This September will see over 100 makers join the online event, including plenty of new faces! Meet three of our new MADE Makers: Andrew Byham, Jane Sarre and Kate Welton, who talk about their methods and inspiration.
Tell us more about the methods you love to use.
Andrew Byham: “I use almost exclusively hand tools. Axe, straight and curved knives for spoons, hook tools for turning wooden bowls, draw knife and foot powered pole lathe. Everything is carved or turned from “green” wood. This is as fresh and moist as possible so I can carve into it with hand tools. All making methods are in line with traditional woodcraft, a.k.a. bodging!
Jane Sarre: “My process begins with slowly walking and exploring, being with and soaking in. Ideas are developed through drawing, collage and print-making. Exploring these then informs the construction of sculptural ceramic pieces. The ceramic pieces are hand-built in a heavily grogged white stoneware and high fired in a reduction kiln. Surface patination is built up using oxides, stains and engobes as they interact with the flame.”
Kate Welton: “All of my ceramic work is made on the potter’s wheel, using stoneware clay. When the clay reaches a leather-hard state (this usually takes around a day) I apply my abstract designs using a variety of slip decorating techniques.”
How did you find inspiration during lockdown?
Andrew Byham: “Lockdown has given me the time to focus on turning bowls, which I was relatively inexperienced with before. Someone I know said you should turn the first 100 bowls without thinking about them. So, I set about doing just that. The principal is sound – you gain a lot from just making and making, without the emotional stress that comes with things that don’t work out as well as you hope.”
Jane Sarre: “Being away from the sites that I usually focus on gave me the opportunity to return to an old interest in print-making. I temporarily re-purposed a ceramic slab roller as a printing press. I plan to share some of these prints for the first time at MADE Makers.”
Kate Welton: “In the first weeks of lockdown I was away from my wheel and studio. I took home some clay, and a few tools to make some pinch pots. It was liberating exploring a technique I had not used in years, making just for the sake of making. Those pinch pots are now feeding into my thrown work, both in terms of form and surface decoration. I think that time gave me the space to continue experimenting with my mark making, taking influences from ancient pottery and the patterns found on my daily walks.”
What do you think the arts sector will need to move forward?
Andrew Byham: “We need people to understand the value of buying from a person, and understanding why that person does what they do. As crafts people, we can’t compete with the low cost and huge variety of products that large online platforms sell. But there’s a story behind everything we make.”
Jane Sarre: “I hope that the lockdown has demonstrated to people the value of the arts sector and culture. Hopefully we will see a shift in behaviour as people act on this.”
Kate Welton: “With the cancellation of many shows and fairs this year, having the opportunity to showcase my work virtually will enable me to connect with an audience engaged directly with contemporary craft. Online events like MADE Makers also provide a hugely accessible way to share behind-the-scenes content. We can give visitors a great insight into the work that goes into every handmade piece.”