Miss Clara Knight's Curious Collections:
Series one, Seashore Specimens
I embarked on this series of pieces, encouraged by fellow mixed media artist Helen Hallows, as
a further development of my previous work: Collection Compiled Whilst Travelling By Miss
Effie Partington'. This work had been inspired by collecting and the nature of the objects and ephemera that we treasure. We all collect things for many reasons including the items' monetary value, intrinsic value or for the cherished memories they evoke.
Growing up, my finds were rather modest, comprising of little things that were special to me in
some way, such as 'lucky' stones, interesting shells or fossils, pretty buttons and beads, birthday cards, or flowers, picked on family days out, that I would preserve in a press, I always loved the contemplative process of packing my treasures into suitable boxes or tins to keep them safe from the deluge of time.
Over the years, my collections have continued to grow, with more and more objects and ephemera. I'm especially drawn to things that have a sense of history: antique or vintage items
such as books, maps, fans, lace and passementerie.
And boxes. Lots of boxes.....
I have written a journal-style story entitled, 'Miss Clara Knight's Curious Collections', (see menu), to accompany this body of work. The premise is as follows.......
Miss Clara Knight is a Victorian girl possessed of a particularly independent nature, who has spent many years travelling the country with her father, an eminent Professor of Archaeology. As they search for wonders of antiquity, Clara compiles treasured collections of her own….
Series One: 'Seashore Specimens', finds Clara and her father exploring the southern coast of England for fascinating finds.........
Miss Clara Knight's Curious Collections
Series two: A New Discovery
Series Two finds Clara and her father travelling north in search of a mysterious hoard....
For this series, I selected delicate specimens of nature and incorporated them into some of my own handmade papers with antique/vintage textile inclusions and hand stitching.
Fossil & Slate
I have collected fossils for many years now, and I have a selection of real ammonites. I find it awe-inspiring to contemplate the age of these little fragments of pre-history.
For Fossil & Slate, I cast handmade paper ammonites, and mounted them on slivers of slate and
vintage textiles or papers.
HANDMADE PAPER VESSELS
Some years ago I started experimenting with making very fine and translucent papers, and began exploring the potential for their use in vessel-making. I held a solo exhibition at Snibston Discovery Museum, Coalville, entitled Paper Dreams, for which I made several sets of these vessels.
These handmade paper vessels are created using a variety of papers
including my own papers made from recycled waste paper, old book pages and paper napkins,
and other handmade papers such as silk paper or banana-leaf paper.
All of these vessels have inclusions of antique or vintage cotton lace, some handmade.
A series of collagraphs created using handmade cotton linters paper pulp and vintage lace fragments, each mounted on black linen. Made as part of Synchronise, a collaborative exhibition for members of the Design Factory, which was held at the National Centre for Craft and Design, Sleaford.
As a member of the Design Factory I participated in a group show held at The Beetroot Tree gallery, Derbyshire. The artists were asked to approach their work from a fresh perspective, perhaps changing their colours, scale, technique, or materials etc. I had worked with subtle, muted colours for my Creature Feature series so for 'Fresh', I worked from a much brighter palette of blue and green hues. and further developed other ideas I'd been working on for my fish and sea creatures.
Photography by Terry Davies of Print Scape Photography
In 2006 I held my first solo exhibition, Creature Feature, in the Upstairs Gallery at The City gallery, Leicester. I had been exploring papermaking techniques and experimenting with inclusions for many years, allowing my creatures to evolve....
I created these works as thick, dense paper panels to give them appearance of fossil beds, as if the creatures have been embedded there for millennia. But I also wanted to imbue the creatures with a feeling of calm and serenity and the sense that they are existing
in their own ethereal, other-worldly habitat.
For this collection I incorporated inclusions of natural items such as skeleton leaves from my garden, and vintage/antique lace and other textiles. I also stitched some of these pieces with Free Machine Embroidery.
Photography by Terry Davies of Print Scape Photography
THE LOST BOOKS
The lost Books series came about after I saw an invitation for artists to participate in making a 'Library of Lost Books', at Birmingham Library. On application, artists would be sent an old, damaged and unwanted book to which they were encouraged to apply their own techniques to transform it in any way they wished. This sounded like a delightful idea, but I had spotted the invitation too late to catch the deadline, so....... using a selection of pre-loved novels that had been destined for the ragging pile at a local charity I made a series of my own and created a delicate dragonet inside each as a faithful guardian of those who love to read....
The handmade paper panels set within each recess all have inclusions of natural objects and textiles.