wide and eclectic interest in the arts and created among many things, a new lighting technique that allowed the stage to look as if it were experiencing all different kinds of weather.

Here’s your chance to get on your soapbox – is there anything that makes you angry or frustrated within the world of craft?

Coming from a Fine Art background I am aware that sometimes the word ‘craft’ can have some negative connotations and crafts people are considered differently to artists but I think the crossover between art and craft is huge. We can learn a lot from each other regarding skills and ideas and the two worlds are merging constantly. Last year I visited ‘Collect’ at the Saatchi Gallery, which showcased artwork by some extremely talented crafts people and designers – it was very inspiring and I hope to reach that calibre one day!

Do you ever question what you’re doing?

Of course, at every turn. But questions often lead to interesting solutions.

What’s so special about the materials you use?

The reason I love paper so much is because it won’t last; it is fragile and easily destroyed, it will always show how old it is and the strain time has taken on it. In that way it is a very honest material.


What do you do to take time out and relax?

I like to walk – anywhere really through cities or through the countryside. It helps me to leave behind things that were worrying or stressing me and just be in the moment.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

Yes of course but I think it’s essential to accept he decisions you have made so far and not be too hard on your younger self. After all you learn from your mistakes and it’s equally important to know what you don’t want to do, as it is to know what you do want. Everything I have done so far has impacted me positively and I try to learn as much as I can from new experiences.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

Living and working in Florence for two months last year was a very challenging experience as I didn’t know anyone and didn’t have a firm grasp of the language, which made things very difficult. I had worked in Italy before but this is the first time I really had to engage with locals. I learnt a lot from my placement at Il Papiro where I assisted with binding books and making marbled paper and I’m grateful for the experience. I don’t like things to be too easy and enjoy taking on new challenges in life, even if at the time it can seem quite stressful.

You can see more of Isabel’s amazing work at or if you’re on Instagram follow her there:

And her work will be showcased later on this year as part of the ‘cultivated’ exhibition at Unit Twelve 3rd – 26th September

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Trelex, Switzerland

Its 6.20pm and I’m sitting beside Nina in her van, rounding the grassy corner into Trelex. The witches hat church spire peeping between the hills at a new arrival to the village. In the morning the clang of cowbells resounded in the mountains and the nights rain made the trees such a shade of green that they looked more alive than anything ever had.


Walking around the village it struck me that the houses looked as if they had been carved out of cake using a large bread knife. On the horizon blue clouds skimmed the mountains and seemed in danger of being snagged on the jagged peaks. A thousand leaves gently fluttered in the breeze and sitting by the open kitchen window I basked in Swiss sunlight.



In the quiet bustle of Geneva I crossed a bridge that ran over a river dashing by. During the heat of the day I visited MAMCO and was reminded of Terry Gilliam’s fantasy film Brazil – the space seemed to recall a pasts idea of what the future would be; great big turquoise doors and windows set into a sturdy industrial building encrusted with contemporary artwork – completely wonderful and the space itself was a work of art. Switzerland is the very quiddity of good design and absolutely everything is beautiful. At lunchtime Nock circus was in town and its tents gathered in the square like a pack of scarab beetles with their great spikes looming into the blue sky.



A week later back in England, its a sunny day at Tixall Heath Farm and the pink blossoms are out. I hope to continue being inspired and productive and am looking forward to our exhibition in September at Unit twelve!


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“Overwhelm” – Sophie Symes


21st March – 21st May 2015

Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford

This surreal mixed media installation is inspired by the feeling of being overwhelmed and its effect on the body. Just as lichen spreads over tree branches, the overwhelming thoughts and feelings engulf the body.

Through this narrative installation, these feelings are represented physically as surreal lichen forms, encrusting, masking and suppressing a figure.  To accompany the installation, Sophie has created a diverse collection of art jewellery pieces that reinforce underlying ideas of fragility, concealment and secrecy.

progress shots of installation

progress shots of installation

progress shots of installation

progress shots of installation

To coincide with Sophie Syme’s installation “Overwhelmed” at the Shire Hall, Sophie will be demonstrating making her art jewellery pieces on Saturday 21st March (10am – 1pm).

Sophie Symes OssaParietinaBrooch

About the artist: Sophie Symes is a recent graduate of Hereford College of Arts and is currently taking part in the graduate programme, ‘Cultivated’ at Unit Twelve Gallery in Stafford. She works with alternative materials and techniques to create pieces that push the boundaries of jewellery design.
Artist Statement: My art jewellery pieces are created by combining a diverse collection of ideas and imaginings. Drawing inspiration from my wild rural surroundings and combining this with a love for surrealism and fairytales and their escapist connotations, I make pieces of wearable sculpture using alternative materials.
I apply my traditional jewellery making techniques and spontaneous working method to metals and ‘throwaway’ natural debris materials such as found twigs, lichen and silkworm cocoons. Using paper cutting techniques, I hand-pierce intricate forms and combine them with the found debris, constructing fantastical adornments.
The amalgamation of precious metals and found items is intended to address the question of what makes jewellery truly precious.. which materials are intrinsically more ‘precious’ and ‘valuable’… the readily available silver or the fragile lichen covered twig that can never be replicated?

