23/5/2020 0 Comments
Becci - Hiltingbury Interiors
For me personally, I’ll often look for art when we are travelling either in the UK or abroad. I also attend exhibitions, open studios, art/craft fairs and I’m far more likely to purchase art if I’ve met the artist. I think social media is also really important and I’ll follow artists so that I can see who’s putting what out there.
For clients, I will often hook them up with artists I know. I have relationships with an eclectic mix of artists so can often match the client with an artist to suit their personality and interior design style.
Sarah - Sarah Beam Interiors
I’m always very excited to put the work of local artists into the homes of my clients #shoplocal. You can’t beat pop-up art exhibitions and local galleries - seeing a variety of collections up close with their varying styles and mediums broadens the chance of finding something that really hits the spot. Meeting the artists is invaluable too, especially if there is an opportunity to commission a piece specifically for my project – I can chat through the possibilities there and then to get the ball rolling.
I also increasingly value the opportunity provided by Instagram and other social media channels to get to know brands and the artists behind them. I’m basically matchmaking my clients to art(ists) I think they’ll resonate with.
"...social media content gives you so much more. Incorporating a piece of art into your home is personal, so getting a real sense of an artist’s values, approaches and inspiration is brilliant." Sarah
Cedars Yard as a vague business proposal was formed in the summer of 2017. We were staying at Dan's parents whilst in between houses, Emma had just decided not to return to her job post maternity leave and Dan was travelling and working many hours going back to Surrey as a tree surgeon. It was a fairly tough unsettling time, but what came with it too was a sense of freedom of opportunity, or at least the potential to do something scary and new.
In our still fairly young relationship of 3 years and with a young baby in tow we had already learnt that we both had a passion to run our own thing (and do things our own way!), that we could work together in the most stressful and fast paced of environments (we'd run a busy pub kitchen) and that we had similar values of what we wanted a business to achieve. So we hatched a plan of what Cedars Yard could be and got to work on a zero budget, zero experience in self employment but 100% enthusiastic ambition.
Emma's story. Creative to pub management and back again.
Ten years working for a corporate managed house business (that's pubs by the way). I trained, I managed, I was inspired, I had loads of fun, met some great people, I travelled the UK but I also cried, was stressed and was never off the job. Okay, admittedly I'm still never off the job but its on my terms! I had fallen into this line of business and yes I hugely appreciate the years where I learnt to love good beer, a fine whisky and manage a business but I never was that extroverted manager perfect for that front of house role. I had always said to myself and to Dan that I'd love to go back to a job in the creative industry, I just didn't know how or what! I didn't know how I would find the time to explore options and didn't know how I could afford to take a break from my job to start again. I was stuck in a situation many of us find ourselves in.
I studied Printed Textiles at Loughborough University, gees 18years ago! Before this I did a years art foundation, loved it and went down the textile design route. Yes it appealed to me, as I love a pattern but I also felt it would give me more job opportunities (you know REAL jobs!). I had an awesome time at Loughborough but what I learnt about myself at this tender age was 1. I wasn't great at or really enjoyed using CAD, in fact and this might be a sign of the times it wasn't big in our course but upon leaving it quickly became a key skill needed, 2. I loved the prework, the sketching and the initial painting so much more than the actual printing, 3. I was way too messy to be a printer. Think random dye splodges and miss-aligned designs - yep, that was me! And 4, when cooking I rarely follow a recipe so when it comes to making accurate dyes and understanding chemical compounds I always felt I was a little off point with what I was trying to achieve. Despite this I worked my arse off and got a 2:1 which I think was primarily down to my pre-work and sketchbooks. But what now. London called a few to work, some went into low paid or no pay apprenticeships, a few friends continued to qualify as teachers and the rest, I'm not too sure but it didn't feel like there was lots of jobs waiting nor was it a time (like now) when you could self publicise.
