Come along and we'll show you the way to this week's Workbox Introduction. It's just down this path, past the ferns and the greengauge tree and before us you'll see a door in the shade of a rambling hawthorn. Turn the rusty key and there you have the workshop and Odditorium of artist Anya Keeley. Come in...
Anya, who was one of this year's finalists in the Craft & Design Selected Awards, describes herself as a designer maker of caged creatures, curios and whimsies. Imagined flummeries a Victorian explorer might encounter on his travels to far off shores which he would bring home to display in glazed mahogany cabinets.
A compulsive collector from an early age, Anya is drawn to ephemera which shows the patina of age; buttons, driftwood, darning mushrooms, vintage kitchenalia & old sheet music for example, all of which gets squirreled into jars and suitcases until she is ready to make use of it in a piece of work.
"Quite often I will have several pieces at different stages of production on the go, flitting back and forth until the right object finishes the piece."
Anya's inspiration comes from a curiosity about the natural world and her love of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Birds, hares and mice are recurring themes in her work. It therefore seems fitting that Anya is visited regularly at her workshop by a squirrel, a robin and a hedgehog who all make the journey down the path and past the greengauge tree to see her.
Although Anya uses many materials and processes in her practice, wire is a common feature (brass and iron mostly). Her creatures are formed from a metal structure which is then layered in a papier mache skin. Soldering, drilling & hammering hold no fear for this maker!
Without further ado, welcome to the place where curiosity takes form...
|Anya's 'clean' workbench|
Underneath are a few of the jars and sugarshakers of buttons that I use most often and also my portable torch, which I use for soldering wire. There's also my 2 most used notebooks, the red one is my current 'things to make, buy and do' book and the other is my book of work made (an inventory with dates, sizes, prices, where & when sold)
From the shelf I hang an assortment of pliers, these are the tools of my trade, my favourite are the red handled ones."
|Slim drawer cabinet|
Above left: "This is just some of the storage in my shed, I love old suitcases, these ones hold all my bits of vintage ephemera and sheet music. The map covered drawers hold printing stuff (print blocks, ink etc) which I use to print my own business cards."
Murgatroyd pointed out that Anya has even more old suitcases than we do! Look at all of those sugar tongs hanging there like little arms!
Right: "My partner John (aka the Badger) gave me this little slim drawer cabinet. It has lots of little compartments which I use to keep dead insects, shells, bone and other odds and ends in."
|Nicholas Owl has a nose of pencil|
Above left: "I started making research books at college. I have never been a big fan of sketching, instead I collect cuttings from magazines etc of pictures that inspire me which I then collage into books. The ones here are A4 size and more or less full. Last year I decided to number them in chronological order so that I can find what I'm looking for. I have just started book no.39."
|View from the workshop|
|Can you spot Mrs Hog?|
An inspirational spot indeed.
|Goosey Gander @ Prema Gallery|
In the pipeline are a range of 'bell jar' decorations which will be sold at The Museum of London to coincide with 'Doctors, Dissection & Resurrection Men' which opens later this month, and in November she will take part in the 'Tales of the Unexpected' exhibition at Unit12 in Staffordshire, 29th November - 23rd February 2013.
If you'd like to read more about Anya's work and keep up to date with her creative news please go to the following websites:
We'd like to thank Anya for taking part in this week's Workbox Introduction and for allowing us a peek inside the Odditorium. With the exception of the Prema Gallery pictures, all photographs are the property of Anya Keeley.
|Prema Gallery exhibition runs until 21st October 2012|