We also managed to sit down and have a quick chat with Sophie to find out more about her inspirations and processes.

What’s your most interesting item in your studio?

My collection of lichen covered twigs. They have really exciting forms, textures and colours and their fragility gives them a very precious quality.

I also have some really interesting old books, my favourite being my Plants and the Planet book, with gorgeous scientific illustrations and beautiful descriptive text, it’s endlessly inspiring.


Who are your craft heroes?

There are so many amazing crafters and art jewellers that inspire me. But my absolute heroes are Hanna Hedman, Nora Rochel, Tanel Veenre and Marta Mattsson. Their surreal, fantastical pieces inspire me to push myself everyday and try to create innovative, one-off pieces of wearable art.

What have you got coming up?

I’ve already got quite a packed schedule this year. I am currently working like mad on my upcoming installation and solo exhibition to be on display at The Shire Hall in Stafford from 21st March. It’s titled ‘Overwhelm.’ and addresses the common feeling of becoming overwhelmed with daily life – visually represented as fantastical growing forms.

I have also been selected for the Rising Stars 2015 exhibition at New Ashgate Gallery in Farnham. Alongside work by other recent graduates of contemporary craft courses, my three pieces will be on display from 20th March – 9th May.

As well as this, I am currently in the process of creating a brand new collection of art jewellery pieces for The Jam Factory in Oxford. Using my previous collection ‘Hybrids’ as a starting point, I am creating more manmade vs natural hybrids and this time I am incorporating even more industrial materials, such as concrete and manipulating the natural forms further.

To finish up the year, I also have an exciting internship planned with one of my favourite jewellers, Tanel Veenre!


Have you got a favourite book? What are you reading at the moment?

I love fairytales so I would have to say Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll has to be my favourite book, I just love the mad language and how it is described as ‘literary nonsense’.

At the moment I’m about to start reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, as I’ve just seen the film and I think the descriptive language in the book will be even more visually magnificent.

Have you got a favourite film?

I have lots but I think some of my favourites are Pan’s Labyrinth, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Star Wars Trilogy and of course, all old Disney films.

Where would you most like to see your work exhibited?

I would love to have my pieces exhibited in world renowned art jewellery gallery, Galerie Marzee and as part of the international art jewellery event Schmuck. But I think mostly, I would just love my work to be exhibited in the company of some of the best art jewellers in the world.

Here’s your chance to get on your soapbox – is there anything that makes you angry or frustrated within the world of craft?

I think the most frustrating thing about the arts and craft world is the high costs of exhibiting/selling work. A lot of investment is required to start up as a maker and be able to keep going until you actually start selling. There needs to be more programmes like ‘Cultivated’ to give new graduates the platform to bridge the gap from student to professional maker. Not only is there funding and a studio space but also professional mentoring to help develop a unique craft business.


Do you ever question what you’re doing?

All the time. I have a tendency to over think things and when I’m stressed I question everything I am doing. I think the best way to tackle this is by taking a break, stepping back from the work and concentrating on what elements are working well and really excite you.

What’s so special about the materials you use?

The lichen, twigs and other found materials I use are special because they are completely unique and I know I will never be able to find the exact same piece again. They therefore need to be treasured and used well in my designs.

I also like to use materials that are completely ordinary and mass produced and then sensitively craft them into new, beautiful things.

What do you do to take time out and relax?

When I’m not making and researching jewellery, I like to watch films, go for walks through the woods and make upcycled furniture with my boyfriend.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

No, I focus on the present and future and try not to look back too much.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

Of the many exciting exhibitions I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in since graduating, I consider being chosen for the 2013 Beijing International Jewelry Art Biennial, at the Millennium Monument in Beijing and Metallophone: Personally at AV17 Gallery in Lithuania my best achievements.

I also feel very proud to have been chosen as one of the best emerging graduate makers in the UK when selected for the Rising Stars 2015 exhibition/competition.

Another one of my greatest achievements so far has to be being selected for ‘Cultivated’ as I feel that it will really help me to centre my business and pull all my many ideas together. Even though I have only been at the gallery for a few weeks, I already feel I have learnt a lot from the talented artists around me and I feel truly privileged to have been given this amazing opportunity.

