Amelia’s Magazine | Lesley Craze Gallery: Christmas Late Night Opening 2011

Photography preseves a moment forever – it marks and preserves time as it has been spent. It is, information pills to draw Barthes into the conversation, a memento mori. Amy Gwatkin’s photographs (BA Editorial Photography, Brighton) blur the boundaries between fashion, editorial and fine art. Amy’s frequently updated blog documents shoots, time spent in the studio with models or other-sometimes-coffee-relative-activities, and has an incredible talent for turning personal adventures into moments representing a snapshop of a life.

An exhibition late last year – Interior Politics – and the launch of a new website introduced me to Amy’s exploration into the minuite obsqure moments that life has to offer. More recently Amy has been experimenting with film, and has kindly taken the time to answer questions for Amelia’s Magazines.

Amy! When and why did you first pick up a stills camera?

Because using the film camera involved waiting on unrealiable people! And I instantly loved it. I was supposed to do something more bookish at uni, but the minute I found a camera I was smitten. I had been obsessed with fashion since I could toddle into my grandma’s/mum’s wardrobes; suddenly I had found a way that I could make imagery without having any drawing ability!

LIGHT from Amy Gwatkin on Vimeo.

Recently you’ve been experimenting with video: debuting with a video of the Cooperative Designs S/S 2010 Collection at London Fashion Week to the recent Light submitted as part of the Shaded View of Fashion, Fashion Film Festival – What inspired the expansion from static to moving?

I always wanted to make films…. Photography offered a way of making images that wasn’t reliant on other people. I’m still a total megalomaniac though! Very often it’s literally just me and a camera.

Showstudio have been attempting to develop the moving fashion photograph since the inception of their website, I love both the static and the moving – What are your favourite fashion videos?

I loved Ruth Hogben’s spanking movie. Sunshowers by Elisha Smith-Leverock. Chris Cunningham’s Flora film for Gucci. Gwendoline by Jez Tozer. And the men’s Dior one in a corridor, was it Dior? It was on Nowness and it was lush. I find at lot of fashion films very hit or miss though – the best were the re-edited Guy Bourdin footage that was on SHOWstudio, that I could, and do, watch over and over and over….

What made you decide to set up your blog? What do you think the advantages are of a blog vs a website?

Originally it was to give me some online presence as my old website was out of date and my new one was being built…then I just really got into it. I like that the blog can have more laidback images, where I have less of a professional front to put up. But I love how clean and tidy the site is.

Collage for the Cooperative Design Zine produced as part of London Fashion Week February 2010

You appear to be quite involved with the internet from your great twitter feed to your blog – what advantages do you think the system of blogs and twitter has created for photographers and fellow creatives?

Well, I guess it opens up little internet wormholes you wouldn’t have known about before…although I can follow a link and find myself, 2 hours later, marvelling at how many photographers there are doing the same sort of thing.

It’s a good platform for self promotion, though it does blur the line between business and pleasure a little uncomfortably at times

Do you streetcast your models?

I often see people on the street that I’m too nervous to ask! But sometimes I overcome my nerves long enough to street cast. I think I have a few characteristics I like, though its hard to nail them in words. A certain bad-temperedness maybe.

Your photograph reflects both fine art and fashion photographic interests – could you tell Amelia’s readers more about the photographs recently exhibited? (I’m thinking of the Familiarity breeds contempt and Modern Miniture series)

Familiarity Breeds Contempt is an extension of my long term project tentatively titled The Housewife – it’s hopefully the start of a longer project exploring sexuality, fantasy and what goes on behind closed doors. Which is also what Modern Miniatures was about in a way – only without the overt sexuality. I have a interest in the domestic, with other people’s domestic/private space, putting myself in them, and also, if I’m honest, with the risk involved in contacting strange men on the internet, asking them to get naked, and them taking pictures of me standing on them etc…

With fashion how do you make the decision between colour or black and white? Does it Matter?

I’m always trying to make things b/w, without sounding mental/pretentious/partially sighted, I see better in b/w. sometimes there’s someone else’s prerogative to take into account, like a client etc. black and white can sometimes make things instantly nostalgic and a bit too soft or romantic. Depends on the situation, but there are few where b/w doesn’t rock in my opinion!

Photograph for Corrie Williamson

Favourite photographers/people to work with/Set designers/fashion designers?

I rarely DON’T have a wicked time on shoots.

Sets – Alex Cunningham, David White’s sets for Coop a/w10/11 were mint
Designers – Cooperative Designs, Scott Ramsay Kyle, Corrie Williamson, Fred Butler, Atalanta Weller
Photograhers I admire – Wee Gee, Helmut Newton, Collier Schorr, Les Krims, Duane Michals, David Armstrong among MANY others!

