Tag Archives: Emily Notman

Are you listening carefully? touring exhibition

are you listening carefully poster LOWRES

Touring exhibition dates

Brampton Museum:  1st Feb (and PV 2-4pm) – 26th March 2014

Foxlowe Art Centre: 3rd May – 21st June 2014 (PV- 2nd May 7-9pm)

The Brindley: 16th Aug – 11th Oct 2014

Are you listening carefully?

“Ambient Music must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular; it must be as ignorable as it is interesting.” Brian Eno.

At Unit Twelve the radio is usually on, during workshops it’s quietly tuned to classical and participants work to waltzes, stitching and crafting to sonatas, requiems and fugues. During the week the contemporary and varied sounds of 6 Music weave their way into the background whilst the tenants work. Production at Print Garage is always powered by pulsations of propulsive machine funk. Outside, music is everywhere, a constant hum – an aural wallpaper, always available and always growing. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. How then do we process this constant stream of music, do we really listen?

In counterpoint, as inspiration for new work, the artists at Unit Twelve have taken pieces of music that are important to them, music that speaks directly to them, music that demands active listening and provokes reaction, from singing along and strutting to work to the hushed intimate moments that echo deep within the chambers of their hearts.

Jennifer Collier

Paper Armchair

My practice focuses on creating work from paper; by bonding, waxing, trapping and stitching I produce unusual paper ‘fabrics’, which are used to explore the ‘remaking’ of household objects. The papers are treated as if cloth, with the main technique employed being stitch; a contemporary twist on traditional textiles. The papers themselves serve as both the inspiration and the media for my work, with the narrative of the books and papers suggesting the forms. I tend to find items then investigate a way in which they can be reused and transformed; giving new life to things that would otherwise go unloved or be thrown away.

This exhibition has allowed me to realise my ambition of making a room set created entirely from paper. Using Mushaboom by Lesley Feist, a song very close to my heart (and even read in church at my own wedding); the lyrics provide the narrative for the ‘room’ and inspiration for the objects created.

Mushaboom by Feist

Helping the kids out of their coats

But wait the babies haven’t been born

Unpacking the bags and setting up

And planting lilacs and buttercups

But in the meantime I’ve got it hard

Second floor living without a yard

It may be years until the day

My dreams will match up with my pay

Old dirt road

Knee deep snow

Watching the fire as we grow old

I got a man to stick it out

And make a home from a rented house

And we’ll collect the moments one by one

I guess that’s how the future’s done

How many acres how much light

Tucked in the woods and out of sight

Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap

On a little road barely on the map

Old dirt road

Knee deep snow

Watching the fire as we grow old

Old dirt road

Rambling rose

Watching the fire as we grow well I’m sold


Emily Notman


My work has always combined my love for mixing stitch, clay and found objects. I experiment using traditional methods in contemporary ways by working into surfaces and trapping materials to build up interesting layers of tactile fabrics. My work has developed mostly from costal textures and landscapes.

My series of drops for this exhibition evolved from studying the album ‘A Year of Hibernation’ by Youth Lagoon. The album is a portrayal of mental distress in the most beautiful, light and dreamlike way. He mixes genres of music such as electro and dream pop to create atmosphere and mood. It was his contemporary blend of sounds and notes that lead me to recreate this in different mediums including inks, bleaches and dyes.


Louise Wilson

lou violin

I am a contemporary artist, working with wire, who creates three dimensional wire drawings of everyday objects. I am inspired by items used in everyday life and the simple yet elegant lines that they have. These lines are often missed and I aim to highlight this simplicity through the use of wire.

Are You Listening Carefully? allowed me the opportunity to explore the line of different musical instruments and objects relating to sound, from Recorders to Record Players, with the aim to highlight the special details of them. I have been inspired by the elegant curves and lines of a Violin, and the intricate mechanism within the needle and arm of a Record Player and the unique features of music making devices.


Julia Jowett

julia drawing

“…the woman who was as small as a pepper pot was queen of all the crows in the forest…” Alf Proysen

My illustrative practice explores the importance of storytelling and imagination. I draw with wire, pencil and stitch; intricately working dense areas of traditional embroidery and needlepoint stitches into metal gauzes and figuratively manipulated wire lines. I combine my hand embroidered wire work with observational drawing and screen printing techniques onto fabric and paper to create contemporary art pieces. Drawing on folk tales, childhood stories and surreal imaginings, I harness instinctive feelings and traditional craft processes to create considered folkloric narratives that intrigue.

