Friday, 9 January 2015

Studio Snoop: Zoe Howarth

It's that time of year again, when the nights are still long and dark, and the rain somehow always manages to soak through even the most waterproof of coats.  Christmas and New Year seem like distant memories, and you've forgotten all about Summer.

Before Christmas we got the opportunity to sneak around Zoe Howarth's kitchen Studio in Porthleven and her bright, beautiful and happy textile designs will bring a smile to your face, and the glow of Summer back into your hearts.

This series is so interesting as it lets us into artists personal spaces, from purpose built studio spaces, converted schools, barns and now kitchens!

Zoe, on her studios very own balcony

Since our 'artist introduction' blog post about you what have you been up to in your professional practice?

I felt this year I really needed to get out there and sell face to face and really connect with my customers which has actually helped all aspects of my business. I have spent the summer selling my work at the Porthleven artisan harbour market. Getting customer feedback is invaluable. It has also been a fantastic place to test new products and gauge what's working and which products need tweeking so that they really fit what the customer is looking for.

We were very interested in (and jealous of) Zoe's book collection

Positive notes and unique storage 

Have your inspirations changed at all?

My work has come on leaps and bounds but if anything this passed year has re-reaffirmed my inspiration of the Cornish coast. I have expanded on my original concept which is now more focused as my work has expanded into jewellery design as well as textiles my concept embraces the coast as the blurred boundary where the sea meets land; water vs rock; dyed textiles vs jewellery!

Experimenting with jewellery making is really therapeutic for me. Having trained as a weaver I am used to working with fine fiddley processes involved in making with my hands so this suits me perfectly. I love the challenge of working with an entirely new medium and am really excited to see where this is heading!

Experimenting in jewellery

Zoe's studio is small, but bright and welcoming

How do you tend to use this studio space in a typical day? 

I tend to always have several projects on the go at once. Im such a scatter brain and my throught process really doesn’t work in an organised linear fashion so I tend to hop from one thing to the next. This works well for me as it helps to stimulate my creative ideas.
My 2 year old is always around somewhere. He loves to paint so I will often get out the big mat to cover the floor space so that we can have a painting session. Working from home fits perfectly with family life.  When he is busy playing with his cars I get a chance to get some making done! I wont usually get a solid chunk of time in the studio so having several projects on the go at once works perfectly for me as it means I can literally dip in and out, even if its just for 10mins to get some bits and pieces made.

Her work is beautiful and mesmerising 

How have you found working with midsummer nights?

The Storm Front exhibition was a really turning point for me. I really felt like I had begun to find my creative direction and since then it has moved from strength to strength with my hand dyed textile pieces. Working large scale was a refreshing change for me and I felt this project really helped to free up my creativity in ways I hadn't envisaged before. Since then I have been more focused on my textile art pieces and have developed new processes for my hand dyed pieces.

Samples and work are hung everywhere

We love nosing at peoples mood boards!

If you're interested in finding out more about Zoe and her work, here are the links to her website and Facebook: