Aimee Bollu: collector, gatherer, hoarder..

 

The Hoard Aimee Bollu Photographer Yasmin Ensor

Aimee Bollu is a collector, a gatherer, an arranger of the things people have discarded and forgotten. She seeks out objects that have fallen out of use, out of society, and brings them back to life. I have followed Aimee’s work for a couple of years now, since she graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a First Class Honours degree in Decorative Arts. I was firstly drawn to her ceramic colour palette and then the intriguing nature and perplexing personality of her creations. She uses objects we would normally discard and gives them a new life united with her ceramics. Fine handcrafted ceramic vessels meet and collaborate with the seemingly litter of the everyday, becoming something they were never originally destined for.

Aimee Bollu Portrait Photographer Camilla Greenwell      Photographer: Camilla Greenwell

Aimee Bollu - Side Composition - High Res - Photo Courtesy of Terri Ng
Photographer: Terri Ng

Aimee works from her studio in Nottingham creating work for exhibitions throughout the UK and more recently a collaboration with the German Design studio – Studio Oink. I asked Aimee a little about her practice, her values and her inspiration. 

“My studio is in a constant ebb and flow state. I switch between a cluttered, messy space where objects and ideas collide into existence, and then a curated, tidy space. Tidying up, re-organizing and reproaching the things in my studio is part of my process to find the right components that work together to create a cohesive piece and collection. The only consistent in my workplace is the beautiful big window that beams in lots of natural light”.

“The first thing I do when I arrive to my studio is listen to Yancey Boys (Instrumentals) produced by Jay Dee and J Dilla. By the third track I’m focused on the task at hand. I could listen to this album forever”.

Aimee Bollu - Hoard Cup - High Res - Photo Courtesy of Yasmin Ensor

15000073f4b9343d0e29d82b3e8faee8Photography: Yasmin Ensor

“I’m getting lots of press attention at the minute, which is great, and being looked at for Trend Research that feels exciting. I also feel proud to have been selected as a Hothouse member by the Crafts Council; it was a goal of mine to get in for years before I was even eligible to apply so to have seen that through is a massive confidence booster!”

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64348eb2e88669bb3a9f647aab78aa71Photography: Aimee Bollu, Yasmin Ensor

“At the centre of my practice is consideration for overlooked materials and objects. My values for my business and for myself are one and the same; personal development, decisiveness, making meaningful work with integrity, and a slice of humour in there too. The pieces I make always have to have a high level of craftsmanship and an acute sense of aesthetic involved”.

“I have always been conscious in my life about the waste I produce, although I feel I could be a lot better at this. I am happy to eat slightly questionable looking food and don’t really throw a lot away. I’m really inspired by the idea of non monetary exchanges and hope to explore this further in the future”.

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“The objects that I find are my inspiration, they speak of what the end piece will be. I am still trying to interpret how I get this information from an object, as most people don’t see what I do when I look at the found thing in the first place!”

ff68077a7d8e1f2c0d563fef1f13e7b4Credits: Aimee Bollu

“My advice to other new creative business startups is to get great photographs. I didn’t realise at first that the majority of people who see your work wont be seeing it in real life”.

http://www.aimeebollu.co.uk/home.html

https://twitter.com/aimeebollu

https://www.instagram.com/aimeebollu/

Floral inspiration at Chatsworth House

I am often asked how I keep motivated and how I ensure a constant stream of new ideas. Like so many makers I need to regularly soak in new visual information in order to keep my imagination well fed. If I neglect this my body soon tells me by giving me huge cravings to get out and seek out something new.

After a very busy first 6 months of the year making-emailing-more making I had certainly neglected my imagination and sure enough I couldn’t focus properly until I had done some new exploring. So I took the opportunity to head to of of my favourite places – Chatsworth House in the Peak District. I arrived first thing on a Sunday morning, so the gardens were so quiet and I could wonder around admiring the selection of plants and explore the greenhouse at ease. A wave of excitement hit me when I spotted a violet passionflower and I felt my need for inspiration being satisfied. I thought I’d share some of the photos of my favourites with you…

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 Thanks for reading and do send me in any pics of flowers you find that you think I’ll like,

Marie

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A garden party wedding and a wildflower bride..

Lovely Nikki married in May this year at the Old Rectory in Hastings. She is in my mind the ultimate superwoman bride as she had just given birth to her baby 6 weeks before the big day! Her beautiful and airy photos make me want to open up a bottle of something light and fizzy and soak up the sun. Thank-you for sharing these with me..

