a day in the life at Vinegar and Brown Paper

  

Describe the world you work in? 

This September saw the second anniversary of [vinegar & brown paper] and I look at things around me and marvel at how much my world has changed over the last couple of years. This week my daughter starts school full-time - so I am officially no longer doing this as a stay-at-home dad. I’m having to move house because I desperately need more studio space and I’m looking at employing some one to help to cope with upcoming Christmas orders. It’s a pretty strange place to find myself in, but I genuinely love where I’m at at the moment.

How do you define your work now? From working for someone else - to working for yourself? What was the transition you went from to be were you are now?

Put simply - For the first time in my life I feel creatively fulfilled. After over a decade of working as an advertising creative in a job that could at times be incredibly rewarding, but most of the time felt like having your soul slowly crushed - to now find myself creating things that people actually want to own is simply quite an idyllic state to be in. How I got from there to here I’m not entirely sure - what I do remember though is hiding in a store cupboard at work, vowing to myself that if this was what being ‘Creative’ meant, then I was never going to do anything creative ever again in my whole life as it wasn’t worth feeling like this. The next day I quit. Not with some grand heroic notion of writing a novel or setting up my own company, I quit simply to stop doing something that was making me feel the way I did. It took me about a year to recover. Part of this was down to becoming a father and part of it was a a dawning realization that it’s the simple act of creating new ideas and new things for no other reason than the joy of doing

it, that makes me who I am.

Who taught you how to etch? And what was the first thing you made?

I worked out how to glass etch by myself. I’d had this idea (whilst pushing my daughter around in her push chair one afternoon) about putting coffee related quotes onto cafetieres and wondered why nobody had done it before. It took me a while, but after a bit of research and a few false starts (which led to me shelving the idea for several months to work on something else) I finally discovered a technique that would allow me to etch tempered glass such as Pyrex. This led to etching laboratory glass and it progressed from there. The actual first proper piece I made was a large cylindrical glass vase that was home to our two goldfish at the time. In large letters on the side I etched: ‘HAVE YOU FED THE FISH TODAY?’ I still have it in loft somewhere. (Unfortunately both Nigel & Nora have since passed away).

How do you keep your ideas flowing? What inspires you and excites you about your journey ahead?

For me, coming up with ideas is just what I do and I can’t stop doing it (which I discovered after leaving work). I find inspiration in anything and everything. It’s a case of looking at the world sideways, with one eye half closed and then you just start noticing the myriads of little hidden connections that crackle and spark off new ideas. I’m very fortunate that it’s the generation of ideas that I enjoy the most, as it keeps me perpetually wanting to move on to the next piece. Couple this with my burgeoning obsession with vintage glassware and it becomes this huge, brilliant game of finding the next beautiful piece of glass and the perfectly fitting idea to execute upon it.

Are there more men taking the leap and going for their dreams?

As I mentioned before - it was never some heroic leap towards my dream that led me here - I was a mess and needed to stop doing what I was doing before it was too late. Having said that, since starting [vinegar & brown paper] I’ve met a reassuringly large number of other makers and artists who have had very similar stories of feeling unsatisfied with their careers. Are more men feeling this way? Possibly so, there is a female bias in the maker community but I know lots of men there too. I think everyone has a dream of quitting their jobs and doing something that they’ve always wanted to do - it’s just the rules of the regular income, responsibility and the inertia you find yourself prey too, that stops most people from doing it. In the end it either takes a heck of a lot of courage, or a heck of a lot of shit to make it happen.

How would you describe the community you live and work in?

Fascinating. The people I meet constantly amaze me with how talented they are and there is this genuine warmth that exists between artists & makers. It’s also a community that is now global thanks to Twitter & Facebook and I’m honoured to be part of it all. I mean - I used to work in advertising - everybody hates advertising.

Where would you like to take your creative business in the new few years, how do you see it developing?

There’s never really been a proper plan, but I’ve always had an over-arching feel of how I’d like to develop [vinegar & brown paper]. I’m very excited about a couple of projects I have in mind for next year, including working on a book of my work. The vital thing for me though is to keep on enjoying it, keep on having fun with it and keep on being me, because at the age of 39 I finally feel as if I’m doing exactly what I should be doing with my life and if all this stops abruptly tomorrow, at least I know I somehow managed to achieve the one thing I always wanted, but never thought I’d ever get.