I moved back to my parents and it wasn't long after that, my sister who was in the process of looking for her first position in a Mitchlin star restaurant got a chance position back in near Lougborough. I decided to go with her and applied to be a boys wear designer at the NEXT headquarters. So we moved to Melton Mowbray (finger on map moment of a midway town), I didn't get my job so I set about needing to earn some money, quickly! I got a job at my local pub and started working for two managers who I really admired and supported me in my development. I freelanced as a textile designer too, selling a few pieces but I was never able to convert this to a full time wage. So, I stayed in pubs, became involved in their training team and spent the next 5years travelling all over the UK opening new businesses and implementing new systems. I got bored of the corporate side and travelling so went back to management in pubs, eventually heading on my own to London. It was a big move for a shy introvert and I loved it. It gave me a big confidence boost in knowing myself, exploring different scenes and figuring out what I could achieve. I still had it my head that my career wouldn't end in pub management, but I took solice in the fact that the brand I worked for was creative, young and driven by the manager, plus I got to design chalkboards and put my own artwork up on the walls in some places!(my little bit of creative freedom). Facing this fact I went full steam with wanting my own pub and eventually was given my first management position and I moved again on my own to Reading. It was here that I met Dan.
I was drawing then occasionally and these two early pieces of mine I gave to Dan as gifts show my early love of drawing the sea.
We moved to Haslemere within knowing each other for six months. New home, new pub to run and new relationship! We lived above the pub and like many pubs I've worked in it was special and we fell for it and the people. Forward a few years and I fell pregnant, work was super full on but I had my can do attitude on and fully expected myself to go back to work, working 60 hour weeks and still be the mum I wanted to be. Easy right? When I left for my maternity leave, I really wasn't confident in the support my team were being given by head office. Before having Cedar I couldn't imagine how I could be upstairs and not give a toss about the business I had been running downstairs, but without the fortune of hindsight we decided Dan would become part of the team, so at least we could still help them out. Dan loved the pub, as did I, but we probably cared to much about the vision we had for the business and that mixed with the increasing pressures from a corporate business meant it didn't work out and there were fallings out. So when the time came to go back, I realised I couldn't go back to that environment and work my arse off to just afford childcare. Plus my total passion for the industry was destroyed.
So the silver lining and the gift of time was given. Albeit with a eight month old baby, no idea what to do and a need for money.
And so our creative mashup Cedars Yard was born and as I write this 3.5 years on we haven't looked back. Yes its changed, yes, it will continue to grow and yes we spend a lot of time and energy on it but so far its 100% worth it and I'm so pleased things all went wrong to enable us to spread our wings.
Dan's story. Too good for the fire.
So when did my passion for nature, woodlands and whittling begin? I remember as a kid going out with my dad after the storm of 87 and collecting logs from all the local arborists and have a go hero's with their hobby saws as they chopped fire wood and I remember thinking how fun it looked. You know big chainsaws and axes (whats not to love!)
Over 30 years on and when splitting wood I still get that same excitement every time, even if its just wood for the BBQ. And now I have my own nipper running around wanting to help and be involved in EVERYTHING! My dad used to make all sorts of bits for the garden which of course I wanted to help out with and one thing that always sticks in my mind from then is that he always said "if a jobs worth doing its worth doing it right".
Years went by and by college time I found myself doing a sales / computer course...yeah that went well! After about a year in an office I was pulling my hair out, just wanting to get out of there and to the beach to wind surf or surf, or do anything that took me to the coast. I hated it and when I got offered a job as a driver as a chippys mate (ie dogs body!) I snapped it up. I spent 3 years with him learning the trade including basic wood framing and the finer work of finishing (2nd fix carpentry).
Then came the golden opportunity to do some TREEWORK! I spent the next 7 years learning all aspects of tree work from utility, domestic, parkland, woodland management and some small scale forestry. These years helped me gain so much knowledge and set me up for the future so a little salute to John and all the lads at First Call that helped me on my way and set many of the standards I pride myself on keeping today. I moved on and started working for a number of companies as a contract climber but became frustrated at some of the practices I was being asked to do, as I've always tried to preserve trees to the best of my ability. Anyway I wanted to do more than just take wood and burn it so I started making some rustic furniture and playing with basic framing. Soon enough things evolved to what you see today, combining my love of tree work and making things from scratch. From a standing tree to a new tree-house or a dining table. Making something to last and that is personal is what I aim to offer, not something off the shelf or the same as your neighbours. I enjoy playing with the natural grain and embracing the knots and splits to add character to your home. Like life nothing is perfect and if we look past that and you will find so much more that makes you smile.