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Did you have a vision for the day?
Although we didn’t have a ‘theme’ for the day there were elements of a cute garden party with the bunting and wildflowers. We wanted it to be relaxed above all else. We found out that we were expecting a baby just after we sent our invitations out so the desire for everyone (especially me) to be comfortable became even more important. This meant looking for an alternative to my original dress which had a tight bodice style top and instead creating a mixture of separates which were much more flexible. We then worked around this style to make sure the groomsmen also looked relaxed.

What was your favourite part of wedding planning?
My favourite part of planning was probably going a little pinterest crazy! I did a lot of DIY craft projects based around ideas I saw on Pinterest; I designed my own invites and stationary, made loads of tiny felt roses to scatter on the tables and a hanging paper chandelier. It also gave me the idea for our favours – I bought and wrapped second hand books for each of the guests so everyone left with something to read! Pinterest also helped me find lots of lovely crafty ladies, including Marie, who I bought extra bits and bobs from that helped complete the look.

What were the more difficult aspects of wedding planning?
I found it a bit hard to let go and let people help me towards the end. I got really into the crafty bits and little details but wanted to do them all myself. This meant trying to set up the night before and on the morning of the wedding (with a six week old baby!) became a bit stressful. I didn’t allow myself time to relax and get ready in a nice, calm, enjoyable way before the wedding; the way I had envisioned it. In hindsight I should have delegated a bit more and let go of a few of those jobs.

What are your favourite memories of the day?
My favourite part of the day was probably the ceremony followed by the drinks reception. The weather was spectacular which really helped with our garden ceremony and complemented the really happy atmosphere. Everyone was genuinely happy, relaxed and loving the sunshine and it was lovely to mingle with them after the ceremony with a Pimms in hand and soak that up.

Do you have any advice for other bride-to-bes?
Don’t have a baby right before your wedding! Also, make sure you take your time on your wedding day – try to relax and soak as much of it in as possible. It’ll be over before you know it so make the most of it!

Photography: Naomi Kenton

Wedding dress: A mixture of separates – a lace topper from Leanne Marshall over a satin cami from BHLDN and a Catherine Deane skirt.

Groom suit: shirt and trousers were from Next with waistcoats from Debenhams.

Bridesmaids: a multiway dress from Debenhams for the Maid of Honour and a Monsoon dress and bolero for the flower girl.

Accessories: Marie Canning

Flowers: Blush Floral Design

Serious Floral Inspiration….Rebecca Louise Law

London based Rebecca Louise Law has been working with natural materials for 17 years since graduating from Fine Art at Newcastle University. She explores the relationship between nature and humans and has exhibited worldwide whilst working on commissions for the likes of Gucci, Hermes and Cartier. She is known for transforming spaces with her floral installations. Here’s a selection of her works…

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See more of Rebecca Louise Law’s installations here:

https://www.facebook.com/Rebecca-Louise-Law-292319050956248/

https://twitter.com/rebeccallaw

 

 

 

A romantic 1960s wedding..

It is always lovely to hear from brides after their wedding day. Gemma married at Islington Town Hall and had her reception at the Peasant Pub in Clerkenwell. She went for a 1960s theme and wore a Claire Pettibone dress and my daisy chain hair vine. She kindly shared some of her photos from the big day with me…

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Did you have a vision for the day?
A Beatles, 1960’s themed wedding. One that was relaxed as possible.

What was your favourite part of wedding planning?
Applying my knowledge of the 1960’s and finding suppliers to match the vision that I had in my head.

What were the more difficult aspects of wedding planning?
Luckily there weren’t many difficult aspects of wedding planning as I was super organised. The only thing we had trouble with was the no child policy. This did not go down well with certain members of the wedding guest list.

What are your favourite memories of the day?
Seeing Ben for the first time at Islington Town Hall and having all of our loved ones under one roof.

Do you have any advice for other bride-to-bes?
Do what you want to do, nobody else should have any influence on your decisions. Be as relaxed as possible in the lead up to the wedding and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Photography:
http://www.ianshootsweddings.com/

Wedding dress:
http://www.thebridalboutiquewarwickshire.co.uk/designers/claire-pettibone-romantique-wedding-dresses/

Groom suit:
Debenhams

Bridesmaids:
Lori Lee Lace Maxi dresses from Coast

Accessories:
Veil from Bridal Boutique in Warwickshire, Marie Canning halo, Lace gloves from Jesus Peiro and shoes from Harriet Wilde.

Flowers:
http://www.violetsandvelvet.co.uk/

The coolest girl on the craft block..

