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.