18 November 2014

Beautiful Papercuts of Sarah Morpeth

I must share with you the lovely work of Sarah Morpeth. She is an talented artist who works with paper - cutting, stitching, painting, spraying and constructing. She produces beautiful, graphic works, inspired in part by the nature around Northumberland where she lives and has a studio.

My photos, snapped briefly at Handmade in Britain held last weekend at Chelsea Town Hall, definitely do not do the work justice.

"the hare is an acrobat she tumbles under the moon"

Sarah works by hand drawing these on the back of the paper. That means she is working in reverse to how the finished piece will look. Can you imagine?

Apart from the moths, this is just a single piece of cut paper. The greens are all hand painted. The frames are box frames and the work is suspended on pins.

Here the text is flat and the running rabbits are mounted on pins, giving depth to this smaller piece mounted in a box frame.

Sarah also makes books, that are stunning three dimensional works of art. Some are simple concertina folds like this, others much more complex with birds spilling from the top.

Loose threads intentionally left to add detail.

Paper baubles. I now have some of these hanging from my mantel piece.

Please do visit Sarah's website www.sarahmorpeth.com This is how Sarah describes herself there.

I am an artist who works mainly in paper, making books and illustrative cut paper pieces. My work has all sorts of sources - I find inspiration in my obsession with British films of the Forties, in poetry, philosophy, science fiction and stories. Visually the imagery I use often comes from nature and the landscape that surrounds me in rural Northumberland. There is usually a considerable conceptual aspect to what I do - but I don’t need it to be obvious to the viewer. I value not only the conceptual but also skill in making and aesthetic qualities.  I use a wide range of processes, often incorporating stitch, painting, hand and machine cutting, drawing, printing and bookbinding in my pieces. 

10 November 2014

Commissions from a distance

Last month I had the pleasure of completing a lovely set of rings commissioned by a couple who had found me via Facebook and liked my work. Distance meant that we never met, but the wonders of the internet meant we were able to chat, exchange photos and ideas, and eventually come up finished rings that met my lovely client's brief.

The rings were to be both Engagement and his and hers Wedding rings at the same time. The happy couple had been together some years, and were combining a 40th birthday, with a trip to Iceland, and a laid back, low key Wedding that only a small few knew was going to take place.

I was very excited to be considered to make the rings. Commissions fill me with pleasure and pressure in fairly equal amounts. I absolutely love to be able to produce something special for a client, turning their thoughts to reality, and leaving them with a unique something to treasure, often a reminder of a very special occasion. The flip side of this, is knowing how important the commissioned item will be to someone. They want it to be just right, and until the moment the final piece is received and approved by them, I do feel nervous - even if I really love it.

From seeing my work, the client Nikki, knew the kind of colours and gemstones I am naturally drawn to - tranquil and icy aquamarines and moonstones. This was what she was looking for. We started the process by her sending me some pictures of rings she found that naturally appealed to her. By looking through images she was able to clarify what it was that she liked - the colour of gemstones in one, the size of the stones in another, colour and finish of metal, setting etc.

From this we decided on the overall style / size of the rings and the width of the bands. At this stage I made up the bands, and sent them to the client to try both for size, and to see if she was happy with the look on her slim fingers. While they were winging their way around the country, I was able to send Nikki some pictures and combinations of gems. 


The aquamarine and moonstone were settled on straight away, and then we added a rose cut faceted white topaz, for a little bit of icy sparkle. Once we had settled on a colour combination of gemstones, I then showed Nikki various combinations of how we could place them together on a ring. Nikki knew she liked them overlapping the ring, in an organic way,  rather than a formal symmetrical layout.


In the end, this was the combination and setting that worked for Nikki.

At this stage, we decided they were to be set in gold. So I started the mounts.


We had talked about engraving on the inside, but in the end a subtle secret snowflake was decided upon. Each ring is marked with a teeny 3mm snowflake.



Rings were hallmarked, stones were set, and here are the finished items ready to be posted.

Best of all I received this photo of the rings being worn at the Glacial Lagoon at Jokulsarlon in Iceland, with a note telling me 'it is like wearing a snapshot of this on my finger everyday.'