I first came across Mister Finch’s creations a few years ago. I was instantly in love with them. A self-taught textile artist living in Yorkshire, England, Mister Finch creates fairy tale creatures from found scraps of fabric, thread, and paper. He makes everything himself, sewing and selecting all by hand.
He called his business Mister Finch to make it clear that he is a man and one that sews. And he adores it. He is completely self-taught, with no formal training, just armed with the love of making things and a beautifully wild imagination.
His fantastical work is a mix of countryside creatures and the wit and wonder of British folklore. The secret life of animals, birds, and insects comes alive as he stitches their stories. Curtains from an old hotel, a threadbare wedding dress tossed aside, become magical birds and beasts. They are beautiful, imperfect, and slightly raw. As Mister Finch describes, “storytelling creatures for people who are also a little lost, found and forgotten…”
Clearly I have a thing for words. But from the look of things, it’s not just me. Signs and things that say seem to be a trend that is here to stay. Last week, funnily enough, I came across these two hellos. Maybe that’s not your word, I’m not sure what mine is… but the technique is what had me. The first hello is embroidered in the negative space using splashes of color to reveal the word. Crafted by Australian design student, Fallon Horstmann, who created the design freehand. The second hello is from a great tutorial found on Poppytalk by Rachel from The Crafted Life, which shows step-by-step how to make your own wooden sign. Thank you both for these ways with words.
I bring you a great tale of father and daughter, craftsmanship and creativity, food and fulfillment. It’s the tale of Herriott Grace.
For me it started with the food. When I first saw these images of rhubarb, beautifully styled and shot, I had to see more – being in a strawberry-rhubarb state of mind at the moment. These led me to the blog at Herriott Grace, Forty-Sixth at Grace. Once there I thought I was in heaven, discovering that the images that I had found were actually the adolescent stages of a Panna Cotta and Rhubarb Tart. I’m happy to say, it gets better and more beautiful and more delicious the more you look around…
But what I came to discover was even more extraordinary. This was not just a food blog, though one hell of a food blog. To use their words, Herriott Grace is a venture of father and daughter. It began when Nikole Herriott first moved away from her home in Victoria, British Columbia, to Toronto, Ontario. To bridge the distance, she and her father would send packages back and forth. He began to include some of his own hand carved spoons in them. He had been collecting wood since the early seventies and used his best pieces for these gifts. Nikole loved them, for their balance and shape, and because they were made with unmistakeable care.
She realized one day, that other people might enjoy his work. She asked him if he would be willing to share it. After some time thinking, he said yes, but only with people who would understand and appreciate the care and effort spent on each piece. And here we are.
His pieces are beautiful, interesting, one of a kind – testaments to the craft of the hand that revealed them. The grain, the knots, the irregularities, are what makes them, for they tell the tale from whence they came. Herriott Grace is a venture of father and daughter. It is a shop which sells these one of a kind creations and sundry items for the kitchen and table, all created with the same appreciation of form and material, quality and detail. The blog is as much a thing of beauty as the pieces themselves, for it is perfectly curated, beautifully styled and shot, and written with such an honesty that you will want to know more. This is a tale of father and daughter, meet them here:
…and so much so, that it inspired me to create a new series on my blog – “creative crushing” – a place to swoon and gawk over the creatives and creations that are above and beyond.
So I’m in love, for starters, with Dutch artist Anne Ten Donkelaar and her series “Flower Constructions“. Yep, totally crushing. Her flower constructions are 3-D collages created from pressed flowers and cut out pictures of flowers, plants, mushrooms, and the like. She places each element, meticulously, on pins and then builds her fantastical specimens. The pins create depth and shadow, making each piece a dynamic, interactive, changing sculpture.
They are at once, magical, colorful, creepy, pretty, pop-arty, biological, and architectural, and I am in love. All images courtesy of Anne Ten Donkelaar.
I find myself completely enthralled by German artist, Cornelia Konrads‘ natural sculptures. It’s no surprise that I love the elements of wood and stone, but what I find really compelling is the whimsy which seems to impel each sculpture. In each piece Konrads plays with the ideas of motion and calm, with dissolution and density. Her installations exist in inbetween states, in flux. They play with ambiguity. Are the elements rising or falling? Are they being constructed or deconstructed?
Her installations exist as emblems of the cycle of becoming and passing, something to think upon, this new year.
I am completely taken with Tobias Tovera‘s series “Diffusions of Pigment.” The intense, saturated hues are almost jarring, while the oozing fluidity pulls you in. His work is said to be like emotions painted. Love them.