We have designed a collection which offers a modern interpretation of traditional purpose-led workwear. Based on the needs of those driven by innovation and creativity in or outside of the workshop.
Upon completion of an art degree at Falmouth University in 2014 and set on staying put in Cornwall, Amy Isles Freeman found community in a group of like minded craftsmen and women all creating functional art. Producing prints at the time, Amy was frustrated with the 2D aspect of her work. It was the peripheral goings on of others that led Amy to begin creating with a utilitarian purpose.
Honing in on wood turning; a craft notorious for being male dominated, Amy saw opportunity to marry together her skills with the ancient practice, creating the unique hand painted bowls she makes today.
Wood turning techniques consist of using the wood lathe with hand held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. The whole process requires a steady hand, enough creativity and visualisation to see beyond your raw material, and time. Spending time at Amy’s workshop you can see that the space is dedicated to the craft, free from distraction.
The bowls first took shape in a fairly minimal form. A learning curve with a self-confessed naïve entry to the art form presented a challenge; a test for new eyes and eager hands to forge something fresh. Amy first took inspiration from a piece she was commissioned to create, animating her work with a fusion of colours, patterns and imagery.
Taking important influence from children’s drawings and folk art, her journey from behind the stone walls of the workshop has defined a style and physical form that harmonises her surroundings, values and creative licence.
Taking an interest in feminist art during her studies, highlighting the societal and political differences for women and the potential for positive change, Amy found that much of the art she had researched was made in anger, an emotion that didn’t resonate with her own work nor in how she wanted to communicate feminism and her exploration of female sexuality. In turn she created pieces that were bold, joyful and beautiful to look at, a representation of what feminism means to her, and many others.
The somewhat brutal and harsh nature of the weathered stone at the workshop is symbolic of this strong feminist attitude and determination to level the playing field and stereotype of a once male-dominated craft. The beauty of what comes out in a softened, curved wood form in bright and resolute colour is testament to that.
The feminist aspect of Amy’s art empowers her and other women. It encourages her to feel strong; a sensation that also occurs when Amy swims. Being able to get in a space and meditate on ideas from new bowl shapes to colour schemes to business ideas helps her work progress.
Whilst normally opting for pool swimming, the occasional wild swim and the grittiness of the cold influences her work to be happier, as she’s determined to only add these expressions of joy rather than anger.
Exposed to the elements, Amy’s workshop is surrounded by nature, yet another source of inspiration for her woodturning tools and paintbrushes. Consciously using the flora & fauna, birds and tigers (not native to Cornwall) to express freedom and joy; an emotion she finds in her work particularly when embodying a new creation.
Her hands, body and heart flow to work together, taking her to a new mind space. Where feminism meets ancient craft, and the rotation of wood around an axis is hopeful in creating not only functional art, but a more balanced way of thinking.