Cabinet of Curiosities
Emma Sutton (curator)
14–16 October 2021
Cabinet of Curiosities is inspired by the 13th century concept of bringing together small wonders of the natural world. The artisans work with a plethora of raw materials which complement each other beautifully – bronze, rare minerals, clay, precious gemstones and metals and pigments of the earth. They have each honed their discipline and craft, taming these rough materials to make something refined – whether it be casting, forging, lapidary, moulding, firing, goldsmithing, drawing, painting or patience.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
Currently training as an Art Conservator at the London School of Picture and Frame Conservation, Emma Sutton has always had a love of art and being creative. She studied History of Art at St Andrews University before joining Christie’s for three and a half years, where she worked in the Impressionist & Modern Art and Modern British & Irish Art Departments. After a 5-month sabbatical travelling around the world, Emma decided to train in the classic atelier method at London Fine Art Studios. Her art centres around still life and representations of animals which she depicts in charcoal, oil and watercolour pencil. Her recent works combine this traditional subject matter with a classical twist.
Laura Crossman is a botanical artist and illustrator based between London and Suffolk, offering home-grown specimens and seasonal sources of inspiration. She is in her final year of study and practice with the Society of Botanical Artists (DipSBA), working under Margaret Stevens (PPSBA) among other influential tutors. Before which, she had been a resident at the FSC Flatford Mill (Suffolk) Botanical Illustration course for several years. She creates slow, mindful watercolour pieces that are detailed, vibrant and always inspired by the world of botanicals. Sitting at the heart of her work is a passion to bring the botanical art practice into the modern day world, and the joy of observing and enjoying nature to others.
Harriet Bingham is a potter based in Porlock Weir on the north coast of Exmoor. Using stoneware clay, she makes hand thrown and hand glazed pots designed for daily use. Harriet also uses moulds to create larger pieces of tableware. Harriet is drawn towards using earthy glazes of muted tones and leaving parts of her pots unglazed to highlight the tactile nature of her pottery.
Gems and jewellery have been Olivia Young’s love since her first visit to India. Aged sixteen she was let loose in the aladdin’s cave that is the Gem Palace, Jaipur. There’s nothing as entrancing as burying your hands in chests of pearls, diamonds and emeralds – she was enchanted and has never looked back. Following a degree in philosophy, Olivia decided to return to India where she found herself back in Jaipur working at the Gem Palace, and here properly discovered the joys of jewellery. After two years in Jaipur learning gemstones, jewellery manufacturing processes and design she returned to London to study for a gemmology diploma at the gem-a. On completing her gemmology diploma Olivia went on to work with the leading gemstone mining company of the world, gemfields, including writing their grading systems for rough gemstones. Five fascinating and diverse years later she finally felt ready to start her own company and founded Ouroboros at the end of 2017.
Having previously trained at The Chippendale School of Furniture & Restoration in Scotland Thomas Greenaway had already developed a liking for detailed marquetry work in wood but after encountering Pietra Dura on a trip to Florence, he realised he had found his calling. Stone had so much more to offer, the skills involved being both challenging and satisfying, requiring skill, patience, dedication and, of course, prodigious talent. He was instantly struck with this beautiful and precise work and spent the next four years training in the Pietra Dura workshops of Florence before returning to Northamptonshire to start up his own business, Greenaway Mosaics. Working every day in this ancient and delicate art, making the stones come alive is what Thomas loves and through him the art of Pietra Dura lives on.
The art of pietra dura is a very labour intensive process using ancient Florentine techniques that date back to the Renaissance under the Medici’s rule. Not only learning the skillful process of making a Florentine mosaic (that involves the use of a chestnut bow saw to cut the individual pieces of stones), over the years Thomas has built up a vast collection of rare antique marbles and precious stones worldwide and has developed a huge knowledge in sourcing the appropriate stones used for pietra dura for their vivid colours and textures. This collection of works celebrates the beauty of these natural rare materials and are made with precision and artistry. Nature is at the forefront of Thomas’s mind and these works depict the range of flora and fauna, animals and trompe l’oeil scenes that he loves to depict in stone, giving the mosaic a timeless eternal quality to it
Today exclusive has often come to mean expensive but easily accessible. For those who search for authenticity, originality and beauty, Eaglador offers subtle and beautiful contemporary pieces for the home and table. Bronze is a material as old as civilization itself and yet it has been overlooked in favour of gold and silver, porcelain and glass for tableware for many generations. Today silver and gold plating mean that such materials have lost their cachet. Eaglador’s bronze designs offer a more up to date look which is classic but at the same time fresh and original.