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The Scenic Route

The Scenic Route / Saturday 3rd November 2012 - Saturday 12th January 2013

This exhibition will feature John Brunsdon, one of Britain’s most distinguished printmakers, with a selection of contemporary jewellers inspired by the themes of John’s prints and etchings.

John Brunsdon’s source of inspiration is deeply rooted in the English countryside, ‘Brunsdon is interested in man’s influence upon the landscape, the contrast between architecture and the countryside and the way in which man has sculpted the surface for his own use.

Jewellers include Holly Belsher, John Field, Anne FinlaySharleen Marius, Miranda Sharpe, Melanie Tomlinson and Anthony Wong


Diary Date – Private view Friday 2nd November 2012 
from 5.30-7.30pm. 

For more information call 0151 709 4014 or email crafts@bluecoatdisplaycentre.com.



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Throughout my career I have used non-precious materials, geometric shapes, colour and pattern.  In the past I have used a variety of materials such as plastics, aluminium, wood, textiles, nylon and rubber.

Recently I had a long break from work. When I returned to my studio I wanted a completely fresh start and a new direction. Paper answered this need for a change and it provided the inspiration I was seeking.

Paper is a beautiful, natural material with limitless possibilities for creativity. Its limited technical constraints have opened up a new personal sense of freedom in terms of both design and making. Plus I enjoy the simple, slow handmade processes that are involved in working with it.

In this collection I layer strips of corrugated cardboard with PVA to form bold, 3-dimensional blocks of colour and pattern. The flexible strips lend themselves to the exploration of curves that underwrites this group of jewellery.

There is much synergy between my layered construction and the visual layering that is characteristic of John Brunsdon’s prints.

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Recently I moved back to Devon where I was born.  We had moved to Suffolk when I was a child and only returned to Devon for family holidays. Every time I was struck by the difference in the earth, Suffolk fields were textured with mid brown clay churned up into great pointing, sharp chunks by the plough. Here it is a shocking red orange, producing luminous green grass and staining the sheep pink. The Horizon is curved here, not open and achingly flat, with the huge characteristic Suffolk skies. It’s such a relief, I am home. Every day I walk my dog and I can’t help picking up sticks. I remember nature walks at school, bringing back things to the “nature table” in the class room. I was mesmerised by the silky inside of the Spiny Sweet Chestnut tree fruits against the fingertip. The shape of Sticky Horse chestnut buds and the intense black of the Ash buds, their lovely symmetrical arrangements, the amazing detail of acorn cups.

We are so used to seeing flowers as the decorative element of plants, but I love winter trees against the sky, the subtle and constant changes in the light in the English landscape. Both in Suffolk and Devon we went to beaches, and I would spend hours searching through the pebbles to find perfect shaped stones, fossils and carnelians. All this I bring to my jewellery. The texture of earth and stone, the colours of the landscape, actual pebbles and wintry twigs meshed  like the hedges planted on top of Devon banks, – the stone walls banked with earth and overgrown with wild Foxgloves, Campions and Primroses that make the deep winding Devon lanes.

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My garden is in the outer bailey of an ancient castle and I am prohibited from digging deeper than a metre. Nevertheless, suggestions of the past emerge in the upper layer. I have always been intrigued by the lost histories of the tiny objects I have acquired and hoarded over the years, the value of which often lies only in their personal significance or in the intricate and beautiful encrustation of time.

This preoccupation with surface, texture and colour also springs from the time I spent at Liverpool College of Art from 1959 – 1963 studying ceramics under Julia Carter-Preston and textiles with Enid Russ and Gerry Carmichael.

My techniques include fusing, patination and torch-fired enamelling abraded until the desired surface is reached. Precious and base metals are incorporated with opal rough, bone fragments, mining spoil, fossils, ancient beads and scraps of oxidised metal. I cut, drill and polish these and sometimes use gold foil or a torch to modify the surface.

My work has been available in the Welsh marches during the last ten years.

Earring pairs, although rarely symmetrical, are seen as a whole and are designed to complement one another.

Each piece is unique in that it cannot be replicated.