What is it like being a london based photographer?

Fun! Busy. Forces you to work a lot to make ends meet, which can wear you down. Over saturated. Very youth orientated

What accompanies you in the studio?

My crappy selection of music! I always download the weirdest selection of stuff. Some proper howlers on there, but sometimes you have to listen to the Outhere Brothers. Also the lovely Anna Leader and Bella Fenning with whom I share my space.

What do you hope your photographs convey?

Tough…. I find it quite hard to look back, to edit etc, but having to do my website forced me to do that, and there is a certain strength in the characters I hope. I know some of the shots are quite moody, or gentle, but I don’t like it when models look too winsome or fashion-fierce or posed. Hopefully somewhere between the two, though I do seem to shout things like ‘you’re at a bus stop!’ or ‘You’re a sexy eel!’

How do your shoots come together?

Mostly ideas from films, dreams, or pacing the streets of London which is my fave thing to do. Or maybe a drunken overenthusiastic chat with friends

What are your plans for the future?

Hmm….more pics. More films, maybe a move to proper films with dialogue and a plot!

Born in Peterborough but escaped to London after a 3 year stint studying in the wild terrain of Wales. Currently, medications I’m the Buying Assistant for Jewellery and Accessories at Liberty. I like mint tea, vintage playsuits, F. Scott Fitzgerald novels, and hunting for treasure in charity shops. One day I plan to write my memoirs in Barcelona, but until then I will continue to build up a collection of vintage clothing, worthy of a wing in the V&A.

John Moore's anodised aluminium earrings by Janneke de Jong

John Moore anodised aluminium earrings by Janneke De Jong

It’s the evening of Thursday 8th December, stomach a rainy night, and I’m peering through the windows of the Lesley Craze gallery with anticipation. The windows are currently decorated with a glittering Christmas tree, jewels nestled in its branches, but it’s those it holds inside I am interested in. I have visited the gallery quite a few times in the last year, originally drawn in by the work of a personal favourite, Wendy Ramshaw. Earlier in the week, I had received an invitation for a special Christmas late night opening, and as always, intrigued to see what they have in, I’ve come along for a look, and a welcoming glass of wine.

I’m always surprised when I mention the gallery in conversation, to find out that many people are unaware of it’s presence. I credit the gallery with being well curated, well presented and the staff as always smiling and helpful. The glass cabinets are always gleaming with wares, and as I wander down to the lower room, my attention is grabbed by a huge cabinet that contains the work of John Moore.

John Moore earrings by Miranda Williams

John Moore earrings by Miranda Williams

Moore, now based in Brighton, is without a doubt, the embodiment of the label ‘jewellery artist’. With a degree in 3D design, his work is wearable art. The gallery was showing work from two of his collections, but it was the 5 pairs of earrings that enchanted me. These are part of his ‘Elytra‘ collection – an eyecatching range of brightly coloured anodised aluminium designs.

Moore worked on this collection whilst in his final year at university, and is inspired by nature and natural forms. I found some great images of birds feathers on his website; the vibrant colours of the exotic plumes now reflected in his Elytra collection. Apparently the shape was initally inspired by a beetles wing, an influence that you can also identify in the gleaming colour of the treated aluminium. His statement earrings are wondrous. They also hide a secret feature. They can be reversed by passing the top hoop through the opposite end of the drop, to invert the metal petals, or feathers. Combined with their emphasis on colour, they fit perfectly into the S/S 2012 trend for large, statement earrings.

Thomas David Bangles by Karolina Burdon

Thomas David bangles by Karolina Burdon

I spotted a familiar collection of work that I had seen at New Designers earlier this year, a bangle set from Sheffield Hallam graduate Tom Wilson, who works under the brand name Thomas David. His designs are dark and moody – blackened copper bangles, which have been made to look like corrugated card – industrial and hard wearing. I also really like the intricate patterns in the bangle collection made from stainless steel and birch plywood. Inspired by now retro spirograph kits, they remind me of when I was a child and plastering pieces of paper with concentric circles. Tom’s designs are a converse combination, tough and uniform, but detailed and delicate.

Ebony Revolution rings courtesy of Simone Brewster

Ebony Revolution rings, photo courtesy of Simone Brewster

British designer Simone Brewster’s Ebony Revolution rings are the perfect example of her influences from African woodwork and geometric forms. She graduated from the RCA, and I first came across her work when she designed a copper necklace for the store DARKROOM, as part of a charity event in June this year called Love from Darkroom. The rings are made from materials such as ebony, tulipwood, copper, bronze and leather. I also like her large necklaces, which are like Art Deco murals.