If like me you can find joy in the naturals swirls and splits in wood then I think we can agree its too good for the fire.
Choosing original artwork for your home is a wonderful experience and not as elite or unattainable as you may think.
With today's access to the Internet many artists are avoiding the high commissioned worlds of galleries and self promoting and selling. Meaning you can much more easily make direct contact with an artist you admire and deal directly with them.
So I've laid out a few steps that I'd recommend you consider when commissioning a piece of abstract art and things that I do to aide this process.
Now I would advocate paying attention to your local art scene. From open studios, shows, art fairs, independent shops to a good ole Google or Instagram hashtag search (I like to use #surreyartist #hampshireartist in my posts) there's lots of places to find what's going on in your local art scene.
Going local firstly supports those in your area which is undeniably valuable but it also enables a closer bond to build between artist and client because you can actually meet. I for one think its advantagous to meet in person and see the home of the client. It helps give in insight into taste and how your work will fit into a space.
Here's how I brought a couples dream of having a unique live-edge dining room table to life.
When I was originally asked to make this table the plan was for one large slab for the top approximately 7ftx3ft. This was possible but after the first consultation with the client it was decided to use split chestnut due to the size, weight and cost of a slab that big. I could also see the love this person had for live-edge timber, so what better than to have a table that is full of natural shapes, colours and different grain patterns.
So the project was a go! I began by selecting two boards with the most interesting shapes for the outside edge and the other planks. This was from timber I had previously hand-milled myself and left to season.
Next up was the splitting process. Once I had the two outer edges split, I split another three planks and set them up together to see which ones would be best next to each other with the least alteration.
Once happy, the shaping took place using a adze. A little bit of finesse with a spoke shave and a final bit of sanding got these planks ready.
So, it now sat together beautifully and the next job was to make the cross brace and cut the underside out with the chainsaw and chisel. Actual blood, sweat and tears went into this part of the build to get it sat together right and secure.
How to have an arty wedding.
Do you dream in colour and crush over an impasto painting? Well we've taken an Internet dive to bring you some fabulous ideas to get you started on a truly unique arty wedding.
2. THE CAKE.
Let's face it, thick luscious icing has many similarities to paint. So why not treat your cake like a blank canvas and create a masterpiece on it.
Any kind of creativity or exercise are great tools to support mindfulness. In our busy lives, its becoming increasingly important to take a restful moment that promotes wellness and selfcare. Art can help do that and if you've not done much it shouldn't be something to be scared of. These 3 simples steps advise on how to involve art into your life to aide mindfulness.
1. No pressure.
This isn't about creating a finished piece. This is one of my biggest learnings from university was how to use a sketchbook as an exercise in exploration rather than starting each with the mindset of thinking how will it turn out.
Take yourself back to your childhood art, when you just created, it could be a mess, it could be organised pattern but overall it is just play. Remove the pressure to make "something" or draw something realistic and just MAKE YOUR MARK. This isn't work to show to be judged, but who the hell cares if its seen, its an extension of the creative side of your brain. I dont want to hear "but I can't draw", because everyone can physically draw. We don't have to be Rembrandt to enjoy the process.
Loosen up and enjoy exercises like drawing with your eyes closed, drawing without looking at the paper and continuous line drawing.
YOUR GUEST CANVAS
I had an absolute blast hosting this art event at this fabulous couples wedding last weekend. It went way beyond my expectations of how much fun the guests would have.
There was nostalgia as guests donned their back to front aprons and reminisced their school days, there was laughter as they gently teased each other over painting skills, there was competition over whose was the best bit, there was conversation as they kept coming back to see how the painting was progressing and there was pride, so much pride for what collectively they had managed to achieve as their gift to the newly weds.