contact Syl & Ray Macro:

Studio House
Market Place

Phone: 01434 382137

info @

Market Place, Alston, Cumbria

Gwen Bainbridge

My work is like a three-dimensional scrap-book inspired from memories of my childhood and from my response to old things discovered from museum visits to various collections or found by rummaging through bric-a-brac at antique fairs.

I'm always looking for items that I might use in my work, both for inspiration and for direct inclusion. I'm drawn to decorative items. Even as a child I had favourite buttons from my mum's button box that I played with. There were some beautiful green glass dishes that were brought out for parties and the best china laid out when the minister was coming for tea. These are treasured memories.

Alongside this was the natural world of my surroundings living on a rural farm in Cumbria. The hedgerows where we found birds' nests with the treasured little eggs of wild birds, which we watched until they hatched and finally fledged.

I find that nature itself seems too perfect to try to reproduce, therefore I prefer to explore the work of craftsmen of the past who themselves might have once been inspired by nature. I appreciate the finery of the costumes of bygone eras, with their lavish floral embroidery and the distinctive qualities of their design and production. The profusion of embroidered textiles of Elizabethan times, the retro styles and colour of the 1950s and 60s are an eclectic cocktail of inspiration I continually re-visit to draw new ideas.

The work is not just to be looked at. I like my work to be handled and to observe the viewer as they explore my pieces - little buttons painted with opal lustre, the bases decorated so that every surface can be a voyage of discovery. I love the purity of the Porcelain and Bone China so conducive to receiving imprints and markings and the fact that they are so readily warmed by the human touch, so that using them is yet another sensory journey.