Saturday, 26 January 2013

Boxes and Baskets

Fruit bowl, printed card

Corrugated cardboard has featured heavily in my work. I have always considered it to be a fairly natural material sitting somewhere between trees and paper. It is a wonderful material for basket making being flexible, relatively strong and kind to the things the baskets will contain. Initially I was attracted to it because I was looking for a way to use colour in my work without dying materials and cardboard lent itself to painting. Then I gave up using paint in my work (on environmental grounds) and so I stopped using card for a while because I couldn't get excited by brown. Then boxes started to change and became more colourful as a consequence of the way in which goods are displayed in supermarkets. Previously the boxes were emptied, the goods stacked on the shelves and the boxes taken away out of sight. Now many supermarkets use the boxes as part of the display and the suppliers and manufacturers now see colourful printed boxes as a means of attracting attention to their goods on the shelves. This is good news for me as now I can get hold of plenty of brightly coloured boxes!

So, this year I will be doing more cardboard workshops, somehow the moment seems right for it again as it costs nothing and is readily available, no matter where you live.

The first workshop will be in Shetland on the island of Yell on the 2nd and 3rd of March, it costs £60 for two days, no previous experience necessary and you can book a place by emailing me.


This is the title of an exhibition of work by the members of Veer North, Britains most northerly group of visual artists based in the Shetland Islands. Our current exhibition on the theme of numbers opened last weekend at Bonhoga Gallery.

My contribution is a small clutch bag plaited out of the pages of a Shetland telephone directory. In order for it to perform as a bag in this damp climate, I wrapped the paper strips with polythene before plaiting, a labour of love but essential. Laminating the strips would have worked too, but I don't have a laminator and it would have meant buying materials, which is something I try to avoid doing. The strap is from an old camera and the button is a key from a defunct laptop.

The exhibition will be on until the 3rd of March.