Coal Bowl and Blue Plaque plate
One of my first commissions was in 2010 for Museumaker, a major Arts Council project. 16 designer-makers were paired up with 16 museums nationwide, of which I was lucky enough to be one. Throughout the project I had the pleasure of being mentored by retail guru extraordinaire Kit Grover!
With its coal-mining heritage, Woodhorn Museum houses a wonderful and heart-warming collection of paintings by the Ashington Group - better known as the 'Pitman Painters'. This group of miners began painting in the 1930's at an evening class, and achieved critical acclaim for their portrayal of daily life.
Using a theme that still runs solidly through my work I took a familiar object - the miners helmet - as inspiration and subverted it to create the limited edition 'Coal Bowl' - a Miner's hat cast in ceramic and inverted to become a bowl. The inside of each bowl was individually hand-gilded making each one unique. The bowl expresses the extraordinary and unexpected inner life of these ordinary men and the Blue Plaque plate, usually relating to famous Londoners, celebrated their achievements. It was a complete honor to tell the story of the Pitmen Painter's fascinating lives.
I was further commissioned by Woodhorn to produce a more 'everyday' range of products for the shop to appeal to their core visitors of schoolchildren and grandparents with their grandchildren. My MINE! dirty fingerprint design was used across pens, pencils, notebooks and mugs.
Now give back that pen you nicked. Yes, its MINE!