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When we were invited to design a range of jewellery to compliment the prints of John Brunsdon for this exhibition, we were struck by the way that he distils what he sees in the landscape into strong bold shapes. We have done the same with our jewellery, initially considering using landscape imagery but later using symbols and textures as we have done previously in our jewellery. To really emphasise the shapes we have imprinted the design much deeper than usual.

The process that we use to get the initial pattern on to the silver is called roller printing and works in a very similar way to printing etchings. Both processes start with an etched plate but, using a rolling mill rather than a printing press, we print onto silver sheet instead of paper.

Instead of using printing ink, the recesses that form the imprinted shapes are chemically blackened by oxidization. Parts of the design are then highly polished to further boost the contrast.

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For the unique collection of pieces I have produced for The Scenic Route I have focussed on the John Brunsdon etching ‘Rugged Coastline Dorset (Stair Hole)’.  When I first looked through the work of John Brunsdon I was immediately drawn to this etching.  I like the smooth, non-uniform lines and I have applied the use of fluid and irregular lines in the pieces I have made.  I have acid etched these lines into the steel, beginning with a large sheet and then after etching cutting it into smaller components to make wearable items.  I was interested in reflecting ‘the contrast between architecture and the countryside’ that John is inspired by in my own work. By creating a contrast of the sweeping, fluid surface texture and curves of the wire combining these elements with the sharp, angular steel forms.

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John Brunsdon was born in Cheltenham in 1933 and has become one of Britain’s most distinguished printmakers. He is an Associate of the Royal College of Art – ARCA and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers – RE His time is devoted to his printing studio in Suffolk where all his work is individually hand etched, inked, coloured and printed. He takes delight in the texture and decorative qualities of etched marks and the sweeping shapes of broad colour which fuse into timeless images.

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Seeing in between the Lines

Printmaking starts with the line.

Often people marvel at the line of a valley, covet the ‘lines’ of a car, or are captivated by the shape of a cat.

Our lives governed by lines of order, communication, roads and pavements, become more understandable. We write on lined paper and in fact some are fearful of “the plain paper challenge”. Habituated from an early age, we find re-assurance in the control that we can employ by them; lines to warn of danger or differentiate between the supposed VIP’s in the queue and the plebeians, in relationships and friendships invisible lines exist, “they came up to the mark”, “he stepped over the line”…

Considering John Brunsdon’s work, I appreciated firstly the excellence of, and execution regarding technique and method, and his consideration to detail.

Elaborate and yet simple layering and rolling of textured landscapes, differentiated by line boundaries, amethyst hills, cliffs of chalk, swathes of green, and pockets of Savoy cabbage woods, and then we have the little prize and treat of the brave red circular sun.

The pieces for this exhibition comment on John’s work and my own fascination with travel lines, movement, sound, and areas of space.  A little prize also contained here and there can be found, secret tinkling silver beads, a small deep world within a red ruby, or a bright, fresh, green grass pocket.

Lastly, but most importantly areas of nothing – that’s the space in between, that we are drawn to, to look at and stop, to take time to ponder, reflect and imagine.

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This collection of hand printed brooches has been made to accompany John Brundson’s prints, with new butterfly, bird, flower and beetle designs created for the exhibition and moths selected from my classic range of jewellery that compliments John’s work. I have been particularly drawn to John’s use of fine detail and the effects of different patterns sitting next to each other.

On closer inspection a field for instance may be made up of hundreds of dots or leaf like shapes that mirror the painstaking brush marks I also use when creating a new design.  I originally trained as an illustrator and the process of making a new piece of jewellery always starts with the creation of original, colourful and highly intricate gouache paintings, which serve as masters for the printing process. The individual brooches are photo-etched and then hand-printed and transformed into these tiny artefacts giving them a jewel-like intensity of colour.

I have a love of nature and all living things and find beauty in the colour and texture of moth and butterfly wings, bird’s feathers and beetles.  I have drawn inspiration from the repeat patterns and intricate marks John uses to describe for example a meadow or the lace like branches of trees.  My designs illustrate delicacy in decoration through lines on beetle wings, spotted patterns on butterfly wings, mottled colours found on moths and the delicate brush strokes used to describe flower petals.

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  1. Pingback: Art #advent calendar Day 12: Liverpool | ArtSpotter

  2. Bluecoat Display Centre /

    John Brunsdon Prints are selling very well – a lovely Christmas Present!

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