A week ago I popped into quirky artists’ cooperative Blaze and found myself transfixed by the ‘treasure boxes’ lining one of the walls. these exquisite creations take life’s minutiae*, and turns them into stylish works of art.
Fortunately for me, the artist in charge of minding Blaze that day happened to be Lucy Roberts, creator of said troves. She explained that she first began making the boxes when she was pregnant with her son. “I’m a bit of a hoarder,” she confesses, “and I needed to clear the room that would be his nursery, so I came up with the idea of making these display cases so I didn’t have to throw it all away!”
Roll on ten months after her son’s birth, and Lucy joined Blaze, then realised she had no idea what to make for the shop. “I was deliriously sleep deprived and wondering if I would ever get my brain cells back!” she says. “I was wondering what products to make, and my brother suggested I make more of the treasure boxes – he was right!”
The boxes are enticingly pieced together – using all manner of found items from cocktail umbrellas to plastic giraffes and camels to ticket stubs and stamps.
“I’ve always loved drawing and making,” says Lucy. “My dad was a primary school teacher and a great graphic artist himself. He used to make us cards and gifts and decorate various bits of DIY around the house with funny characters to cover up the cracks and wonky bits. We grew up making birthday cards and gifts and never and that’s always been one of my most favourite things to do.”
Lucy graduated from the University of Wales, Newport in 1998 with a degree in Animation. “When I joined the course it was Fine Arts based with lots of drawing, mark-making and experimentation. By the time I graduated, computers had taken over the whole of the Animation world and it wasn’t really a direction I wanted to go in… so for years I did various jobs, community film work, set dressing and other work on music videos and then when I went back to work after my son was born I needed something flexible.”
Blaze is run as a co-operative and allowed Lucy to come back to work in an environment “where there wasn’t a boss in the conventional sense.”
She explains: “Blaze was started as a co-operative about 12 years ago and was mainly ceramics. Over the years Blaze has changed as we take on new members and fill the shop with their work. At the moment there are eight of us and we range from illustrators and textile creators to furniture makers.”
Unsurprisingly, Lucy herself is an avid car boot sales attendee, hovering up all kinds of quirky goods unwanted, unloved and in need of a new adventure!
“I am inspired by old stamps, fabric and packaging, stained glass windows, unusual plants and animals, things washed up on the seashore, children’s art and old men’s garages,” she says. “Put simply, I’m a hoarder who likes to create a bit of pattern and order in the things I find and arrange as artwork.”
It looks utterly additive to me, and makes me wonder what I have tucked away that Lucy could find new life for!
*by which I don’t mean the tedium of junk mail or taxes, but the glory of all those little bits and pieces you don’t know what to do with, but can’t bring yourself to chuck out.
Find Lucy at madebylucy.com.
Know an artist you’d like to see showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Give me a shout at judy(at)socketcreative.com.