I have always found it fascinating to see behind the scenes of other people’s work processes, so I decided to share some of mine.
I often sketch down ideas as I work or in between studio time. I find it really helps to bring together all of the ideas I have into one cohesive series once I get to the studio.
I mostly draw botanical subjects but it can be as simple as a key of a map or a pattern on a carpet and I have to note it down.
I use a mix of ink pens, chalk pens and water-colour pencils.
Hopefully this will give a bit more insight into how I work and where my designs come from.
My latest sketches are inspired by my trip to the Isle of Mull where I was photographing the m,any types of lichen there. I am drawn to the variety in colour and texture that you find in different types of lichen and fungi. I’ve been working on layering shades of colour and detail to build up the effect.
Below you can see my sketches on the left next to the photos of lichen that I had worked from on the right.
While I was working on a new series of Dome Plates, I wanted to create bright, modern designs which drew on abstract botanical themes. I drew a lot of ferns and trees and tried to distil these down into simple line drawings. To translate these drawings onto the clay I started to work with slip and latex resist. I would outline the ferns or other designs on the leatherhard clay in latex and then use slip over the surface. Once I’d removed the latex and bisque fired the plates, I drew the detail of the design freehand using an underglaze pencil.
I’m also really interested in pattern and surface design. You can see again, as with the picture below (top left) that scandinavian embroidery is something that influences me throughout.
I also start to explore using signs and symbols as with the camping and sailing drawings (top right; bottom left). I love the simplicity and familiarity of signs like these, especially for me, having been brought up in the countryside by the North Sea. I’m thinking of perhaps refining the sketches and getting decals made of them to decorate a series of hip flasks – always welcome on any camping trip!
The red sketch in the middle and the jelly fish design to the right of it are born of my love for the work of Tove Jansson, most famous for being the creator of the Moomins, but also an artist and writer. She would often hide a Moomin or two in her more ‘serious’ murals and artworks and I was keen to explore creating a few characters which could pop up throughout my work. I still haven’t quite settled on what they would be (or found a good name for them!) but it’s something I keep finding myself coming back to so I thought I would include them.
The rest are mostly sketches working on pattern, borders, botanical or nature designs. That, and trying out my new chalk pens which work well to create more vividly coloured watercolours.