Saturday, 20 November 2010

Antique Keys . .

I know I'm not the only one who has an obsession with these things.. So I thought I'd dedicate a post to them. I've acquired old keys from everywhere - the internet, family members, junk shops, antique shops, car boots.. I just can't get enough of them!

I think it's the mystery that surrounds them that makes them so appealing. Not knowing who it belonged to, wondering what it was used for.. Did it open a gate to a secret garden? A secret room? A treasure chest?

I thought I'd share a couple of things I've been working on -
First up, a skeleton key garland to hang wherever you please! This little beauty has been sent across the country to a lovely girlie, as part of a swap package. I am SO making one of these for myself! It starts with a braided base of vintage floral fabric and ribbons, and the keys are wrapped in the same florals as the base, each key was looped onto the garland as I plaited and it's all finished off with vintage buttons and some skinny ribbon at each end to tie it up with!

Second, a bib style necklace with a faded blue felt base, rolled muslin and lace roses, the pink flower in the middle was made from reclaimed sari fabric and the whole thing is finished off with a sweet little antique key, tied down with vintage lace bows, vintage glass pearls and a vintage button! These necklaces are so much fun to make and of course each has the opportunity to be a complete one-off piece, I'm really looking forward to making more!

I'd love to know what you all think! ♥

Monday, 15 November 2010

I was Interviewed!

A few weeks ago I was approached by the fabulous Lorrie at Chichester Creative Network, who interviewed me to find out what I'm upto and what I do! I loved answering all the questions and thought I'd share it here for anyone who is interested in finding out a bit more about me :) Not only was it featured on the wonderful Chichester Creative Network blog, but also on the UK Handmade blog!

Name: Louise Knight-Richardson

Business: Photographer, Artist, Maker

Location: Chichester, West Sussex

Dearest Jackdaw
What the Jackdaw Saw

"Introducing Louise Knight-Richardson, a talented young photographer, artist and maker living and working in Chichester. I came across Louise on Twitter and Etsy, and was immediately struck by the translucent and whimsical quality of her lovely photography, her quirky and upbeat personality, and decided to find out more."

Tell us about your background?

I have been interested in art and design since I was a child, and have completed several courses in the subject. When I finished secondary school, I remember feeling like I was the only person in the world who didn’t have a ‘plan’. I was never very good at academic subjects (which I later discovered in my final year of college, after putting myself forward for an assessment – was due to dyslexia, poor comprehension and deficit in working memory!), but managed to get the grades I needed to go on to college, where I embarked on a two-year course in fashion design and construction (BTEC National Diploma in Fashion & Clothing). The course taught me everything I needed to know, from the history, design and illustration aspects, to the more technical side of pattern cutting and production. I adored everything the course had to offer. I loved dreaming up a beautiful dress, putting it to paper and then making it come to life. There was something magical about it.

I finished the course with a very satisfying grade, which offered me a gateway to university. But, what did I want to do with my new found skill? I always found that there was something not quite right during my fashion course. It was all very well seeing all these beautiful dresses sat there on mannequins looking pretty, but I found myself creating what I can only describe as ‘sets’ in my head, like a film set, and imagining what the dresses would look like placed amongst them. I’d draw and paint to no avail. No matter how much I tried, I just wasn’t satisfied. Nothing was real enough.

At the end of my course I took a drastic step and took up photography. I always had a simple point and shoot 35mm camera and loved snapping away throughout my childhood, but I’d never tried capturing art with it. The thought of having the ability to recreate those scenes in my head and transfer them to paper really excited me.

I started an Art Foundation course with the intention of taking photography as one of my majors. Unfortunately, once the course began, I was told that there wasn’t enough interest in the photography workshops and so it was dropped from the course. This set me back a little, but I was determined to succeed, and if it meant teaching myself, then that was how it was going to be! I took textiles and graphics as my majors so I could incorporate photography into my work. It turned out really well and I taught myself everything I possibly could about the dynamics of photography, how my camera worked etc.

