Meet the Maker- Bee Hayes (As the Crow Flies)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New to the Paper Scissors Stone team - is ceramic designer Bee Hayes.  Bee creates intricate porcelain accessories and home wares... here is a little more about her...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work? 
My name’s Bee, I’m from Scotland and have lived in Bristol for nearly ten years. My work is pretty wide ranging; I trained as an anthropologist and a fashion designer, I work in graphic design and find myself most inspired by my ceramics and illustration currently. I first branched into ceramics because I intended to produce a handmade clothing range incorporating my collection of vintage buttons… but I realised that I couldn’t part with all my beautiful magpie button treasure, collected over many years. I began experimenting with reproducing versions of them in porcelain… the clothes never went into production but the buttons remain a key part of my output. I’m always so excited to find new inspirations or found objects to work from. I use vintage buttons, cast metalwork, textile block prints, shells, leaves and antique lace in my designs so my work retains the feel of these impressions while taking on new life from their relief images and the intricate hand-colouring work. I use similar techniques to make brooches, earrings, tea lights and decorations as well as producing hand-thrown illustrated bowls and Victorian-style moustache cups!

Apart from creating things what else do you do?
Life is rich and I spend a lot of time outside, biking, walking and swimming… I am dedicated to cooking delicious things and eating as much locally produced food as possible. I love recording the world around me in images so I do a lot of photography. I also work as a volunteer at a refugee centre, which is amazing: I meet astonishing people from all over the world and it's incredibly inspiring. I like to have adventures and my list of things to learn, and places to go gets longer faster than I can get through them. Next up: Georgia.

When did you know you were an artist/maker? 
I’ve had an urge to make and sell things since I was a kid; back then I used to make beaded earrings and sell them to enthusiastic family members! I spent a lot of time drawing too: imagining outfits for punks, an early obsession. Professionally, I used to work as a fashion designer creating garments, embroideries and bead work for Whistles. Since then I have worked in graphics while fledging my ceramics work, which I am now concentrating on. I love it. I am always collecting, drawing, thinking of new ideas – there just isn’t enough time in the world to produce it all! 

What do you love most about working in your chosen discipline?
I love the fact that I can see a product from initial idea to end packaged product – it gives immense satisfaction to know that every part has come from my own endeavour – as a designer you are only ever a cog in a larger process which has it’s advantages but in the end the ownership is not yours.

Where does your inspiration come from?
- Natural forms: leaves, flowers, birds, shells, decayed and worn things.
- Different periods of design history: especially the decorative art nouveau and art deco periods but also more retro stuff and contemporary graphic design work.
- The photographs I take everywhere, which are a key step in mediating what I see around me into something I can work with.
- Colour: explosive Bollywood technicolour is really making me happy right now. Vintage crockery of many periods and types.
- I am especially enamoured of Susie Cooper’s early design work, and Sonia Delaunay and Charles Rennie MacKintosh’s textile designs. The list is pretty endless actually…
Describe your studio or workspace?
Full of pictures. I love to collect imagery and surround myself with what resonates at a given moment: I might have a magazine cutting from ten years ago next to postcards from a current exhibition next to my own work… It’s also full of strange collected objects and comforting vintage bits and pieces. It’s an ordered mess, I have an obtuse system of my own. In truth I have two spaces, one for my ceramics and one for drawing and development as it’s too frustrating to have to clear up everything to change media!
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
At the moment it would be Edmund de Waal, the potter who wrote 'The Hare with the Amber Eyes' - and I'd be hoping he was there to answer my questions. I love his sense of object-history and the different meanings invested and reinvested in things that he talks about. It reflects the evolving nature of my own work and its reinterpretation of old into new.
How would you describe your creative process? 
Eclectic and focused at the same time. I like to get obsessed by things and work at them intensely: at the moment I am producing a series of peacock illustrations before taking out elements that I want to convert into decals for my pots. I also have several parallel projects: a series of art deco inspired slip decorated pots and a series of freehand graffito fruit and vegetable bowls. I will be adding to these ranges and experimenting with them for some time. Often I begin with picture research and go for a wide approach, including things which may not seem obvious at the time, and then honing in to what works together. But sometimes I like to just wade in, with designs straight from my head as the freshness can work really well. The colour work I do is mainly intuitive and I tend not to work from pictures, rather from the remembered essence of what I’ve been looking at. With my buttons I have to really discipline myself to make consistent sets of colours and designs as it's too tempting to constantly diversify and update.
What handmade possession do you most cherish? 
At present, my beautiful handmade silver sycamore earrings, by my talented jeweller niece, Miya Hayes. I would cry if I lost them! 

What do you when you are stuck in a creative rut? 
Go out and look. I had a fantastic tutor for a while at art college who inspired me by saying he never, ever drove to work by the same route: always he would take new turnings, get lost, surprise himself just for the sheer pleasure of discovery and the excitement of new input and unexpected sights. I try to remember that, and I look at things all the time – buildings, what people are wearing, seasonal changes, day, night, exhibitions, the colours of the vegetables I am chopping, the combinations of eclectic crockery I set the table with, pictures torn out of everywhere… the world is abundant with inspiration. 

Which is your favourite local independent shop or eatery in Bristol & why? 
I love to go and look in La Belle Boutique on Picton street – she has a fabulous eye and the collections of vintage objects are really beautiful - and the Here Shop on Stokes Croft for contemporary illustration. Both entirely different in feel but full of inspiration. 

Where would you like to be in ten years? 
Working full time on my ceramics, with time to really push product development and get more of my illustration work integrated in my designs. 

Thank you Bee... you have certainly inspired us to get out and see the world!  You can find Bee's beautiful creations in our Spring collection at Paper Scissors Stone.

Paper Scissors Stone is OPEN
Mon - Sat:  10am - 6pm
Sun:  11am - 5pm
Quakers Friars, Cabot Circus, Bristol

No comments:

Post a Comment