L for Leather
L for Leather / Saturday 4th June 2016 - Saturday 2nd July 2016
L for Leather is the Bluecoat Display Centre’s first leather exhibition, and explores the versatility of leather and the variety of techniques that can be used to create stunning pieces of wearable art. The work displayed includes intricate body adornment and jewellery, men’s leather bags and belts, furniture, and large ornamental vessels crafted from leather and glass. The multi-award winning Una Burke displays her beautifully complex body pieces for the first time in Liverpool, and shows why Madonna, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Heidi Klum have all drawn upon her talents.
This exhibition is curated by BDC Gallery Officer and in house designer/maker, Kate Moult, “ the texture, the touch and the smell are all things we love about leather, and the way it gets better with wear. It’s exciting to see such fine examples of the way leather can be manipulated using both traditional and more experimental techniques”.
Including leather jewellery by Tania Clarke Hall, leather vessels and bags by Lisa Farmer, mens bags and accessories by Harry Owen, sculptural leather jewellery by Agne Visniauskaite and Hyorim Lee, leather furniture by Tortie Hoare and sculptural leather body adornment by Emma Ware and Una Burke along with leather bags by Eva Kesceti and Candice Lau.
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“My jewellery celebrates the pleasure of the unpredictable and the overwhelming potential of this natural material.”
Tania Clarke Hall is an award-winning jeweller working in leather. Influenced by her background in chemistry and a love of Japanese design, with its wabi-sabi aesthetic, Tania’s bold and dramatic pieces are designed with a deceptively simple economy of line. She delights in moulding, slashing, and colouring the leather using experimental and innovative techniques that continually push the boundaries of her medium. The result is elegant yet playful jewellery, created to be worn in a variety of ways: twisted, scooped, wrapped or draped on the body. The beauty of her jewellery is only truly apparent when worn. Then the pieces shift and change to reveal different perspectives, helical shapes and sudden bursts of colour. Tactile, warm, malleable and beautifully lightweight, her jewellery is a pleasure to wear.
American-born artist / designer Lisa Farmer produces leather objects that play with ironic forms and designs. Her labour intensive design pieces are both sculpture and product. Utilising premium vegetable tanned leather and immense craftsmanship, she combines traditional leather-working skills with contemporary technologies, producing avant-garde works distinguished by their originality and timelessness.
A graduate from East Carolina University (USA) with a Bachelor Fine Arts in Visual Communication, Lisa now has her own studio practice in Milan where she designs and meticulously crafts contemporary art objects. Her works are produced upon commission and sold to private clients and a small selection of stores worldwide.
Pieces from Lisa Farmer have been exhibited in prestigious galleries such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Bilston Craft Gallery in West Midlands and at the Saatchi Gallery during COLLECT, the International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects. Her work has received recognition and been featured in numerous Italian and International magazines and online publications.
Through touch, we connect with objects in more than just a utilitarian way. The natural imperfections of materials and objects carry meaning and stories. Some materials are more able to preserve memories than others. I have chosen to add my own stories to those already contained within leather recycled from previously worn garments. The leather is molded using shapes cast in metal. Those shapes are designed from sketches inspired by the irregular and fragile lines in nature. I would like the pieces I have made to be experienced through touch, so others can connect with them and charge the pieces with their own stories.
Moulding leather was a process used in Medieval times to create armour. I combine these old techniques with contemporary style to create furniture and products, forming a cohesive relationship between the heat formed leather and other materials. With a skilled cabinet makers background I have a complete understanding of ergonomics, and a sympathetic approach to design and the use of sustainable materials, which I apply throughout my work.
With these handmade pieces the designs have been dictated by the process of shaping and taming the leather. The results are timeless products of the best quality; functional, natural furniture that originates from the beauty of the materials being used.
The Re:Cycle collection by Emma Ware is sculptural and tactile, unique yet classic, these pieces take jewellery design into a new realm.
Made by juxtaposing malleable dark rubber with polished metal, these are intricate sculptures that are framed and complimented by the body. Reflecting our curves and angles to emphasize and celebrate the beauty in nature. Soft, tactile and moveable these creations need to be seen and touched to be fully appreciated.
Not only are these pieces unique, they grow from a sustainable, ethical perspective. The design is of primary importance, the fact the materials are reclaimed is fundamental but not obvious. All pieces are made by hand in her London studio, each is a one-off, an art work in itself.
A London based artist and designer with a background in fine and applied arts, Emma studied for a degree at Wimbledon School of Arts and a diploma in Broadcasting at Ravensbourne College. She went on to build a career in Film and TV, working in the camera department as a clapper loader and focus puller. Feeling an increasing need to have creative independence and for the love of making, Emma began her jewellery business.
A piece of nature is small, but sometimes they connect and acquire a different appearance. Interlacing branches look like a bold tree. Collectively, many small flowers look like a big flower. In the same way, my appearance and my life, are made up of fragments of memory. The memory is blurred but it has a vivid colour. The fragments of memory are connected by a piece of string – making one new piece.
Úna Burke is a multi-award winning Luxury Leather Accessories Designer and Artist. Using traditional leather-working techniques in her distinctly complex constructions, Úna makes both seasonal fashion accessories collections and sculptural art pieces. There are often human stories behind the designs since influence is taken from psychological, military and medical sources. All styles are handcrafted by Úna in her South London atelier. She has produced costumes for high profile film and stage performances and has developed a strong celebrity following all over the world. These include Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Heidi Klum, Lebanese singer and actress Haifa Wehbe, Taiwanese popstar Elva and fashion icon Daphne Guiness. Collections regularly appear in publications such as Vogue, i-D, Collezioni and Numero and they are stocked in stores worldwide.
Eva studied Textile Art at the Romanian Academy of Fine Art in Kolozsvár. She completed her degree in Leather Design at the Hungarian University of Applied Art in Budapest.
Eva’s work extends beyond leather design and, in her free time, she enjoys creating sculptural pieces of art. These works have been exhibited in several European countries including France, Spain, and Denmark. The works are based around the theme of natural materials and abstract ideas, some of which occasionally evolve into one of her handbag designs.
Inspired and fascinated by the wild places and folklore of her Hungarian homeland, Eva Kecseti designs and makes designer leather handbags that are both tactile and stylish.
" I have a passion for the naked beauty and raw strength of leather, in terms of both its visual and functional qualities. I strive to embrace leather's naturally evocative colours and textures throughout the creative process"
Candice Lau handcrafts bold yet minimalist leather bags using traditional leather working methods. Its minimalist aesthetics does not compromise with functionality, honouring the needs of our ever mobile urban lifestyle. Her label Kuku Big Bag is inspired by cultural oddities experienced in a life spent in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and London.
Candice is a designer and maker currently working in the art of leatherwork. She first learnt the invaluable skill of pattern making and traditional saddlery work at the Alri Workshop in Hong Kong and the London School of Fashion in London.
With the growing success of this brand, she went on to further challenge her creativity and skills by empowering brands to develop and create bespoke and unique leather pieces with her expertise in leatherwork.