This narrative, entwined with the musical notions and exhibition themes of ‘Are you listening carefully?’ continues to dance through my new body of work. Embracing dark and atmospheric ideas of musical escapism, disorientation and the observation of change, I have been emotively led to create a magical world captured by the use of hand drawn, wire and embroidered lines – an installation piece informed by sounds that reflect the dawn of the psychedelic pop era, music with a haunting folk flavour and enchanting songs that lyrically and musically inspire…

“…so many different people to be… it’s strange, must be the Season Of The Witch; you’ve got to pick up every stitch…” Donovan

Sally Broadhurst (Brady & Proud)

Coming from a large creative family, Brady & Proud are sisters with a life long passion for making. Having studied Illustration and Surface Pattern, Sally’s chosen medium is screen print. With no formal training Ruth’s natural affinity is with the sewing machine, in particular using it freehand as a drawing tool.

Although their work is very different they are united in their appreciation for the beauty found in simplicity and their passion for vintage and re-cycled materials, with all the marks and flaws that betray their previous life.

“In response to this theme I have been inspired by Paul Weller’s ‘Country’. This piece of music epitomises my love of our wonderful countryside, with it’s myriad colours and textures. It fascinates me how the same scene can be totally transformed from one season to the next and how the glimpse of a vibrant yellow Rape field or the smell of freshly mown grass can be so uplifting and healing.”

I know a place not far from here

Where life’s sweet perfume fills the air

And if you want I’ll take you there

If you want I’ll take you there.


Ruth Proud (Brady & Proud)


“The piece of music I have chosen in response to this theme is ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnet No.18’, sung by Bryan Ferry. This piece of music takes me to the moment when I first realised my own mortality and appreciated how fragile life is.

Vintage linens, that have become worn and marked with age and use, too fragile or imperfect to be used now for their original purpose, have been pieced together enabling their beauty to live on and be appreciated once more.”

Fran Buxton


“A magnificent, opulent, tremendous, stupendous, gargantuan, bedazzlement, a sensual ravishment. It will be….”
– Moulin Rouge

My current practice is an exploration of found, created textures and surfaces. Using stitch, embellishment and manipulation techniques, with a little experimentation along the way, previously pedestrian materials are transformed to have depth and intricacy.

This body of work is inspired by music on the stage, particularly the rich array of opulent costumes in ballets, operas and musicals, and how these hypnotise the audience just as much as the music. This has translated to a series of decorative, semi-functional pieces which capture the splendour and diversity of the show.

Print Garage

print garage_joy of repetition

Print Garage is the dark and dusty underground lair of Iain Perry: self-styled, swashbuckling squeegee warrior.

“I create vibrant screen prints investigating the minutiae of my surroundings. I draw inspiration from old technology, tools and toys, cinema, record sleeves and the world of science.

This is a collection of screen prints inspired by pieces of music that are personal favourites or have influenced my practice in some way. I listen to a lot of music, usually whilst working and enjoy the similarities and synergy between the printing process and the music – especially stuff that is electronic and beat driven. There is a joy in repetition…”

shout outs:
actress, andrew weatherall, andy stott, aphex twin, arthur russell, arthur william edgar o’shaughnessy, blondes, boards of canada, burial, carl craig, christopher rau, claro intelecto, dabrye, danny norbury, dj koze, falty dl, feist, floating points, flying lotus, forest swords, four tet, gerry read, gilles peterson, gil scott-heron, graze, hauschka, hercules & love affair, james holden, holy other, howes, james blake, jesse lanza, john roberts, john coltrane, jon hopkins, john talabot, the juan maclean, kassem mosse, kyle hall, lcd soundsystem, letherette, mark e, marvin gaye, moomin, motor city drum ensemble, mount kimbie, nils frahm, omar s, the orb, penguin cafe orchestra, pharoah saunders, ricardo villalobos, segue, shed, sun ra, theo parrish, thomas fehlmann, to rococo rot, two lone swordsmen, ukkonen, vampire weekend, vangelis, voices from the lake, a winged victory for the sullen.


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Meet the Maker: Emily Notman

We kick off a new series, ‘Meet the Maker’, where we buttonhole one of our makers or exhibitors to reveal a little bit of themselves via some good old Q&A.  Starting us off is Emily Notman.  Emily graduated from the University of  Cumbria in 2011 with a 1st Class BA Honours Degree in Contemporary Applied Arts – specialising in Ceramics, Embroidery and Printed Textiles and has already set up in business as a freelance maker, renting a workspace at Unit Twelve.