What is a blissful life to you?

This comes back to the bit of an epiphany I had after I left work. For me, bliss is the sensation I get when I’ve just created something new. It’s a beautiful, overwhelming sensation that I can best describe as a wide beaming smile inside my mind.

If you could change anything, what would it be?

I’ve always thought of myself as a cynic, a pessimist - I’ve been a bookish indie kid from the age of 13 (you know the type) - but these days I’m becoming more of the mind that you have to go through certain things just to get to somewhere else, and every thing you do wrong, is just a way to get things right. (Obviously, if you’d asked me the same question when I was hiding in that store cupboard a few years back I would have given you an entire list of things).

What are your favourite products at the moment?

I go through obsessions like I go through pistachio nuts. I’m currently obsessing over Ercol day beds, 3D printers, Adana gold letterpress ink, the ‘S’ Coffee table by Qubis, Smiths bakelite barometers… *fades out…fades back in*…. …Denham menswear, Skive footwear, the Headlamp No.1 by GreyMoose designs, 1960s school maps…(and that’s just in the last hour or so).

Whose work are you loving at the moment? Please share…

There are certain artists and makers that I just get an immediate feeling of ‘wow, that is just perfect.’ about. There’s loads, here’s three that immediately spring to mind: Textile artist Mister Finch - whose sense of beauty and level of detail leaves me full of wonder: www.mister-finch.com Beth Made This - whose kinetic jewellery has to be seen to be believed: http://bethmadethis.weebly.com/2/post/2012/11/a-spinning-locket-mapping-the-heavens-armilliary-sphere-locket.html Butterscotch & Beesting whose work makes me contemplate running away to the circus: www.butterstings.com

Amazing aren’t they?  Andy Poplar [vinegar & brown paper]

The World of Artist, Kate Lycett

kate3What do you love about living in Hebden Bridge and Yorkshire?
For Yorkshire the friendliness of people! For Hebden Bridge, the community and the sense that anything is possible.

What is your favourite place to visit in Yorkshire?
I love Saltaire - there’s something for each of my family there. I love Knaresborough, Bolton Abbey, Ripley. I love Whitby and Robin Hoods Bay. Perhaps my favourite place is York. I studied there, and had the best time of my life. Not in any wild way. I had a key to the studios and worked late. I absolutely loved it!

199-StepssWhat is your favourite season?
I love the colours of autumn, but I find the season melancholy. I love the spring best, and start looking for signs of it as soon as Christmas is over!

ripley-castles
What do you like about painting in west and north Yorkshire and what are the differences?

I remember when I first moved up here from Suffolk, writing to my Grandad about big grey skies and rainbows. I think, having come from the flat lands of Suffolk, that the Yorkshire landscape was very startling to me. There were hills! Within Yorkshire the landscape suddenly changes the other side of Keighley. The hills roll, the valleys aren’t as steep. The trees are larger,
grander and the water is deep and still. In the work i have done so far i find that I am painting a lot of reflections. West Yorkshire is all about the power of the water.

The valleys are steep and the rivers are fast. North Yorkshire is more sedate. It stay still. I am still playing around with colour, but the light is very different in North Yorkshire. The colours are softer.”

Who are you inspired by? 

I look at a lot of classical landscapes. contrary to what you may think, my approach to composition is quite traditional. I love Samual Palmer. I like commercial artists from the 40s and 50s like Rowland Hilder, Edward Bawden and Brian Cook. For more contemporoary inspiration I love Michael Morgan and Anna Pugh. I’m also very inspired by textiles and stained glass.

devonshire-housesTell us about your new work?
I have painted two new pieces. They’re very seasonal. One , of the Deer Park at Fountains Abbey, is warm and autumnal, the other, of Bolton Abbey, is wintery and bitter cold. I am displaying some of my hand finished prints as well.

copperbeechesfor Fionas

Copper Beeches – Autumn 2013 (originally in Inks, gouache, acrylics, gold leaf and gold thread). This is a limited edition Giclée print, hand finished with 23 carat gold leaf and thread. This is the Deer Park at Fountains Abbey on an October day.

decemberforfionas

December – Winter 2013/14 (originally in Inks, gouache, acrylics, gold leaf and gold thread). This is a limited edition Giclée print, hand finished with 23 carat gold leaf and thread. I took may family to Bolton Abbey on a bright December day last year. I had an idea that I wanted to draw the abbey from this angle, including the landslide beyond the bridge. Having painted it back in the summer, I wanted to capture it’s other mood, and the black of the cliffs seemed to make it look cold and foreboding. The sky was bright, but the kind of bright that makes everything on the ground seem darker. It was an incredibly cold and windy day.

