A road unexpectedly travelled has become an absorbing path with many exciting challenges.
When the banking 2007/8 crisis struck, many of my supporters and funders lost significant funds themselves, which then impacted severely on my art practice. I knew I had to change my work to be more independent and thus more commercial. For six months I analysed everything, including what I needed and my skill set, with an outcome that now fulfils my life.
Launching Utopia: The Unexpected Gallery was a big step, although at the time it just seemed logical and a practical solution. I didn’t want to compromise my stance on ethical values and sustainable living, so reinvention needed to include not creating ‘more stuff’ for an already over-stuffed world. Harnessing antiques and vintage finds to act as the starting point for the transformation into lighting, was key and remains true today. Quality of design, materials and making was also a cornerstone, to support our remit that what we made had to last – the anthesis of the usual business mantra where cyclical replacement is built into the design. Our aim is to produce well crafted pieces that will endure.
Today, the business has grown significantly and is thriving. Interest and demand for what we design and create has exceeded our expectations. My husband joined the company when his own furniture making business became affected by the banking crisis. His main focus now is on lighting design and creation, whilst I concentrate on fine art.
I have always drawn and painted, so utilising this passion to create pictures to sell, seemed a natural progression. I need to draw in layers – building 2D forms similar to building a sculpture. The pen and ink studies, where I layer shapes in millions of monotone marks, fulfils this. I wanted a contemporary approach to drawing and fortunately, clients appreciate what I draw.
A lifetime of layering different materials to build and excavate has led to multiple creative approaches. The current fascination with encaustic art has evolved over many years of experimentation, to source a painting medium that embraced all that I needed to execute the energies within. In these natural materials I have found a voice that speaks my mother tongue.