I am super excited to announce that I have started a new project! Oaken Moon features works by UK artists and makers alongside ethically sourced artisan crafts and gifts which I have carefully curated to have a shared sensibility with paganism, spirituality and a deeper connection to nature.
Apart from the brilliant artworks by artists such as Ella Johnston, Holly Trill, Lauren Kelly and Louise Lily King, I have selected some really beautiful and ethically sourced items which I hope you will like too. Among my favourites are the stunning jewellery designs by award winning artist and author Coralie Bickford-Smith. This jewellery has been made in collaboration with Just Trade UK, this lovely company works with Fair Trade projects in Ecuador, India, Peru and Vietnam. There are many unique gifts too, many have been hand made using artisan skills including fairly traded wooden printing blocks and hand carved stone incense holders and trinket boxes. There are plenty of gorgeous greetings cards many of which have been printed on FSC card stock, using vegetable based inks with recycled envelopes and packaged in compostable cello. As well as ethically sourcing items the eco credentials are important to me too, and I have searched around to find these.
I have started to create more of my own artwork too, there are a few Monotype prints that I previously made and I will be featuring more in the Oaken Moon shop very soon. When I can, I will be out and about at events so watch this space and I will post to keep you updated.
I’ve been busy founding the Made in Colchester Collective. We are now a 20+ strong collective of makers, artists and designers based in the Colchester Area. Our first big event will be at Colchester Arts Centre on 4th July where we will all be selling handmade wares, plus our member Caroline Rhys-Lewis will be running a pop up cafe and there will be live acoustic music and art/craft workshops all day! More info to follow soon!
Meanwhile we are attending the fantastic regular monthly Bazaar at The Waiting Room with a small collective pitch (first Sunday of the month).
A self-taught photographer from Wivenhoe, Richard Hayward is our featured artist this month.
Like many of the artists that we stock in Hazel Gallery, Richard’s skills have a firm grounding in traditional process and practice. As well as being self-taught, he also learned by using a manual film camera. We think you’ll agree that he’s definitely not a keen amateur anymore!
As with most photography, there are three main elements that make Richard’s work spectacular. The first is his choice of subject matter, often using the landscapes of Essex, Suffolk and East Anglia as his primary focus. Inspiration can even be found outside his front door, “My riverside home in Wivenhoe offers new photographic possibilities on each new tide and coastal imagery constantly features in my work”.
Composistion is the second element to appreciate, “I’m drawn to form and texture”, and his contemporary compositions evoke “a distilled empathy” for his subject. As well as this, his focus on simple details means that “the viewer is invited to appreciate the tactile qualities of the world around us, in ways that are often overlooked.”
Finally, there is the quality of the prints themselves to consider. As well as being striking images in their own right, the rich dark tones are also a strong link to one of Richard’s inspirations, the photographer Bill Brandt.
Richard’s Tales From The Riverbank photos are available from Hazel Galery as individual postcards at 95 p each or a set of 15 for £10, along with large mounted East Anglia landscape prints at £75 each.
Our second featured artist for 2014 is Lauren Kelly, an Art Teacher and Printmaker from Wivenhoe. She took a Printmaking module whilst studying for her Masters and hasn’t looked back since.
Lauren has been making prints seriously for about three years, experimenting with many different methods before settling into Lino print with the occasional etching. She says “My love of printmaking started at university; even though I studied Graphic Design, I still used screen printing for a lot of my work. When I started teaching I studied for a Masters in Education and chose a Printmaking module as part of that – I haven’t stopped printing since!”
When it comes to lino, Lauren says “I really enjoy the process of cutting lino, its very therapeutic and I like the unpredictability of lino printing as a method. Every time you print it’s a surprise to see the outcome.”
Despite her claim of living in “the smallest house in Wivenhoe” Lauren still has room in her loft studio to draw, prepare and cut her lino. Luckily she can use the school (out of hours of course!) to get her printing done. “I feel really lucky being able to use my classroom, its like my own huge studio space!” she also managed to find and restore an old unused printing press, which now gets used in lessons. Lucky students!