Contact Kate Lycett on her social media pages here:

http://www.katelycett.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/katelycettartist

https://twitter.com/katelycett

Wedding Inspiration with Fashion Brand, Makepiece with the brides they have dressed for their special day.

Presenting - Charlotte England

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Describe your style? I like to think of my style as more of an identity. My work would be recognised by its naïve scruffy elements and its delicate traditional hand drawn aspects. However the upmost important aspect of my work is the colour. It’s defiantly bright, layered and textured, and this is evident throughout all of my creative practices.

What do you love to draw? Pretty much anything that makes me stop, look and think about. I love to draw all things natural, particularly animals and trees. I like to create patterns, so I enjoy drawing textures. I like to incorporate movement and personality into my drawing too.

Who is inspiring you at the moment? For inspiration I tend to look at artists such as Gustav Klimt and Picasso. I find it more beneficial to withdraw inspiration from past artists. I find by looking at contemporary illustrators there work is too closely linked to the same discipline. Where as if I get inspiration from different disciplines, such as sculpture, exhibits in the natural history museum then I am likeier to come up with a more original idea. However I do admire Oliver Jeffers work and Quentin Blake.

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What would be your favourite project to work on? There are numerous projects I would love to work on. I forever want to expand my skills into different creative disciplines. At the moment the chance to work in children’s media or TV would be amazing. Helping to create characters and sets would be a very exciting and challenging project for me.

If money was no object what would you create? Initially I would want to make a tree-house mansion! However it would have to be sustainable and with a wider purpose, such as an arts hub for young creative’s to learn and explore there talents!

Voting questions: shaking up a smartphone pub quiz near you!

In the space of just a few years, we like to think that our SpeedQuizzing smartphone pub quizzing system has completely revolutionised the experience of pub quiz gameplay, allowing teams to compete by using their touch-screen devices to play along in real time with the quizmaster, thus removing the possibility of cheating (players have no chance to look up the answers to questions when playing in real time) and creating a more engaging gameplay experience in the process.

Not content with merely changing the format of pub quizzing, we are determined to keep creating new quiz experiences as we continue to develop our app. One feature which proves as much is the new Voting Questions (beta) which has been featured in a recent version of our hosting software.

This new feature has been causing quite a stir amongst quiz-goers, turning quiz conventions pretty much upside down. Unlike a regular question where the answer is a hard fact, a voting question is more of a survey of opinions where the majority answer becomes the correct answer – in a way it’s like the reverse of TV gameshow Pointless – your team wins points if your answer correlates with the answer chosen by the most other teams in the room.

Using the Multiple Choice screen, these voting questions can often end in total hilarity and when playing one, you and your team need to consider a few factors. For starters, if you want to win the points, you are not simply answering with your team’s opinion, you are answering with what your team thinks the majority of teams in the room will think.

For example, when your quizmaster asks, “Which are best… A.) the Star Wars films or B.) the Harry Potter films”, a hot potato of a question like that will instantly divide a room. Your team might have a strong opinion either way but the answer you go with needs to be more about second guessing how your fellow teams will answer than responding with your actual opinion. You’ll find yourself scanning the room and having to think a lot harder than ever about who exactly it is that you’re playing against!

Predicting majority opinion comes very naturally to some people and is a very different type of skill to remembering hard facts. Therefore, when these voting questions are sporadically thrown into play at a smartphone quiz night, they offer a welcome and refreshing change, representing an opportunity for all involved to engage another part of their brain and experience a totally different kind of quizzing.

Only pub quizzes using the SpeedQuizzing system have features as exciting as this. Find one near you!

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