Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Interview with Ian Sanders

Last week I was approached by writer Ian Sanders to arrange a meeting to discuss a possible article in the next issue of the publication 'Trawler'.

Ian wanted to tell the 'Annabel Story'.  Wow!  I was and am incredibly flattered.  

We arranged to meet at Utopia Coffee Lounge in Southend on Sea.  Somewhere where I am familiar with - it's just in town near where I live, but I never really go in there.  My other half is the coffee lover, I have a penchant for herbal teas.

When I walked in I was pleasantly surprised.  I regularly drive past the place but didn't realise it was so.. quirky!  Due to its location (Southend High Street -ish) I had unfortunately pre judged and always dismissed it (even though it always looks very busy from outside)  

It wouldn't be amiss in Leigh, or London or Brighton..The walls are adorned with art and comic book wallpaper and the chairs are a mish mash of low couches, leather tubs and vintage chairs with comfy cushions.  The menu is written by hand on chalkboards and they brew their own coffee, and you can tell - it smells delicious when I walk in and there is a good mix of people -older women chatting on the sofas, a young family eating their lunch and a couple of studenty types with attached to their earphones and laptops.  There's a great vibe!

Ian was waiting for me in the corner, we exchange pleasantries and Ian gets me a pot of peppermint tea.  I've met Ian a couple of times before through my shop - his son's have been to a couple of clay workshops, but also via Made In Leigh - his wife Zoe asked me to be a speaker at one of their events.

A snapshot of Ian's Instagram after our interview

We have a nice chat about Trawler, where we see it going in the future and about Leigh on Sea and then we are off.  He sets his voice recorder and we chat about me! Yikes!  We speak about how I got into ceramics at university and my old studio in Leighcliff Road and then my studio and gallery in Leigh Road and how it came about that I have work in Downing Street.

We speak about influences on my work, how I like providing narrative and how I am grreatly influenced by psychogeography and the Flaneur.  The art of looking up, down and around - being really aware of yout surroundings.

We spoke about more, but I will leave you to read the finished article!  I will keep you posted when and where it's available!

It was really great chatting with Ian.  He works a couple of days in London and the others 'at home' in Leigh or Southend.  Places like Utopia And Barlow & Fields in Leigh are his workplace.  Speaking to him made me realise that other creatives face the same challenges I do from Social Media to finding inspiration.  I think it's important to be in London (or away from the studio) some of the time and I think that's something I'm going to take away from this interview.  

I seem to have forgotten that my work is all about creating a narrative and exploring and finding that story.  I will be using the days that I am not in the studio or wander, go up to the big smoke, see some exhibitions, people watch.  Maybe just even sit in a coffee shop and drink in my surroundings - with a pot of peppermint tea, of course.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A Visit to The Hive Studios

On Friday morning I visited The Hive Studios in Chelmsford for a cup of tea and a natter with the artists. 

It's something I've been meaning to do for quite a while - Kymberly of Fitzygogo! (who had a pop up shop last year at my gallery and makes t-shirts and prints adorned with vintage comic book style faces) had invited me, but we both were so busy we could never put a date in the diary.

Unfortunately the leading lady Karen (who set up the studios) was unable to be there, but Kymberly, Tracey, Kitty, Janie, Jill & Cherry (essex girl speaks) were all there to welcome me with a warm cuppa and a biscuit or two!  Check out their website giving a bit more info about themselves here.

We had a lovely chat, catching up with what all of us were doing and also gave each other advice of where we could take our artworks and products next - fairs, markets, exhibitions etc

Here is a peek at Kymberly's studio space:

Below is Kitty's space.  I just loved Kitty's illustrations, I loved the colours and the compositions!  I told her that some of her subject matter and her style was very quirky and would work really well in East London at the markets and art fairs there.  I'd also love to see some of her designs on greeting cards!

An overall shot of the studio:

I love how all the artists are together and not separated.  It must mean they can bounce creative ideas off of each other - it had a real nice feeling.

A cheeky little sign hanging in the bathroom!  As found by Kymberly in a vintage magazine!

I also took a look at a look at Janie's studio - just across the way from The Hive.  She works in there with her partner.  This is one of Janie's pieces that I found interesting.  It reminded me of speech bubbles!

Overall, I had a really nice time at The Hive and something a little bit wonderful has arisen from my visit.  Next year, The Hive Artists will be exhibiting here at miss annabel dee* gallery & studios!  Hurrah!  It will be really nice to showcase their work.

Watch This Space!*