Artwave 2018

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I am writing this from my home-exchange house in Northern Italy (we do love a home-exchange, and of course – for me – being obsessed with interiors and architecture it’s a perfect way to holiday!)

It’s nearing the end of our time away and whilst in many ways it will be sad to say goodbye to Italy I am getting really quite excited about my whistle-stop tour of Artwave 2018 which I am planning for Sunday.

Earlier on in the year I was asked to be one of the official sponsors/supporters of the festival which I immediately accepted as last year I had loved visiting a great selection of artists including Andy Pointon Design, Christian FunnellVictoria Albequerque, Alexander Johnson and Anouk Emmanuel.

The festival is really well established and this year, I hear, is proving to be  the most popular Artwave yet. The festival really is a testament to the vast community of talented artists we have in Lewes and the neighbouring towns and villages. Last year I visited artists from every trail but this year I am taking a closer look at the Lewes trail.

I have a hefty list of venues that I’m planning on visiting this weekend and in anticipation I have interviewed three of these awesome individuals to find a little more about them. These artists are Tanya Gomez, Deborah Manson, and Sarah Money,

Let’s start with my interview with wonderful ceramist Tanya Gomez:

Tanya Gomez – Venue 92

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Tell us a little about yourself, how did your career as a ceramist get started?

I am a ceramist living and working in Lewes with my family. After working on sailing yachts for years, travelling the world and living by the coast I had a calling in my twenties , a feeling in my gut that I wanted to make things out of clay, I was in my twenties and decided to go to the Camberwell College of Art to study Art and Design. I then furthered my skills at the University of Brighton, BA Craft and Design, and finally later I completed a 2 year MA at The Royal College of Art in Ceramics and Glass. I have honed my skills over the last 15 years to create large cylindrical shapes which I think make an impact both individually and as a group, the vessels create expressive, vivid landscapes and fluid, architectural forms. Due to my experience living by the coast I have absorbed the abstract qualities of colour and shape, particularly at sea and used this to inspire my work.

 Can you describe your creative process?

I mainly throw on the wheel. Using the wheel as my tool to create vessels. I work intuitively and it is through the making that inspires different process. I enjoy learning new techniques and exploring them.

Tanya Gomez ceramics, Sept 2014.

What/where/who inspires you?

The Sea inspires me. When I create my vessels I am  conscious of natural phenomena, dramatic landscapes and the diverse qualities of the sea. From travelling the globe I absorbed the colousr, shapes and diverse cultures… all of these inspire my work.

I am fascinated by the idea of creating an overwhelming sense of something that is so overpowering that one cannot comprehend its boundaries. This sensation can be translated into a piece by following a line, and using rhythm, balance, tension or colour.

The work is decorative but can be accompanied but a complimentary flower or foliage so they have the possibility to be functional if desired.

How has your work/focus changed over the years? How would you describe your work now?

My latest collection of work continues in the vein of a rooted connection to water but goes beyond the sea with its fluid forms into looking at textures of icebergs and stones. as well asthe hues of these too. I have also explored  differences in texture through the forming of Celadon and Chun glazes to run more, gain texture or enhance translucency.

Through a process of cutting away, with glazes hanging heavily over the top, I have  created a sense of the weight and fissures of glacial patters.  The narrower bases give the vessels a sense of fragility, as if being eroded by water, just as glaciers are truly being eroded by climate change.

group of threeWhat is the most challenging aspect of your role as an artist?

Family life is full and juggling time and being focused is a challenge. I need to have patience, sometimes there just is not enough time and so it’s about realizing that what I do is a life time journey and that not everything is going to be done in a day.

Where do you work? Can you describe your workspace?

I am very fortunate to have my studio at the back of the house for the last 8 years. It is a converted garage. I call it my ship . Everything has its place and space has to be used wisely. It is a fully functional studio where I can do one-to-one lessons and run workshops from.

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If you could meet an artist from history who would it be and why?

Frida Kahlo. It would be great to hang out with someone who seemed to of had a vigour for life and a woman of inner strength and empowerment.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in ceramics?

Believe in what you are creating. If not you will never be happy.

Deborah Manson – Venue 89

Next up is Deborah Manson who creates beautiful textiles perfect for the home. I was immediately drawn to her cushions and throws and can’t wait to go and visit her. Here is what Deborah had to say…

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Tell us a little about yourself, have you always wanted to be an artist?