After finishing the course I decided to combine my passions for fashion and photography, and have gradually built up my own style in both.

Tell us about what you do!

I draw, paint, design, sew and photograph. I love all things creative! I have a little ideas book I was given as a gift a few years ago. It sat unused in a drawer for a long time as it was so pretty I didn’t want to use it as a notebook that would eventually just be discarded. So I started sketching and writing down all my ideas in it. This book has proved invaluable and when I feel like I have no inspiration whatsoever, I just have a little flick through it and the imagination goes wild! If I want a prop for a photo shoot that I think I can make, I’ll usually make it – for example, right now I’m in the process of making some dainty little antlers!

What is your greatest achievement?

Having the patience and determination to teach myself something completely new without giving up when things got too complicated.

When I got my first camera I switched it straight into Manual mode, that way I was in complete control of the camera and was able to learn from my mistakes. It was incredibly frustrating, and at times I really did just want to give up if I couldn’t get the image I had in my head. But each time I felt I couldn’t improve, I just pushed myself and kept trying, and it always seemed to work!

Who or what inspires you?

I find inspiration in absolutely everything and anything! I’ll often be walking along and see a great location, be it a lake, woodland or just an interesting doorway and try to picture how I could use that spot in an image. Or, I’ll see an old pair of unloved curtains and think “Oh, those would make an amazing dress or bag!”

When I’m sewing, I’ll adapt my iTunes playlist to the style of work I’m doing at the time. I feel it can have a big impact on how your brain works whilst in the planning stages of a project. It’s the same with my art. Back in college I used to put heavy metal on during a painting session to help with the look I was trying to portray, it always seemed to work so I’ve always stuck by it!
Music videos, lyrics, fairytales and childhood memories all play a big part towards inspiring all of my work.

What do you hope to be doing in five years time?

I hope to have set-up a successful business for my handmade pieces!

When you aren’t fully occupied taking pictures, making and creating…what are you doing?

I float around town making jewellery look pretty in the shops! I also enjoy spending time roaming around the great outdoors looking for new and exciting places to explore. Generally, if I’m not doing any of the above, I will be out and about sourcing interesting new materials for projects, or props for my shoots!

What projects are you working on now?

At the moment I’m concentrating on making quirky clothing and jewellery out of reclaimed materials – I can’t stand to see things go to waste and so have started collecting interesting remnants and vintage linens, and combining them to come up with something unique. I find it really therapeutic, and discovering interesting combinations of materials that you wouldn’t otherwise place together. It’s amazing how I can start out with just a scrap of fabric, a string of lace, or even just a little button, and end up with an amazing garment to be proud of!

Once I’ve made enough stock up, I’ll be working on setting up my clothing and gift shop. I also have a little online print store called “What the Jackdaw Saw” where people can buy a small selection of my photographic prints.

I’m also in the middle of a self-portrait project that needs a bit of catching up, it’s been very challenging, but has allowed me to really let go with some of my ideas that are personal to me.

Last but not least, I write a blog called “Dearest Jackdaw” which is relatively new, but I’m hoping in time will become popular with crafts fans!

Finally, any words of wisdom for other creative people?

Never give up. Never let people tell you your limits. Understand that your work is precious and those who don’t value what you do don’t deserve to be a part of it. Most of all, NEVER make the mistake of helping people who won’t help themselves. I learnt the hard way with this one, fortunately for me it only made me stronger but it could have turned out much worse!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Giveaway Winner Announced!

My first ever giveaway has come to an end and so this evening I wrote out the names of each entrant and put them into a hat, gave it a good shuffle and asked my other half to pick a name.

I've really enjoyed reading everybody's ideas of clever uses for these little pouches, thank you ALL so so much for entering!

*Drum roll please*

CONGRATULATIONS to 'AliTim David' who entered via my Facebook page! An email has been sent to you for postage details so I can get your little pouch on its way to you <3

Keep an eye out for my next giveaway for the opportunity to win yourselves more goodies!