The art of fine porcelain ceramics

A few weeks ago, on a foggy February morning I took a drive out to the Kent coastal town of Faversham. Creek Creative part of the towns old brewery building is now home to a collection of artists, designer makers and highly skilled crafts people. My visit was to photograph two of the people that reside in this hotbed of creativity; Rose Dickinson, a ceramic artist and Alex Law, an upholsterer that also designs and prints his own fabrics.

In this post I want share my images of Rose and her work.

Before Christmas I visited Rose to discuss my project documenting designer makers and their work, so I already knew exactly what her studio and workspace was like. Happily by the time I arrived and I started photographing, the mornings fog had lifted and warm sunlight filled her workspace.

Rose’s studio is overflowing with the materials she collects and her work in various stages of completion. I am instantly drawn to what I believe is a piece of art hanging on one of her walls. It looks like a sculpture formed from various items, all kinds of textures and colours from nature. It turns out to be a collection of the things that Rose uses to create and inspire her delicately detailed ceramics. In her own words “you just can’t beat nature!”

Rose’s work is inspired by nature from around the Kentish countryside and marshes near where she lives. Unfortunately I don’t get to see the beginning stages of her creative journey, when she uses natures textures she has found to imprint pieces made from fine porcelain clay. A fresh batch of work is ready to come out of the kiln and after carefully unpacking it, she adds subtle colourful details to each piece before glazing and finally firing again.

Like all the artists and creators I have been visiting, they make what they do appear almost effortless. Piece by piece Rose applies and removes colour, but it is clear by the way she handles her work, this effortlessness is born of years of practice. Once again it’s a wonderful inspiration to see someone’s lifetime of experience coming together as they create something new.

You can see more images from my visit to Rose’s studio on my website here , and more of Rose’s work here

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Thank you for reading this post about Rose and her work, I hope you enjoyed it. It is part of a larger project to document and celebrate designer makers and their work.

Bold & Colourful Textile Artist

My second visit to document the work of a crafts person takes me to Denmark Hill in South East London and down a rather unassuming alley next to a pub. Behind the gates, past the landlords mass pile of junk and up the stairs of an old and dilapidated warehouse, lies the studio of textile artist Michelle House. Her work combines striking bold and colourful shapes overlaid with abstract photographic images. With careful planning, meticulous mathematical precision and skill that is only achieved from years of practice, she pieces each intricate part of her designs together as screen prints. She creates them all by hand, no mechanical clamps or modern screen printing benches. Each piece is unique. The prints are then either stretched over a frame or the edges are hand stitched to create a wall hanging.

Michelle studied at Goldsmiths College before starting on a full time career as an artist. She has exhibited all over the world, at numerous shows including Collect at the Saatchi Gallery.

I spent the day with Michelle as she was starting to prepare and print three new pieces for an up coming show. Her work can take weeks to complete, depending on the size and complexity. So I will have to return to see how these pieces progress.

One of the reasons I started this project was because of my own experiences at art college and how I had dabbled with all manors of process and techniques for creating art. Observing Michelle as she prepared her canvas and built her designs up, I was taken back to my college days remembering that satisfying feeling as an idea slowly emerged into a fully realised piece of art, very loosely speaking when referring to my college attempts!

I feel very lucky to have been able to gain an insight into how Michelle creates her work. Below are a few images from the day.

Take a look at her website here, and mine; jhyturley.com for more images from the day.

Enjoy.

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Turning used coffee into striking Jewllery

Tucked away near London Fields, in a small hand built garden workshop, Rosalie McMillan is designing and making some surprising and strikingly unique jewellery. Her raw material of choice, coffee. Recycled and repurposed, used coffee grounds are transformed and set with silver or gold into exquisite asymmetrical bold jewellery. A long held passion for designing and making has now become a new career. I recently visited Rosalie in her workshop as she created a new and exciting piece for her current collection. She took me through her process of creation (well less a process and more a journey of discovery) as she masterfully transformed a rough brown block of the raw coffee material and a few pieces of silver.

Here are a few images that I hope do justice to her hard work and creativity.


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If you would like to see more images from my shoot with Rosalie please visit my website

Silence in the Square

Every year, we as a nation remember those who have fallen defending our way of life. At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a Two Minute Silence is observed on Armistice Day, the day which marks the end of the First World War.

This year The Royal British Legion asked members of the Royal Photographic Society to go along and document the hard work of their collectors. The people who put in the hours around central London, collecting funds for the Poppy Appeal; helping the current and ex-serving personnel in terms of their welfare, comradeship, representation and remembrance.

I went along to Trafalgar Square in London for Silence in the Square, a morning of music and readings that preceded the 2 minute silence at 11am.

Below are a few of the portraits I captured of the veterans, volunteers, collectors and general public, plus a few moments that caught my eye.

Please have a look at my website for more shots from the morning here:

Silence in the Square Portraits
Silence in the Square Moments

For me, the most rewarding part of the experience was meeting so many wonderful people, hearing their experiences and how important the work of The Royal British Legion is to them. Find out more about the their work and the charity here.

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Strings

This collection of images came about a little by chance. They are a set of photos that document Tim and his work.  Tim is a violin and cello restorer who works from his workshop and showroom in Sevenoaks, Kent. He converted his home into his place of work, where he lovingly breaths life back into all manner of stringed instruments.

I discovered Tim and the restoration shop by accident. Stuck in traffic I turned to see the shop on Sevenoaks High Street, I had never noticed it before. Instantly I thought it looked like an unusual and interesting place that I wanted to photograph. I turned to Tracy and said “I bet that would be a great place to photograph”, so Tracy parked up, I walked in, introduced myself to Tim, and within an hour we had arranged a photo shoot for the following weekend.