You can view more of Emily’s work via her website and purchase items from her online shop at madebyhandonline.com

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What’s your most interesting item in your studio?

I have lots of things in my studio that I treasure; these include things I have collected over the years. The most interesting items are probably shells, jars and tins that I use to store my haberdashery. I have a rusty set of fish jelly moulds that I brought from a vintage fair once – I love them. If the studio was on fire I would grab them first and probably my knitting needles!

What have the highs been so far? And have there been any lows?

Jennifer Collier asking me to exhibit my work in the ‘Spring Loaded’ exhibition at Unit Twelve, which led to running workshops and seeing my pieces next to some of my favourite makers. Definitely being selected for madebyhand.com, I was that excited I ran around the house.

Who are your craft heroes?

My Mum and my Aunty Yvonne – both had small craft based businesses, without them giving me scissors and glue at an early age I probably wouldn’t be a full time maker now.

I would say these people changed how I perceived craft as I was studying so in my eyes they are my heroes: Manon Gignoux, Anna Dove, Elizabeth Addyman, Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

I will always see Jennifer Collier as a hero for Unit Twelve, which has shaped my future as a maker and for being an amazing mentor as well as an inspiring business woman.

What have you got coming up?

I have got a busy Christmas season coming up: I will be at the Country Living Christmas Fair, Harrogate, the first weekend in December. I now have an event every weekend up until then and hopefully will take some time out from orders in January to develop some installations and a ceramic range.

Why did you set up at Unit Twelve?

I met Jennifer Collier at the BCTF, it was by chance that my family where just moving back to the Staffordshire area and after graduating I did too. I had already visited and fallen in love with the place. It was such an inspiring galley and embraced everything a gallery should be, it was a far cry from the galleries I had visited whilst studying. Not only did it exhibit the county’s leading makers it is also a working studio space. Luckily within a month of moving home after graduating, a studio space became available. I knew I wanted to make full time and take a risk at starting up a business. I moved in and gave myself a year, now – ten months later things are busy. I still pinch myself every time I open the door to the studio or walk through the gallery to make a cup of tea.

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

My favourite books are Alice in Wonderland, Wuthering Heights, Where the Wild Things Are and 1984.

At the moment I am reading One Day by David Nicholls. I don’t get much chance to read; I am either knitting or stitching in bed – reading is a treat!

Have you got a favourite film?

I couldn’t choose just one! The Piano, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, Control and Across the Universe.

Where would you most like to see your work exhibited?

I would love to see my work in Selvedge magazine, I used to read Selvedge when I was studying at Leeds Art College, I was the only student in my group that was interested in Applied Art rather than print so I would bury myself in the back issues of it. Selvedge was the first place I found makers like Manon Gignoux and Anna Dove that inspired me to develop colour theory and mixing mediums.

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 it is important for people to understand the difference between being inspired by a maker and copying their work. It’s heartbreaking to see one of your designs being produced and sold by someone else when it is your livelihood. The making community is competitive but also very supportive close knit group of people, we all interact through social media and at events so it’s key to push your own ideas down a different route to existing/established crafts people in order to be fresh, ground breaking and succeed.

I feel a true artist is someone that comes up with their own ideas and not copies someone else.

Do you ever question what you’re doing?

I don’t ever question making but I do worry about being able to earn a living from it. I don’t ever doubt that this is my dream career but the thought of my mortgage depending on it is scary. Our audience at Unit Twelve are very supportive but sometimes when you are at an exhibition or event people’s comments can upset you, you just have to have faith in what you are doing and understand that not every idea can work out – I suppose that is like any job.

What’s so special about the materials you use?

I mix found objects and materials that I collect. It’s the contrast of textures and surfaces that I think makes the materials so special. For example knitting with wire and wrapping shells with bleached fabrics. This is now something I teach in workshops because I think the diversity and manipulation of materials is so interesting and key to a piece.


What you do to take time out and relax?

I don’t think you can ever take time out from craft, it’s a way of life as well as something I do for a living. If I’m not making, I’m researching, collecting and visiting fairs, shows and exhibitions.

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?

I wish I had done a business course sooner that I did, it was invaluable. I also wish I had developed what I wanted to at university, I spent a lot of money on materials at university and since being at Unit Twelve I have realised the most exciting and interesting can be found or collected.

What’s your greatest achievement so far?

Moving into Unit Twelve, it’s presented so many unbelievable opportunities and now I am in a place that I could only have dreamt of this time last year.
There was a point where someone pointed at my work from afar and said ‘I’m studying her at college’ – that was a wonderful feeling.

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