WebinArt Emerge Member Focus - July 2020

In the second of our Emerge member focus blog posts for the 2020/21 WebinArt programme, we are proud to introduce three up-and-coming creatives - Cheryl Hewitt, Steve Sadler and Angie Roberts.


WebinArt is Creative Leicestershire's year-long professional development programme for creative businesses. Our Emerge members are early in their career and benefit from one-to-one tailored business mentoring sessions alongside a whole host of live online events and resources.


Click here to find out more about the WebinArt Programme. WebinArt 2020/21 is generously + kindly subsidised by our funding partners - Leicestershire County Council, Arts Council England, Derbyshire County Council, Hinckley + Bosworth Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, Blaby District Council + Rutland County Council. 

cheryl Hewitt


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.


Hmmm. I find talking about myself as an artist exceedingly difficult being naturally introverted and it is taking some practice! But here goes...


I work predominantly with reclaimed and recycled textiles but would describe myself as a mixed media artist because I use other materials such as enamel, wire, and broken ceramic.


I also like the idea of mixed media artist as an umbrella title as it gives my emerging making practice the room to evolve. I make a range of things from small reclaimed textile collages and wearables to art dolls and mixed media forms. I have even been found in the print workshop making linocuts, monoprints and collagraph’s, but these tend to be part of my thinking process, rather than final outcomes! I have recently graduated from Hereford College of Arts with a master’s degree in Contemporary Craft.


Rural Herefordshire is very much my world having lived there most of my life. Before becoming a maker, I was a stay at home mum with 3 children, this not only changed my home world it changed my working world, with a loss of income. This rebooted my love of creativity and spurred on my resourceful nature to make things for friends and family. It was a friend who encouraged me to pick up my tools and go back to college to broaden my skillset, and love of art! So as a mature student I spent 6 years studying at Hereford, from foundation to masters, I loved every minute. It was here where I honed my concepts and discourses within my work and really found out what made me tick as a maker. These ideas still have the potential to evolve and inform my making practice, which responds to my love of collecting and the evocative nature of objects. By that I mean the things that help us think, our memories and identity. My work often explores themes of trace, childhood memory and environment. More recently it has communicated ideas of loss, absence, and the process of repair.


How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?


My practice must be very flexible as I have the immediate family responsibilities of my 3 children and the running of a busy household. It is difficult to find the right work/home balance, especially when you are trying to start out and make a go of it as a maker. I find myself spending a lot of time at the desk or computer having pull myself away. Recently, I have had the added responsibilities of helping on my family’s farm during the lockdown. Lambing was even more challenging this year, with the pandemic. However, I am incredibly lucky to live where I live. I have the flexibility and space to work from home and at present tend to work where and when I can in the house, garage or outside. I have a large and wild outside space to work in, for inspiration or to grow dye plants and for building fires when I am bundle dyeing. Being a mixed media textile artist, I can pretty much organise myself around the weather, season, or whatever is going on in my life at the time. Be that foraging or messy, smelly outside jobs or pattern cutting for dolls at a table, small metal work in the garage or stitching on my lap in front of my favourite box set!



What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?


My main challenge is probably myself and my justification of doing what I do, the old imposter syndrome that rears its ugly head and that sits on my shoulder to say you shouldn’t be doing that! This has been increasingly difficult during lockdown, not knowing which way to turn; thinking how on earth can I make a living from my work and will anyone even be interested in the things I make! My biggest success to date is being accepted into The Society of Embroidered Work. To have my name sit alongside textile artists from all over the world that I really respect and to aspire to be like, is cool! This has been a real confidence boost to my making practice and to know that my work has the potential to be taken seriously is amazing. It feels like and is a real accolade!



What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


For me, in the here and now, the short term is really going to be focusing on making. Working towards a range of saleable pieces that I can promote on my developing website, using an active blog of wanderings, ponderings, and news of what I’ve been up to. I am hoping to approach a couple of local galleries that showed interest in my work before lockdown. For more long term plans I am hoping to continue my research into process led work on grief and repair. I would love to take some of my research into the community to form an interactive project that explores childhood memories, grief and repair using the process of making. Further down the line I would like to gain experience in teaching at further and higher education and continue my studies.



How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?


The WebinArt Programme has been great, especially from inside the lockdown and social isolation. Having that sense of artist community to bounce ideas off, get inspired, or just listen to, has done wonders for my mental health. There are other people out there amongst the madness that feel the same or are having the same struggles. It has been great to share words of support and ideas from a distance! The webinars are a great resource with some fantastic advice and support. So, it has been and is still being hugely beneficial. It has helped with motivation which I admittedly struggle with.

What has inspired you recently? 


Book: Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem

Out of lockdown I am an amateur mudlark who frequents the Thames foreshore and my local river Wye. I go with a fellow artist maker and mud buddy looking for the forgotten and broken bits of the past that others leave behind, often coming away with things I can work into my projects. This book has helped me dream and romanticise of being able to get back to the foreshore and river that so inspires me. It is something I love and miss very much.


Artist: The Pale Rook

I was lucky enough to grab a space on her online doll making course during the lockdown. It really inspired me, freeing my shyness about the making of art dolls. The Pale Rook has shown me that doll making is an art form and way of artistic expression that can be as free and spiritual as you like. This got me making, looking at my locked down environment, drawing inspiration from it, having fun, and developing my practice during lockdown.