Find out more about Tim and his work from his website here.

Here are a selection of my images. I hope that they do justice to Tim and his beautiful little shop.

Tim in his showroom II

Workshop Showroom II

The Entrance Showroom

Tim working on a bridge

Tim in his workshop showroom

Planes and tools

Haning Bows

Violin resting on a chair

Tool Wall

Bows

The Showroom Alt

Tim in his showroom

You can see more images on my flickr photostream.

It’s hot in the kitchen

When it comes to food I’ve been very lucky; I was brought up in the pub trade, where my parents focused on good honest pub food. Every night I was spoilt for choice from a menu of what to eat, from home made pies to fresh cod and chips. I was also exposed to the hard work and long hours of preparation it takes to get each plate food on the table.

At 16 my younger brother Adam, followed in our fathers footsteps, picked up the chefs knife and headed off to Westminster College in London to become a chef.

Skipping forward 15 years he is now Head Chef at Bluebells restaurant in Sunningdale. He spent his first few years learning his craft at Wentworth Golf Course. The next chapter in his gastronomic learning was under the guidance of the world famous Michel Roux and his son Alain at the 3 Michelin Star, Waterside Inn, Bray.

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I’ve been lucky enough to eat at every major restaurant Adam has worked at as well as many other fine dining establishments. I’ve had kitchen tours and met the chefs that prepare meticulously crafted, mouthwatering dishes. However I’ve never witnessed them doing it, until now. Adam was kind enough to let me spend the day in his kitchen photographing him and his team hard at work.

I arrive late, thanks to the usual heavy traffic on the M25, it’s only 9:30am, but the chefs have been in for an hour, they won’t finish until gone midnight! There are 5 chefs and a kitchen porter on duty, each already fully focused on the task in hand. They are preparing sauces, kneading bread dough, filleting fish and preparing vegetables. A quick hello and they carry on, time is not wasted chatting, there is no radio on to distract them, they are all focused on getting ready for the lunch service.

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Nothing is wasted; the skin of the chicken and fish are used to create delicate and crunchy garnishes. Vegetables and fruits are prepared in such a way that as little as possible goes in the bin. Bones from the butcher are used to create stocks. If every household cooked like a professional kitchen we would all save money and reduce food waste massively.

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I move around the kitchen with great care; it’s a dangerous place, extremely hot surfaces, pans full of boiling liquid, knives sharp enough to shave with and everyone moving around carrying these items at speed. I try and capture each of the chefs at that perfect moment that illustrates all the action as it is happening around me, it’s much harder than I thought possible.

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During service Adam stands at the pass as each chef brings their piece of the puzzle on demand and perfectly cooked. Each dish on an order comes together in a flurry of motion and as each chef moves away the different plates of food sit beautifully ready to be whisked away by the waitress. Adam shouts “service” and the waitress arrives, the food heads out of the door as the next order is already beginning to take shape.

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It’s amazing seeing this highly complex process unfold. Every plate of food is a combination of elements created individually and then brought together for the diner to enjoy.

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I stayed throughout the afternoon and into the early evening, the pressure never lets up, there is always more prep or another order to plate up. I feel extremely privileged and very proud to have experienced my brothers talent first hand. He has worked tirelessly at Bluebells for 7 years now. The restaurant is in the Michelin guide and has two AA Rosettes and is regularly frequented by a variety of celebs!

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On this visit I focused all my attention on the kitchen and this is only half the story, maybe on another day I will document the front of house and the diners.

It was a serious learning curve; where to stand, what angles to shoot from, how to light. The kitchen is a tight environment, with lots of shiny surfaces and lots of light sources; natural light coming in from the window, fluorescent from the strip lights and the heat lamps emitting an intense orange glow. I decided to use flash and control the situation as much as possible. I still had to do some correction in post.

Here are a few more of the images from my time in the kitchen. I’m now looking forward to my next visit, whether it’s to sit out front and eat or in the kitchen with my camera.

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Hollandaise Sauce being prepared

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Fresh bread straight from the oven

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Kitchens are hot and steamy places to work

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Delicate and precise presentation is key

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Macaroon filling being piped

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Adam plating up Lamb kofta kebabs

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Making chocolate tubes for the Warm baked chocolate mousse

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Adam tasting his chefs work

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Adam cooking scallops

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Adam Turley, Head Chef, Bluebells

You can see more images from my day in the kitchen on my flickr photostream.

It’s been a while…

since my last blog post and I have a good reason; 12 weeks ago I became a Dad! The happiest day of my life. My wonderful wife gave me a little baby boy, Ethan. Life has not been the same since. As you can expect, spending time on my photography was going to take a back seat for a while. Or so I thought. I now have a stunning little model that is changing daily and is always happy to sit and watch Daddy as he clicks away.

So my journey down the road of fatherhood now has the additional learning curve of photographing children! They don’t sit still, they don’t smile on cue, they don’t look where you want, when you want. In short, they are difficult to photograph! However, what they do do, when you can capture that moment, is give you a photograph that can sum up exactly who they are in such a way it’s breath taking. Especially to the parents.

I have several friends with toddlers that I have photographed, and now with the arrival of my baby boy I have a reasonable portfolio of child and family photography. I undertook my first commission last week and it went really well.

Here are some of my favourites.

Ethan (my baby boy)

Ethan

Ethan

Ethan Reading. Well looking and the Pictures

Ethan and Mum

Tracy and Ethan

Ethan and Mum

Evie
Evie Black and White No.7

Evie and the Grumpy look

Sid
Sid 02

Sid 01 mono

Louie
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Louis 33

Louis 20 Mono

Ruby and Gary
Ruby and Gary 1

Ruby (Ethan’s cousin)
Ruby in Pink

Ruby Slumpped in front of the tree