Maud Traon Rings by Stephanie Brown

Maud Traon rings by Stephanie Brown

On one of my previous visits to the gallery, I was wowed by Maud Traon’s rings for obvious reasons. Her designs conjure up thoughts of My Little Pony on a strong acid trip. The rings demand attention – pops of neon colours, sprayed with glitter, and sometimes mixed with star shapes, or kitsch toy objects. Maud likes to explore the relationship between the idea of value and wearability.

The rings are made from combinations of materials such as clay and copper. I’m not exactly sure just how wearable these are for most, bulky, and often extended height, but they certainly will please those who like their jewellery to be noticed, and would be a great addition to any collection.

Dorothy Erickson brunhilde collar by Karolina Burdon

Dorothy Erickson brunhilde collar by Karolina Burdon

The work of Western Australian born and trained jeweller Dorothy Erickson is always a pleasure to see. She is known for her ‘kinetic’ jewellery, or body pieces as they are alternatively called. She makes jewellery for the body that includes the wearer as part of the principal design – the jewellery reacts to the wearer’s every move.

I really love the articulated metal choker and bracelet, which reminds me of jewels to be found in collections at the British Museum, or vintage YSL pieces. Chunky, bold and well crafted – I’d wear this necklace and feel empowered. The gold clasp, paired with the silver metal, makes it even more special, a combination that I’m not always a fan of, but works so well here.

Dorothy Erickson bracelet by Fay Newman

Dorothy Erickson bracelet by Fay Newman

One of Erickson’s main inspirations is the unique flora of her native Australia, which has helped to produce the beautiful designs of her precious stone rings. She is also influenced by the work of Viennese painter Gustav Klimt. Big solid rocks hold a firm place in these rings, but they are elegant and refined.

Wendy Ramshaw Geometric Earrings by Sam Parr

Wendy Ramshaw Geometric Earrings by Sam Parr

Last but certainly not least, Wendy Ramshaw’s selection of works continues to wow me. Wendy is one of Britain’s best known jewellers, and looked up to by many other well-known designers such as Dorothy Erickson. She was born in Sunderland, studied illustration and fabric design in Newcastle, and then undertook postgraduate studied at Central Saint Martins.

Wendy’s signature designs are her divine ring sets, made up from abstract designs in precious metals and finished with gemstones. The stands they are frequently displayed on have also become ornamental designs in their own right.


Wendy Ramshaw Lucciole Necklace by Sam Parr

Her designs are heavily influenced by geometry, and as a fan of this, I always find myself lusting after her geometric gold drop earrings. Made with gemstones such as amethyst, pink tourmaline, blue topaz, and fire opal, they are a gorgeous combination of colour. A design that I had not seen before, the Lucciole necklace, a blown glass ball run through with gold thread was fantastic.

So from one champion of contemporary jewellery, back to another, I urge you all to take a visit to the Lesley Craze Gallery, and enjoy the great selection of work from British, and global, designers.

Categories ,Central Saint Martins, ,Christmas, ,Clerkenwell, ,colour, ,craft, ,David Bowie, ,Dorothy Erickson, ,Earrings, ,fashion, ,Fay Newman, ,Feathers, ,Gold, ,Gustav Klimt, ,Janneke de Jong, ,jewellery, ,John Moore, ,Karolina Burdon, ,Lesley Craze Gallery, ,Maud Traon, ,metal, ,S/S 2012, ,Simone Brewster, ,Thomas David, ,Wendy Ramshaw

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Amelia’s Magazine | Meet Emma Farrarons: Featured Artist from That Which We Do Not Understand

Amelias_Magazine_ TWWDNU_Emma_Farrarons
Emma Farrarons is a children’s book designer who recently returned to illustration when she began contributing to Amelia’s Magazine. Since then she has hosted a solo exhibition called Hidden Folk in Shoreditch, contributed to Okido kids’ magazine, been part of the 100 Cats exhibition and completed illustrations for her first book. Her contribution to my 10th anniversary limited edition book (and also available as a limited edition gold print) is called Moon Rabbit and features the Chinese legend of Chang’e. ‘By overdosing on a magic pill that grants immortality, poor Chang’e floated all the way to the moon only to reside there for eternity with her companion the Jade Rabbit. That is why you can see the silhouette of a rabbit on the moon.’ The colour way was inspired by Klimt’s bold use of gold and ochre and the dress pattern (featuring a few hidden rabbits) reflects a love of printed textiles.

How did you research your idea and come up with a way to illustrate the Moon Rabbit and how did you create the artwork?
When reading your brief I was instantly drawn to the words moon and folklore. I remembered hearing that the Chinese saw a rabbit on the moon. This is how I came to learn about Chang’e, the moon goddess. In a few words, Chang’e overdoses on a pill of immortality and drifts into the sky. She floats into darkness until she lands on the moon only to live there forever with her companion the Jade Rabbit. That is how the Chinese came to explain that there is a rabbit on the moon. I found this tale beautiful and wanted to share it through illustration.