I was brought up in the Midlands, in Coventry. I loved drawing as a child and carried around a brown suitcase full of felt tip pens. I drew all the time. At school art was my favourite subject and what I was best at. I never considered doing anything other than art.

How did your career get started?

I studied Illustration at Central St Martins in the early 1990’s. It was a great time to be at art school, education was free and London was still an affordable place to live. Artists could afford to rent a studio and live cheaply in alternative and affordable housing such as cooperatives and squats.  This allowed artists and creatives to work without too much financial pressure and encouraged great creativity in the city. My career started at this time, I rented a studio on Brick Lane and worked as a freelance designer and illustrator. I now realise how fortunate I was to be able to live and work in London in this way.

Can you describe your creative process?

Whether I’m working with paper or cloth, I look for relationships between shapes and colour to make compositions. I paint papers with inks and fabric dyes to make abstract collages, and colour cloth with natural dyes such as indigo, madder and weld, transforming used, and old fabrics to make quilts and other textiles.  My heirloom quilts are bespoke, made for a particular place or person, so the process will include a discussion about fabrics, colours and designs.

I am in the process of making a quilt for a mountain home in Italy, the design and colours will contrast with the simple, rustic interiors of the house’s bedroom. I hand quilt with cotton threads.   Hand quilting is slow and meditative, and is a very important part of the design and making process.   There are many relationships between my paper collages and my textiles.

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What/where/who inspires you?

I look to the past for inspiration as well as contemporary art and design. Some  of the things that inspire me are American quilt making, folk art and textiles, interior spaces, early modern art and the textiles of the Bauhaus weaving workshop.

How has your work/focus changed over the years? How would you describe your work now?

My work changes and responds to my interests. In my early career I was interested in using digital technology to make illustration and design, but now I prefer to work with my hands. I now make quilts and textiles for interior spaces from naturally dyed, printed and found cloth.   I am particularly interested in diverse ways to dye and print using natural pigments and traditional techniques.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role as an artist?

Finding enough time to dedicate to making work and balancing family life.

Where do you work? Can you describe your workspace?

I currently work in my garden studio which I am very lucky to have. It’s a functional studio space, equipped with print, dye and sewing equipment.  I also teach textiles and consider this as part of my practice. At the moment I teach at phoenix Brighton and from my home studio.

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If you could meet an artist from history who would it be and why?

That’s difficult, there are so many, but I think it would be Hannah Hoch. She was such an interesting artist, working in a male dominated world, making radical work about gender, race and society at the beginning of the twentieth century after world war one. She was part of the Berlin DADA group of artists. She was a pioneer of collage and her work also has a wicked sense of humour. I really admire her.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in textiles?

Question your design and making process, its impact on the environment and your place in a sustainable future.

Sarah Money – Venue 91

Sculptor Sarah Money will be exhibiting at The Garden Studio along with other artists at this year’s Artwave. When flicking through the brochure for the first time I stopped and gazed at the bust of a woman crafted in Sarah’s unique style. I found it totally arresting and so had to contact Sarah to hear a little about her…

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Tell us a little about yourself

I am a sculptor living and working in the beautiful rural village of Chiddingly, East Sussex with my family. Prior to being a sculptor I studied

dance and performance theatre.

How did your career get started? Have you always wanted to be a sculptor?

My first experience of working with clay was when I was 16 during my art class , I felt an immediate connection and flow when working in 3D , however it took me another 30 years before I started sculpting again. Finding my own style of working with clay was about trying new things, making mistakes and trying again .

Once I’d  found it I felt free to explore and experiment. Which brings me to were  I am now .

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How has your work/focus changed over the years? How would you describe your work now?

Right now I find myself wanting to simplify what I sculpt.  What I mean by that is, less obvious detail, and the importance of shape, movement and angles .

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What/where/who inspires you?

My inspiration, unsurprisingly comes from my life experiences and a whole collection of artists that I have either looked at, watched , or listened to. I am also inspired by Rose Beal, my teacher and mentor.

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If you could meet an artist from history who would it be?

If I’m pressed to give a names , the Sculptors Brian Taylor and Rodin spring to mind!

Artwave 2018 is running until the 2nd September, find out more here and don’t forget to follow their instagram here.
You can pick up a brochure from Lewes, Seaford and Newhaven tourist infortmation centres of read a digital copy on the website.