Tuesday, 19 April 2011

In the studio with Holly Ross

New graduate designer, Holly Ross, creates magical and highly individual pieces of porcelain lighting that are a real favourite at Lasso the Moon. She joined us a few months ago (check out her range by clicking here) and from day one our press contacts have been hugely interested in her work. We think she's an exciting new design talent and thought you might like to get to know her a little better...

What's the passion in your work? I specialise in fine bone china lighting, I aim to create intriguing interior worlds, exploring the interplay of light and the translucency of bone china. I seek to create light forms for anyone wanting a unique piece for contemporary interiors. Having graduated with a BA (hons) Applied Art & Design last year, this has given me the confidence and the contacts to start a business doing what I enjoy!

Where and how do you work? I am currently working from home and putting together my own workshop here to produce my pieces. I work on a small scale batch production, where I will be working on one piece as another is casting ready to work on the following day and so forth.

Best bit about what you do? I absolutely love working with fine bone china, having spent a lot of time getting used to its brittle nature and finding ways to play around with its extreme translucency. It’s so exciting when a piece has had its first firing and I can get it under the light and watch it come to life.

Hardest part? Well, I guess I’ve already answered that when mentioning its brittleness but I’ve found ways to work with this. There can be unavoidable problems when casting or firing at times too. The firing problems are the most devastating when you’ve been working away for hours on a piece and you expect it to be perfect.

Fav piece on LTM and why? This is very hard as there are so many beautiful pieces but I think I have to say the Lost and found handmade elephant by The Vintage Magpie. It’s just so adorable with its sad little face and I love all things cute and cuddly.

Fav LTM designer and why? I would have to say Lucianna Gallucci (see her medium jar, £30, below). I love the simplicity of her work and I like that she leaves the seam line on her pieces, it adds to the beauty of the work. I really like the little illustrations on her pieces too.

Who are your design influences? I’ve always been fascinated by Chris Wight’s work, I can’t begin to think of how he achieves most of his pieces from such a difficult material like bone china. He’s one of those artists who is an inspiration to try things you wouldn’t believe to be possible. I have also been influenced by Bodil Manz, who works with porcelain, getting it very near paper thin. She applies decals on either side of cylinder forms; they are so incredibly thin though that you see light and shadows through both walls of the piece.

Fav place to eat in UK? I love Oriel, a restaurant on Poole Quay where I live. They have a great menu that makes it very hard to choose.

Fav place to stay in UK? I do love going up to London for an occasional visit but I have to say I loved staying in the Torbay area, my favourite place to visit whilst there was Totnes. A beautiful place with many arts and crafts shops, markets and tearooms, in particular, Grey’s Dining Room. They had the best cream tea I’ve ever tasted and served with very British looking floral chinaware, just made it even more of an experience.

Fav possession of all time? I collect silver pill boxes and I’ve had many of these given by family on important birthdays like my 18th and 21st, so the whole collection means a lot to me.

Best piece of advice ever given? I can’t think of one bit of advice in particular but just throughout university being given tips and ideas on how to keep my sketchbook and work. You can often have an idea and go head first into it just seeing the positives, you sometimes need someone to tell you it’s not working or to give their opinion. It’s really helped me to step back and think about something before going full out on an idea.

What’s your latest guilty pleasure? I really like Glee, which I know people will sigh about and yes it’s completely cheesy but I still love it and there’s something addictive about it.

Monday, 4 April 2011

From Nicky with love

If, like us, you are passionate about supporting the very best of British, you may well be familiar with Nicky Sherwood's fantastic From Britain with Love website already. Packed with information and ideas on great local suppliers of quality produce of all kinds as well as special places to stay and visit, FBWL is a real favourite of ours.
So much so, that we invited Nicky, who lives in St Margaret's in Surrey, to write a guest blog and to share with us some of the things closest to her heart.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

NS: My guilty pleasure is... crochet! Ok, so it’s not exactly rock ‘n’ roll, but I did become slightly obsessed after learning how to do it for one of our Course Notes features last year. Before long, I was trawling YouTube for video tutorials and whipping up granny squares into the early hours – my husband said I was addicted to ‘crack crochet’. But with a 4 year old, a 12 week old baby and a business to run I don’t have a lot of spare time these days, so it does feel like a bit of an indulgence every time I reach for my bag of wool. Bring on the next fix...

Lasso the Moon favourites?

NS: I adore the ‘Buddy’ patchwork baby blanket by Smitten - I saw it in your latest newsletter and fell in love - definitely on my wish list for my new baby! I also love Maggie Williams’ glass cupcakes... I visited her studio in Cornwall last year and have a little collection of them displayed on a cake stand on my kitchen windowsill – they look so pretty with the sunlight shining through them.

Favourite UK place to eat?

NS: I’d have to say it’s British coffee shop Ginger & White in Hampstead, which my sister co-founded. They serve the best coffee in London (not that I’m biased of course!) and all their food is sourced from British farms and producers. It’s a wonderful place for brunch – they make their own granola and even homemade peanut butter, and it’s very child friendly too. They’re about to open a second shop in nearby Queen's Park – I just wish they’d open one a bit nearer to where I live!

Favourite UK place to stay?

NS: My mum lives on a farm in North Cornwall and I love that part of the world so we try to get down there as often as we can. My four year old son loves to feed the chickens and collect the eggs for breakfast, pick fresh veg for his dinner from the kitchen garden, see how honey is made from the bee hives, and bake treats with grandma in the Aga... it’s real ‘Good Life’ stuff! We also love to pop down to nearby Port Isaac on a Friday evening where you can stand on the beach with a drink and listen to the (now world-famous) Fisherman’s Friends singers perform traditional Cornish sea shanties as the sun sets over the harbour – that takes a lot of beating!

Most cherished possession?

NS: I’m rather fond of my collection of vintage children’s books. My husband is a keen (ok, obsessive!) antiquarian book collector, so realising I’d be spending quite a lot of my married life in dusty bookshops, it was a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ and I started collecting these beautiful Victorian children’s books with decorative spines. I’ve got a few hundred of them now - they’re fun to collect as they usually cost under ten pounds, so you can snap them up without feeling too guilty. I still think it’s pretty amazing that you can buy something that’s over 100 years old for the same price as a modern paperback!