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Cultivated: Orange Inspiration – Aimee Bollu





A selection of orange inspiration – photographs taken on a walk around the farm at unit twelve, finding a vibrancy on the site that may not be initially obvious.
netting AB bristle AB flakey AB super xl AB orange claw AB rust AB orange lichen AB orange rope AB neon orange AB double loop AB barbed wire AB knot AB

The images and the objects in them are being used to create a collection of ‘Cultivated’ vessels using a new ceramic body – a blog post on these to follow shortly…


Other inspiration images can be found here:


Meet the Maker: Hannah Watson

What’s your most interesting item in your studio?
The most interesting item in my studio is probably my knitting machine, which has seen me through university and has allowed me to continue the development and exploration of my knitted textile work so far. Not only is it an important element to my practise, but it is also a visually interesting piece of machinery. Many visitors have commented on how fascinated they are with the machine, finding the mechanisms intriguing and also see it as a piece of art in its self.

knitting machine close up resized

Who are your craft heroes?
When I started working with textiles I mainly worked in print, I think the first textile artist who inspired me to keep experimenting and pushing the techniques was Matthew Harris. His work showed me that textiles can be a piece of art in its own right, and that not everything had to be the type of commercial repeat pattern that I was used to seeing at the time. I found the minimal use of colour, abstracted and interrupted lines and imagery, along with layering and deconstructions and reconstructions across his work particularly inspiring.
Today, weaver Ismini Samidou is an artist who I really look up to. Her work responds to subtle patterns, textures and beauty in her surroundings which would usually be overlooked. Her large scale installation pieces make an impact with these subtle elements, and the neutral colour palettes and natural patterns allow them to enhance and become a part of the environment its placed in, as if its always belonged there. Seeing her work has encouraged me to work on a larger scale and shows that a design can be beautiful without being overly complex and busy.

materials, wire 2 resized
What have you got coming up?
I am currently exhibiting two of my textile hangings in Unit Twelve’s Contemporary Craft Open. Coming up in 2015 I will be showing my work at The Brindley, and at the ‘Cultivated’ exhibition at Unit Twelve, in September I will be exhibiting my most recent work alongside the three other artists selected for the Cultivated graduate programme.

Where would you most like to see your work exhibited?
Early last year I visited the Sensing Spaces Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art, and I was amazed by the scale of the architectural installations and how they transformed the environment of the building’s interior. The installations altered how the spaces could be interpreted and experienced by the visitors, it had a massive impact on me and was really memorable. One day I would create a textile installation on a grand scale like this, and create an environment with my work which visitors can experience completely, by being able to walk through and touch and react to and feel a part of the installation.
Currently, I’m beginning to research smaller galleries around the country, to continue exhibiting my old and new work. I can’t wait to get my work out there for more people to see!

materials, wire and paper. resizedjpg

materials, wire. resizedjpg

What’s so special about the materials you use?
I enjoy working with materials which are generally considered unconventional in machine knitting. A lot of my current work uses wire, paper and transparent, man-made yarns such as mono-filament and lurex, I like to experiment with how these yarns work together, and how this effects the behaviour of the resulting textile, how it behaves naturally and also how I can alter and manipulate the textile more once its removed from the knitting machine. I’m always looking for unusual fibres and yarns to experiment with, and to continue creating knitted textiles which surprise, intrigue and explore the endless possibilities of machine knitting.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
No, as I think everything I’ve experienced so far has helped me to develop as an artist and figure out my strengths and what I still need to work on. I’ve taken a lot of opportunities and chances which have helped me make important decisions on what direction I want to go with my work and so far I’m happy with how things are progressing.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?
It would have to be getting chosen to take part in the Cultivated programme. I think this has been such a great opportunity so far and a lot of other great exhibition opportunities have come from it. I’m really grateful to have this time since leaving university to help me grow as an artist and designer into the real world. Without this opportunity I would have found it very difficult to know where to start, or even where to look for similar opportunities. I’ve always wanted to continue working in a creative environment surrounded by other artists, and its amazing that I’ve had the opportunity to do it! Having the support from the experienced artists in the studios has helped me to learn so much about sustaining a business in this field already, and has helped me prepare for starting my own business and going it alone. I hope that this experience will help me to continue to grow after the programme is complete!



Geometry in Florence

I have always been inspired by geometry and mathematics and often find myself searching for it everywhere; I find repeated patterns and shapes in walls, floors and ceilings. I am particularly interested in architecture and after recently spending time in Florence I found myself surrounded by incredible feats of engineering. This inspired me to experiment with some new paper forms…

Pitti Palace

Pitti Palace

Bargello Museum



Meet the Maker: Aimee Bollu

We spent a bit of time recently chatting to one of our ‘Cultivated’ makers, Aimee Bollu. Aimee joined our programme in September and has settled in nicely – gradually filling her space with lots of unusual items; some weather beaten and broken, some lost and now found – all of them inspiration and soon to be part of her work.

