With Open Studios dates at several new buildings fast approaching we have been speaking to individual artists to try and really show the multude of different practices across the board, as well as get more insight into what it is our artists are making right now, and how they are going to engage with the public coming into their spaces. This is a great chance for us to get to know our artists better, and has also uncovered friendships and connections for us to explore amongst our artists.
Anna Clayton is a bespoke furnishing and upholstering craftsperson and works under the name Clayton Made, she lives locally on a converted Dutch barge and is neighbour to artists and makers Charlie Tymms and Martin Cottis, a couple who have a studio in Bow Arts Rum Factory Studios.
Currently I'm upholstering a park bench found outside my studio. I'll use rubberised hair, some cotton felt and maybe some hessian and horsehair to craft shape on the arms. That's the buzz, working with an old frame to transform it into something comfortable and beautiful, building on the layers to make your final piece. Usually I'll make furniture to last - there can be up to nine layers if you count from the webbing, the springs, layers of hessian, hair or wool, more hessian, more lighter hair, some calico cloth, layers of wadding to stop the prickly hair coming through and finally, the top fabric. I'm not sure my upholstered bench will be made to last though. For a start it's not waterproof! I will be showing my bench at this weekend's Open Studio.
In our preparations for Open Studios this year Anna suggested we speak to her neighbour Martin Cottis, it was hugely exciting to discover an existing community that connects through our studio buildings! Through this wonderful trail we discovered Martin was an incredible metal worker and he has now created these beautiful signs that hopefully give the shipping containers-come studios some soul and character down at the studio site. You will be able to see his studio and work at the upcoming Open Studios at the Rum Factory on May 14th.
The freshly installed signage at ArtSpace, St Katharine's Precinct Studios, made by Rum Factory Studio Artist, Martin Cottis- the artists are yet to embellish these so watch this space!
Anna is experienced in both traditional & modern methods of upholstery. She uses a broad range of skills in restoration and conservation, and also modern techniques for contemporary and bespoke fitted seating.Her soft furnishing skills include hand-pleated curtain making, roman blinds, assorted cushion designs, and co-ordinated handmade lampshades.Anna trained for 3 years at the London Metropolitan University in Traditional & Modern Upholstery, and a further 2 years in Interior Soft Furnishing. She lives and works locally on a converted Dutch cargo ship with her partner and children.
Martin Cottis, sculptor, metalworker and fabricator shares his studio with his partner Charlie Tymms. Martin has been using his skills in community and public realm projects since finishing art school and has designed and fitted out a number of vessels including the Puppet Theatre Barge. Charlie, a designer maker, recently created a life size puppet for a Michael Morpurgo theatre play in the Project Space at the Rum Factory.
Rebecca Sainsot-Reynolds, Studios Administrator