Song: Moments of Pleasure by Kate Bush

I could say anything by Kate Bush, however, this song, although rather melancholic, I find incredibly beautiful and reflective. This song was a big inspiration during my master’s degree as it was a song I would play as a teenager. It is evocative. It makes me think of times past, treasured little snippets into what makes me, me. The childhood memories, the people, places, and things that now, only exist in the ether. I love it so, so much I had to stitch it!


You can see more of Cheryl's work here -

https://cherylhewittartist.com/

https://www.instagram.com/cheryllhewitt/

https://www.facebook.com/cherylhewittartist/

https://twitter.com/Cheryllhewitt3


steve sadler | haunted fork


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.


In May last year I made a conscious decision to draw every day (ok, most days!) with at that time, no clear goal besides a longstanding pipe dream of becoming an artist! I was only interested in depicting the surreal and the strange (most likely because I am!), so I set about drawing odd, alien beings. I start with a drawing (pen on paper, the old-fashioned way), then scan the drawing and colour in Photoshop. This was satisfying for a while but I'm always on a mission to try something new. I've recreated many of my drawings with acrylic paints on canvas, and have incorporated watercolour paints, metallic markers, watered down acrylic paints - I actually don't know where this will end. I have my eye on fluorescent spray paints and stencils next!


I promote my work mostly through Instagram, its welcoming and supportive artist community has been a real positive force for me. Through Instagram I have received commissioned work for drawings and paintings, and I sell art prints on Etsy which I link to through my Instagram account.


How does your practice and business fit in with other life responsibilities?


I'm a husband, and father to two beautiful (and loud) daughters who are currently both at Primary School age, and I'm a full-time Graphic Designer. I draw mostly when the children are asleep. But it certainly doesn't feel like a chore, more of a release. It's my time to unwind.



What has been your main challenge and biggest success up to this point?


The challenge is ensuring I don't miss any opportunities whatsoever. I'm determined to make this happen so I'm always looking for the next opportunity that might surface. I won the LCB Depot Award at New Walk's Open 30 Exhibition last year which opened up some further exhibition space within LCB Depot, and introduced me to some local artists. Winning was completely unexpected (my wife will tell you how shocked I was when the Mayor read out my name!) and has acted as a real driving force, a constant reminder for me to keep saying "yes" to opportunities.



What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


Short term I'm going to continue as I have been for the past year, drawing and creating, promoting myself and my work and exploring opportunities.


Long term I want to do this for a living! This isn't work for me, it's fun! I'm drawing what I want to draw in the way I want to draw it and people are responding positively to it.


How is the WebinArt Programme is benefitting your business journey so far?


WebinArt has been hugely beneficial in such a short amount of time. It highlights so many opportunities, offers so much support and introduces you to people who are all on the same journey. The mentoring scheme is fantastic, I've been paired with Mahmood Reza who is an expert in numbers and business advice, and an all-round top bloke! I'm proud to be a Webinart member and excited to see where it takes me.



What has inspired you recently?


My children inspire me every single day - they are the reason I push myself to do better and achieve more. Besides that many artists inspire me, Stanley Donwood inspired a recent series of suited creepers and before that Robert Del Naja inspired another piece. Music is a great tool to get the creative juices flowing - currently Gang Starr and Marilyn Manson are serving me well.


You can see more of Steve's work here -


www.etsy.com/uk/shop/hauntedfork

www.instagram.com/haunted.fork

www.twitter.com/HauntedFork_

www.facebook.com/Steve-Sadler-100138414698085


Angie roberts | Angie Roberts Art


Tell us a little about your creative business and how you got into it.


I am a painter who started colour creating at a young age. After University, Degree and Masters levels I had to get a job with view to a part time hobby business. The years passed by and after a very difficult time being bullied in my role it made me stop, think and follow my passion. I went part time and started the business as a muralist, as I like to paint large! During the pandemic, work dried up overnight and gave me an opportunity to rethink my business plan. I wanted more time home working, ability to work flexibly and time to be creative in my own work with direct client interaction. So, a change in direction and focus has led me back to my first love of painting.


How does your practice fit in with other life responsibilities?


I've mentioned I work part time still as the business grows. I have a young daughter who is also wonderfully creative. The part time work provided stability and income whilst offering the flexiblity of starting a business. I have a studio in the garden and a desk in the office indoors for admin days!


I do my work on weekends, evenings and Mondays and Tuesdays. I find that it is hard to switch off from something you love and it doesn't feel like fitting it in, it feels part of me.


What has been your main challenge and biggest success up until this point?


The main challenge was to just start to put myself out there and realise you are an expert in something you have loved all your life and put the imposter syndrome in a cupboard.

My biggest success is that I have not given up, I continue to create and grow.



What do you have planned for your business in the short and long term?


Short term is creating, getting prints ordered and grow the product lines. Long term is to adapt designs into homeware, fabrics, wall-coverings whist still offering the original paintings, murals and commissions to order.



How is the WebinArt programme benefitting your business journey so far?


The mentorship and community so far has made me feel part of a group of likeminded people all at differing stages, but on their creative journey too. It's invaluable to a creative, as it can be lonely!


What has inspired you recently? 


1. The colour and creativity in the array of artwork in people's windows and the need for creativity.

2. Seeing the garden change seasons, really see it!

3. Reaffirming why I love to paint, the time, the opportunity and instilling the drive needed to continue.


You can see more of Angie's work here -


www.angierobertsart.com

https://www.instagram.com/angierobertsart

https://www.facebook.com/angierobertsartART

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