What’s your most interesting item in your studio?
The most interesting object I keep in the studio is my Aladdin pink paraffin container. I like it because of the subtle colour and the charm and character it holds. I enjoy having objects around me that have no use other than to be enjoyed visually.













Who are your craft heroes?
I’m slightly obsessed with Stuart Cairns, a silversmith who combines found objects with precious metals. He creates artefacts, that hint at the function of tools and domestic objects and does the most beautiful drawings with watercolours. I love following him on instagram, I get to see where he goes walking for his finds and wish I was there too.
I also respect hugely the other makers that I graduated with, they inspire me and are so forward thinking in their approaches to making – the cohort of graduates from Decorative Arts are a real community and I’m excited to be part of a fresh group of craft heroes of the future.

What have you got coming up?
Most of the shows I was included in this year have come to an end and I’m now focusing on developing the collection I graduated with specifically for my time at Unit Twelve. I am creating a collection for the Cultivated exhibition next year that will be exploring scale and objects found solely on the site of the studio and gallery. I’m really interested to see what happens to the aesthetic of the work based on the vernacular of the surroundings.

Have you got a favourite book? What are you reading at the moment?
I find it impossible to read a book more than once normally, but Wabi – Sabi by Leonard Koren is a beautiful book I dip in and out of all the time. To quote the book ‘Wabi – Sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional.’
Im currently reading about Kintsugi, a Japanese technique of repairing broken ceramics with a lacquer filled with real gold, to add value back to something that may be perceived as waste. This is something I recently explored in my own work – instead of precious materials such as gold I continued to use non-valued materials such as latex to promote the breaks in the vessel.




Have you got a favourite film?

Dancer in the Dark – a striking film about Selma (played by Bjork – who I adore) who is slowly going blind. During her day to day life, which is filled with boring, mundane tasks, Selma day-dreams and imagines the ordinary circumstances and people around her erupt into elaborate musical theatre numbers. Most of the songs are Bjork’s and feature the use of a noise from daily life such as factory machines buzzing. The film appeals to me creatively and also comforts – I don’t think I’m meant to work in a job that doesn’t stimulate me. A job that just goes through the motions, this film captures that beautifully.

Where would you most like to see your work exhibited?
Since the Decorative Arts graduation show in June, the Hoard has had a really exciting tour through different UK and international venues which I am really proud of, but I think something I am really excited to make happen is to see my work exhibited in locations other than galleries – the spaces in our landscape that have been forgotten, abandoned and left into disrepair.

Here’s your chance to get on your soapbox – is there anything that makes you angry or frustrated within the world of craft?
No not really! I do feel there is a strong amount of negative connotations relating to the word ‘craft’, and ‘decorative arts’, which I’ve encountered a fair amount of bad representation for in the past few years, but I believe my practice is what I make it and doesn’t have to fit in the paradigm of traditional connotations of a label. Why do we need to label what we do? Can we not exist in different contexts simultaneously?

Do you ever question what you’re doing?
Always! It’s an integral part of my process of making. It can mean I can be counter-productive though. The first seedlings of my practice came from questioning why we make, what purpose it has in society and why we feel the need to decorate or create beauty.

What’s so special about the materials you use?
There is nothing special or valuable in the materials I use – they are conventional and mundane but utilised in an exciting fresh way. I value the found objects I collect but the real beauty comes from the combinations of the found and the made.

IMG_5196web IMG_5186web


What you do to take time out and relax?
Find. Collect. Gather. Bathe. Sing. Sleep. In this order, and then repeat.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?
This question is so difficult to answer! I don’t view my life by the scale of my achievements that peak at the top as ‘the best’, I view my life as a long linear path. I’m moving forward with momentum, each step builds to the next success and I learn something from it, even from the things that went wrong. Every achievement adds to where I am now, so I can only say I’m proud to be here, in the now.

You can see more of Aimee’s work here and you can also see her growing collection of work in her studio space at Unit Twelve.
Social media types can find her here as well:


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Cultivated: induction day

Last week saw the arrival of our ‘cultivated’ graduates, and we kicked off with an induction day complete with homework project! All four had been tasked to produce a postcard encapsulating their creative practice and write on the back some thoughts on their expectations for the programme.

Similar themes emerged:
understanding practice
audience engagement
business development
creative growth

Lots of really great chewy things and big ideas for the graduates and the Unit Twelve team to get stuck into over the coming months!

To get everyone warmed up and brains whirring we did a team building exercise (no rafts were built!) screen printing with MrPrintGarage working on a collaborative piece – a semi-abstract motivational poster!








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