My name is Tara Turner and I am a fine art photographer and digital artist who has a driving passion to capture the beauty of my surrounding environment, whether it be a misty landscape, a moody sky or an old brick wall with a hundred stories to tell. I focus on combining my two favourite genres of photography- landscape and urban. By merging these two mediums I hope to make a statement about how as people we affect the environment around us. As well I hope to evoke emotion by creating a visually appealing, unique and imaginative piece of work, as ultimately in the end, some things can’t only been seen…they must be felt
I adore this crochet silver ring!
Lena Marie Echelle: The assumption of jewelry as tactile is a basic component of the definition of jewelry as distinguished from other art forms, and it is part of the intimacy of the medium. Because of this, texture and movement are as important as color in my work. Many of my pieces open or close, have moving pieces, bells, or secret elements that rattle within hollow spaces. I use mixed metals in my work, building up dimension and texture through shell forming, folding, forging, punching, repousse and chasing techniques. In a simple process where silver dust and filings are fused to copper sheet, I have found a method that produces wonderfully reticulate surface textures and beautiful color contrast. The excitement of the unknown and the timely recollection of previous ideas, the practice of creating and distilling forms and concepts, and the pleasure of seeing others’ reactions to my jewelry encourage me to keep working.
In this post I am going to profile Designers Eclectic (DE), a Manchester, UK based collective of jewelry designer-makers. DE is based in the Manchester Craft and Design Centre – see my previous profile of the Centre.
DE was launched in October 2009 by Jane Dziesiwski, Stephanie Brown, Sue Barry, Helen Pickering Pick, Michelle Appleton and Carly Townsend. The founding designers met while completing a Foundation Degree in Jewellery and Applied Arts in Manchester. The course was a turning point in the designers’ lives and some were turning their backs on successful careers to study. What the designers had in common was passion for their work and the drive to succeed in a new field making unique jewelry and accessories. DE was borne out of this passion and upon graduating the students decided to form the collective to support each other moving forward.
DE’s aim is to design and produce unique handmade jewellery and accessories. The six DE designers produce very varied work, even when working to identical briefs, which means that the collective offers a wide range of work catering for a variety of tastes and budgets. The collective was extremely brave in deciding to launch a new business during one of the worst recessions in history! In order to keep overheads low, DE looked to MCAD for studio space. As the Centre offers affordable rents and great support services, it was an obvious choice. In addition, DE was able to secure both studio and retail space, meaning that the designers can make the jewelry on-site, often while customers watch.
“Being part of the community within Manchester Craft & Design Centre has been a fantastic experience. The other tenants have been really welcoming, and now I actually look forward to going to work”, says Stephanie Brown.
“We get lots of support from the office too”, adds Jane Dziesiwski. “The industry is surprisingly small and Kate Day, MCAD Director, always makes sure that we know about up-and-coming opportunities and events”
DE finds that working in a collective offers a number of benefits, including reduced overheads and getting inspiration from each other. The responsibility of staffing the studio is also shared, meaning that messy processes such as etching and using resin can be done off the premises and the more customer-friendly silversmithing and textiles work can be carried out within MCAD.
The only downside to the business is lack of time, a sentiment I am sure many other designer-makers would echo. The designers are all extremely busy individuals and are each heavily active in regional groups and networks, including MCAD, Manchester Jewellers’ Network and the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. However, the collective has found rewarding careers turning a passion into a profitable business and I for one am envious.
My husband and I have collected many pieces from one our favorite artists, Leia Bell. We are especially fond of her venue posters that she has designed over the past decade. It’s always thrilling when one of our favorite bands has been married to Leia’s fabulous art! The lines in her work remind me of block cut prints and her bold use of color is unique and happy.
Leia writes this about herself:
After graduating with a BFA in Printmaking in 2001, I really had no idea how I could ever use my fancy art degree until I started hanging out with Phil, the owner of the rock venue I frequented (it’s called Kilby Court, if you were wondering). He suggested that I screenprint posters for the venue– small, colorful, eye-catching pieces that would also be collectible to the townsfolk. The plan seemed to work beautifully, for not long after I would hang up my posters, I’d walk back by the same spot and they would already be swiped. So then it began.
Aside from being an artist, Leia is also a mother to three young children. I am always inspired when I read about artists who also manage a family and a business. I’m sure there is never a dull moment! You can read more about Leia here.
These featured pieces are some of the posters that I have in my personal collection. Leia has posters, art prints, paintings and drawing available over at her website. Go see what you can find!
Smoking hot and handmade. It gets no better than this.
With easy-twirl tassels, they have thought of everything.
Visit Gothfox Designs to see many more styles. Most are under $20.