Something else that Lauren gets from teaching is inspiration “I definitely learn as much from the pupils as they do from me, and taking them on regular trips to galleries always gives an inspirational boost.” Along with the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements, she also gets inspired closer to home “my brother is training as a tattoo artist and I’ve started to plan some prints based on traditional tattoo designs.” We can’t wait to see them!
A range of Lauren’s Lino printed work is available from Hazel Gallery, including her popular reduction prints and (a Hazel Gallery bestseller!) handprinted Butterfly greetings cards at £2 each.
On Wednesday 22nd January we showcased the St Botolph’s Waiting Room project in Colchester Library and Community Hub. Hazel Gallery had a pop up shop, resident chef, Charlie Stocker, prepared food using foraged ingredients, Annemarie of Common Futures reported on the Library-Hack-Maker Space and Amy Turnbull & Alex Davies demonstrated a finger knitting workshop using craft kit boxes prepared by Alex. We had a great response from everyone and are planning future ‘St Botolph’s Waiting Room on tour’ events!
January’s featured artist is Elena Fleury-Rojo, who specialises in both blown and flameworked glass and trades under the name Red Flower Glass from her home studio in Colchester.
Most of the works that Elena has in Hazel Gallery are small, delicate and intricate pieces of flameworked glass. ‘Blown glass is my passion but I also love the ability of using flameworked glass in conjunction with other materials. For example, my latest flameworked collection ‘Children’s Stories in Glass’ mixes pages from old children’s story books with my glass pieces.’
Although working with the small torch can be limiting in one aspect, it also provides a creative challenge that has its own rewards. She says ‘I love trying to push the boundaries of free form sculptures which I can manipulate in the flame and the versatility that can be achieved.’
At home, her purpose built studio houses a flameworking area and cold shop (the cutting and polishing of glass). From here she has recently started teaching flameworking on a one-to-one basis, which we’ve been fortunate enough to try and can definitely recommend!
Blown glass is Elena’s other specialism, of that she says ‘for my blown work, nature and organic forms are my main inspiration. I love the free flowing forms and tactile essence of nature.’ Despite not having a dedicated space ‘I have to rent hot shop space (the actual blowing of glass) from other glass blowers’ Elena hopes to one day set up her own glass blowing studio in Colchester.
Elena has a range of work available at Hazel Gallery, including prints of her stunning blown glass work, glass jewellery and her popular ‘Children’s Stories’ series. Her full and half-day flameworking courses are available to beginners and intermediates.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on courses.
The old left luggage kiosk has been transformed into a beautiful installation and shop until Christmas.
Sally Ure Reid has taken over Kiosk Two, next door to the Hazel Gallery pop up, with her exciting new community craft and making project, ‘ALLINTHEMAKING’.
ALLINTHEMAKING supports people by helping them to move from unemployment to becoming self-employed. Sally says ‘We offer training of craft skills in sections of the community that do not have easy access to these skills and introduce the concept of craft working at home, providing skills for self sufficiency.’ The project also offers an outlet for selling the crafts that are made. Products are designed and made with a number of organisations in the Colchester area, including Red House, The Haven, Ceda and Signpost. The crafts on sale in Kiosk Two include beautiful white ceramic icicles and upcycled furniture.
Sally explains a little about how she intends the project to evolve: ‘ALLINTHEMAKING aims to provide a service for designers to have their designs made locally. It can oversee the prototyping of the product and quality control. As a community interest company it will feed profits back into the community, similar to the well known ‘fair trade’ policy of products that are made abroad. Our aim is to counteract rising poverty and lack of skills closer to home.’
‘ALLINTHEMAKING’ is open in Kiosk Two at St Botolph’s Waiting Room Wed-Sat afternoons throughout December until Christmas.