It was something that both of us had always wanted, I remember us sat last summer in a pop up space we'd hired for a weekend. We'd made it our own, I was painting, Dan chatting furniture. "this is what we want, isnt it" I mused at each other smiling. "yes, this but bigger and somewhere for me to work!" was Dans reply. A year and a half later and we got our dream and it was sitting under our noses the whole time.
Follow us in this photo journal of turning a dusty old barn into our dream space. Our sanctuary and our opportunity.
Art in your home - we ask two interiors designers for advice, top tips and a unique insight into making the most of art.
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.
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 wooden 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.
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.