Nestled in the beautiful Slaughterford Valley close to the By Brook is an old paper mill which is now home to two of our artist’s studios…
Mari Hughes is the talented dress maker behind the extraordinary brand Sow’s Ear. She spends her days making dresses which are like stories using fabrics which have had a life for women who enjoy such things. Kimonos, tablecloths and cashmere sweaters are deconstructed and rebuilt to clothe the characters that reside in us all.
Mari describes her workspace as her sanctuary saying, “its a little timber framed ‘sewing cottage’ built inside a larger workshop. Nic (Nic Georgiou of JoyoJoy Contemporary Furniture) built it from scratch, from trees grown on the farm where we previously had a workshop. It is pleasingly untidily full of my treasure trove of unloved and forgotten, defaced or disgraced, broken and careworn materials. Holey sweaters, faded curtains, embroidered cloths, ribbons and bibbons , scraps of frocks I used to wear…All chatter and whisper of their lives, their memories of days out or nights in till I hear them and by cutting and stitching, reveal their new life”.
Of the Peacock Trail, Mari says, “it’s such a lovely way to meet people, both makers and the idly curious. I am loathe to leave my workshop, so it suits me very well. It’s a brilliant way to introduce people to what I do in a low key, relaxed environment”.
Influenced by traditional woodworking techniques, modern design aesthetics and an ecological ethos, Nic Georgiou creates Contemporary pieces hand made using traditional skills which he sells under the playfully named JoyoJoy Contemporary Furniture.
Nic’s studio space is full of raw materials, finished work, saw dust and ideas. He describes it as being rarely as tidy as it should be and never as large as I need it to be but it is a great space for me to be creative and playful.
“Inspiration comes to me at any time of the day or night and a sketch on a scrap of paper could become a finished design in a short burst of activity in my busy workshop space. When not designing I am making, and that often involves converting large planks of timber into smaller parts, sawing, turning and drilling the raw material into something finished and beautiful. Nature is all around me at the Mill and is my greatest influence in my work, so I have no problem filling my day with creativity”.
When not working, Nic admits he’s thinking about what to make next!