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The sweetest and coolest girl on the craft block has to be Emily Notman….I first met Emily a few years ago when we were both exhibiting at a craft fair and I was immediately drawn to her pastel, meadow-like embroidery as well as her enthusiastic and endearing personality. I have two of Emily’s tapestries thanks to our regular swapsies and I see something new each time I look at them.

Emily exhibits at numerous contemporary craft shows and galleries, sells her pieces online and is artist in residence at Loughborough High School. I was delighted when she agreed to answer some questions about her work, here’s what she had to say..

“My little workspace is currently at Loughborough High School, where I am textile Artist in Residence. It is a wonderful space with floor to ceiling shelves and two desks; it also has a beautiful window looking over the quad. The school makes me think of Hogwarts and I have been lucky enough to have a two year placement here supporting the girls artwork and their textile lessons. My space gets a little messy when I have a deadline to meet but otherwise I like to keep things simple with a few inspiration photos and colour storyboards up. My shelves are filled with a mix of paints, inks and heaps of fabric waiting to be coloured and embroidered into.”

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“I have to be in at my residency by 9am so I grab porridge and a coffee and try to beat the school traffic. Most days I have an hour replying to emails and enquires before I start making. A lot of time is taken up on the computer so I like to get that done first. Sometimes I will have free time in the morning to make and other days I could be working with the students showing them my techniques or suggesting inspiration for their projects.”

“I study current fashion trends, colour stories and colour pairing, I create mood boards on my studio walls to help with colour choice, but sometimes when I am mixing inks and dyes something magical happens and I go along with it. One morning I could think today will be a blue day and the finished piece turns out to be pinks or yellows. I also try not to set a time limit as some pieces naturally need more detail, depth and layers. I’m drawn to whimsical landscapes, overgrown meadows and layers of natural surface, however, I was initially inspired by a visit to a fisherman’s village in Portugal called Burgau where we visit for family holidays, it was the old flaky paint on boats and the encrusted textures of the lobster pots that I recreated using fabrics and stitch in my first pieces of work. My mum has a beautiful garden and in June I take photos to inspire my floral brooches for that year and my pieces develop and evolve from there. I am travelling through Europe for a month this summer and I hope it inspires a new range when I get back.”

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“The most difficult time I have had since setting up making full time has been keeping going when times have got a little tough, slower sales or a quiet month. You have to keep positive and know that things will even out. I am very appreciative of every customer that supports and buys work as they enable me to create what I love and fulfil my dream job, it is my lovely fan base that keep me going.”

“Since University I am amazed at how my business has developed, from the first follower on Facebook to now being published in books and magazines. My proudest moment has been a three page spread in Contemporary Crafts Beijing Magazine, I don’t know how it came about but knowing people are reading about your craft on the other side of the world is wonderful.”

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“I eat sleep and breathe craft. If I am not sewing, I am decorating, cooking, sourcing materials and generally filling my head with inspiration. Even though sewing is my full time job it is very hard to draw the line between it being work and leisure. I adore what I do so it creeps into everyday life in every way possible. My working week is 7 days, on a weekend I will sew if I’m not running a workshop, usually a few evenings off during the week is enough for me. I also love visiting shows, buying from other makers and pottering around our flat moving our craft collection and hanging work. A rare snippet of time not making would be spent with my record collection, a food magazine and a coffee.”

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“My core value is, ‘stay true to your practice’, It is very important for me to make what I like to and hope other people like it too, I would struggle to produce work that isn’t “me”. At the moment I am making bigger wall pieces (I much prefer this way of working). I have learnt not to feel under pressure to make to sell but to make what I would love to buy myself, that way you get more satisfaction when it goes to a new home. I am very motivated by people’s interactions on social media and also lovely comments at shows. Luckily now we can post something within minutes of making it and have feedback straight away. This helps no end and after a long day, a little feedback helps.”

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“I would love to think that I would still be making full time in ten years, the aim is to push my practice further and move with the trends. Hopefully I will have my own beautiful home studio to work from and still travel the country to deliver workshops. I really wish I had been savvier at University and had focused on the business side a little more, I was carried away with making that any lectures about tax, pricing and marketing didn’t interest me. I think if you are certain you would like to be a maker that side of university really is a major factor. Follow your dream career so you will never think ‘What if’.”

http://www.emilynotman.co.uk/ 

https://www.facebook.com/emilynotmanmixedmedia

https://twitter.com/emilymixedmedia

http://www.madebyhandonline.com/by/emily_notman/