Amy Isles Freeman makes “hand turned, hand painted, useful objects.” Describing naivety as “one of the best starting points,” Amy trained as a fine artist and learned to turn wood on a farm in Cornwall. Combining the traditionally masculine practice of woodwork with her decorative painting style, that celebrates femininity in all its guises, has resulted in a distinctive body of work that sets her apart. Design Geek first came across her work during our Cornish Design Season at the end of last year and editor Katie Treggiden thought it was high time they caught up…
Expressing myself in an honest and meaningful way is of paramount importance to me, to communicate effectively my thoughts and feelings on the world.
Ideas come from a place of relaxation. I can’t be inspired if I am stressed.
My current collection is playful. All my work is play. Simple turned shapes depict themes of female sexuality that are entwined with botanical shapes and birds that look like hands, full of joy and colour. They are pieces of art to live amongst the things in someone’s house, not on the wall.
The process varies wildly depending on what the product is. For example, my new bedside tables have taken months of planning, beginning with endless sketches and maquettes, organising some fellow makers to teach me how to weld and outsourcing steel bar bending. On the other side of the coin, a new bowl idea and design could start and finish in a day. I don’t spend much time working things out on paper when it comes to patterns, I just begin to play with shapes and colours straight onto the pots. Painting onto three dimensions is always so different, and taking into account the piece as a whole cannot happen on a flat white sheet. If it goes wrong – sand it off and begin again.
I am trained in the painting and drawing side of my work, so I find that much more relaxing. However, when I have a turning day, covered in dust, listening to Beyonce or No Such Thing As A Fish, and I turn a few really nice bowls, it feels pretty powerful.
Definitely gaining the confidence to walk into processes and materials that I haven’t worked with before.
Good design has to have character.
I’m proud that I have continually challenged myself. Had I not, I would still be making some very boring work.
Work out what your strengths are, whether it’s understanding colour, shape, or materials, and use that to gain the confidence in the other avenues of your work.
Red. It sings so loudly amongst the others.
Claymen is the brain child of New Delhi-based Aman Khanna – a London College of Communication-educated graphic artist and illustrator who has turned his hand to the third dimension after eight years spent creating visuals …
Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.
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