"Juxtaposing the traditional with the unexpected, for a witty, contemporary twist to the classic, decorative plate."
"I didn’t really get decorative plates. But now I do."
When a young waiter said this, and smiled as he watched me install a wall of my upcycled plates at the café where he was working, I knew I had achieved what I set out to do.
As a late starter in this wonderful industry, with no training or formal qualifications, I have to pinch myself to check that this second life is really happening.
I always knew I had a creative streak in me, but having embarked on a career as a consumer psychologist, being creative with the design of my presentation slides wasn’t quite the fulfilment I longed for.
But equally, while I was ready for a complete change in direction, finding my route to creative expression wasn’t easy.
It was a short course about ceramic decals that was the trigger I needed to explore the concept of printing quirky imagery onto vintage plates. I’ve always loved the offbeat, unexpected role that art and design can play, and I recognised an opportunity to combine my passion for rummaging in junk shops with creative thinking. It is the impact of juxtaposing the traditional with the unexpected that I seek to express in my work, giving a witty, contemporary twist to the classic, decorative plate.
I source plates throughout the UK, rescuing those that I love and know I can work with (not any old plate will do!). Typically searching for the beauty in an abandoned single or pair of plates, it can be anything from an art deco square to a chipped or badly damaged cake plate. Using the original design as a frame for my work, I source and manipulate imagery, often creating collage. Sometimes I will integrate my concept into the original design, other times the style of the plate will literally be the frame for my work, whilst the simplicity of the single colour plates take on the role of a blank canvas. Whatever I create, each piece is a one off – I may repeat the concept on other plates but never on those with the same design.
My creations are inspired by the works of Fornasetti, John Stezaker, Lichtenstein and Magritte among many others, and often prompted by a personal moment in my life.
I have also started sourcing damaged vintage frames and prints. Repairing obvious damage but retaining their imperfect beauty, I use them as the back drop to create large, statement pieces.
Whatever I do, I love art and design that makes me smile. Described by one customer as 'the secret Banksy of the vintage plate world', I hope my work makes you smile too.