What was the most enjoyable part about creating this piece?
Working on the colour, texture, detail and composition have been enjoyable parts. The element of gold influenced my choice of colour. I searched for a palette that would compliment gold in a subtle yet impactful way. I remembered being fascinated by Gustav Klimt in my school years. His father was a gold engraver which is perhaps a reason for Klimt’s ‘Golden Phase’, when he applied actual gold leaf on his paintings. This encouraged me to use warm ochres, yellows and midnight blues.

One could say that the illusionist and filmmaker Georges Méliès was another source of inspiration for his film A Trip to the Moon. In my mind, I have a vivid image from his film. It is of a beautiful woman perched on the moon as as though she’s sitting on a swing. Working into the textures and the detail of Chang’e’s dress was great fun. It was a great excuse to buy gold paint! I love textile design and pattern. If you look closely, can you notice the constellation and hidden rabbits on her dress? A printed pattern can also tell a story.

Who do you think would most enjoy this artwork, and why?
I’d say someone who likes the moon, folklore, when an illustration tells a story, the female form in art, textile, fashion illustration…and rabbits!

How did you end up living in London, and what route did you take into the publishing industry?
I’m originally from Paris. I studied illustration at the Edinburgh College of Art and l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. After Scotland I moved back to Paris to start life as an illustrator. These were very early days, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do just yet. One day, I took the Eurostar to London, loved it and stayed. After an internship in a publishing house, I’ve since worked as a picture book designer and freelance illustrator.

What was the spark that reignited a love affair with drawing?
There had been a time when I had lost a bit of my confidence as an illustrator. With social media, I started to connect with other like minded creatives, including Amelia’s Magazine. You were doing illustration call-outs via Twitter and one particular call-out was the spark that reignited my curiosity to draw and to get out of my comfort zone by using more colour.


Since then, it’s been a busy year of drawing. I’ve collaborated with producer and director Joanna Arong to design a canvas bag for Eskwela Haiyan, a non-profit organisation which raises to help children victims of typhoon Haiyan finish school. I have worked with Fika to create Hidden Folk: A Scandinavian Folklore collaboration around art and food. I’ve completed a textile printmaking course in Sweden and joined the illustration collective Bat Country Collective with illustrators Åsa Wikman, Dani’s Drawings and Karin Söderquist. The last two are also Amelia’s Magazine contributors.

I believe you currently have a book in the pipeline, can you tell us a bit more about that?
I certainly can. In fact, it’s very exciting to tell you more about it. It’s called The Mindfulness Colouring Book: Anti-stress art therapy for busy people. It is published by Boxtree and comes out in January. It’s a 100 page colouring book filled with black and white floral, geometric, wavy, animal patterns designed to calm and de-stress a busy mind with mindful colouring-in. The book is at this moment at the printers, but I can show you a sneaky peak of some of the pages.

What can we expect from you in the coming year?
Bat Country Collective are planning to exhibit at Fika in the coming year. We are currently brainstorming interesting themes. In the coming year, I’d like to give a bit more time and broaden the content of my blog Un Petit Blog. I’m enjoying connecting with other bloggers and learning more about blogging. It’s an empowering feeling to be ‘all-in-one’ the publisher, editor, curator and illustrator of your own online platform. The latest is that Un Petit Blog has just launched Un Petit Newsletter which will be packed with interesting news including: Exclusive doodles, Favourite finds and tips when out and about, The very latest news on my illustration projects, And much more… The 1st newsletter my subscribers will receive will feature TWWDNU!

You can read more about Emma’s process here and sign up to her newsletter on Un Petit Blog. Click on over to my Kickstarter campaign to grab one of her stunning Moon Rabbit artworks featuring faux gold leaf. There are only 10 available, so snap yours up fast. Only £45!

Categories ,#TWWDNU, ,100 Cats, ,Asa Wikman, ,Bat Country Collective, ,Boxtree, ,change, ,Chinese, ,Dani’s Drawings, ,Edinburgh College of Art, ,Emma Farrarons, ,Eskwela Haiyan, ,Fika, ,Georges Melies, ,Golden Phase, ,Gustav Klimt, ,Hidden Folk, ,illustration, ,interview, ,Jade Rabbit, ,Joanna Arong, ,Karin Söderquist, ,Kickstarter, ,l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, ,Moon Rabbit. Moon Goddess, ,Okido, ,paris, ,That Which We Do Not Understand, ,The Mindfulness Colouring Book, ,Un Petit Blog, ,Un Petit Newsletter

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