SF: Can you tell us a little about your background?
KB: I studied my foundation course at Stevenson College in Edinburgh, where my tutor Russell Wallace, inspired me to generate ideas in many different ways. I never forget all his advice. I am very pleased to have graduated from Edinburgh College of Art this year with a first class honours degree. It was there that my interest in enamelling really took form, as I learnt from Elizabeth and Jessica Turrell. I learnt so much from my teachers including Stephen Bottomley and Susan Cross, and am really glad of all the opportunities I have had to grow and develop through my time at ECA.
SF: Where do you find your inspiration?
KB: Of my current two collections, ‘Currents of Venice’, is a result of a research trip to the beautiful Italian city last year. There, my imagination was captured by the patchwork of texture and colours, of old and new, as the residents work to restore the faded glory and faded colours, resulting in layers upon layers of architecture and details. I feel this translated well into a set of pieces with both deep, vibrant colours and strong tactile values, which invite touch and intimate exploration.
My other collection, ‘Lines in Motion’ grew out of my interest in the relationship between surface and form, and as a personal challenge I set myself. Much of my work is rooted in drawing at the sketchbook level and printmaking and is by nature very two-dimensional. My challenge for this project was to develop new ways of achieving three-dimensional forms. I took my inspiration from the weaving movements of basketry and the pleat work of Japanese clothing designer Issey Miyake. Although these two sources are quite different, I found they both involved a certain kind of rhythm in their creation and introduced a sense of movement into my work as well as bringing that much need third dimension.
SF: In what techniques do you feel confident and which would you like to develop further?
KB: I love the versatility of enamel, with the world of possibilities it allows for, in terms of texture and pattern. I especially enjoy creating matt finishes. And the colour! I have always enjoyed a strong use of colour in my work and enamel allows for especially vivid and deep shades and hues. In the Summer I was privileged to be a part of the International Enamelling Symposium in Erfurt, Germany. It was just amazing to work alongside great enamel artists from around the world and to learn from them, and to explore new possibilities. I feel that I have yet to exhaust the creative potential in the use of enamel and look forward to more opportunities to experiment with this medium, such as working more with industrial, liquid enamels, as until Erfurt I mainly worked with vitreous enamel.
I would like to develop my use of other mediums including wood and resin. I had a wonderful opportunity to study “Exploring Jewellery with Wood” for a week at West Dean College with Beth Legg. I really enjoyed using found wood and experimenting with pyrography, and would love to develop this further.
SF: Would you like to collaborate with others, either to a theme, or on a specific project? If so, can you imagine the advantages in this?
KB: I would love to collaborate with other artists on a project. Although I have not got anyone in mind as a specific collaborator, I can see definite advantages of working alongside others, such as being stretched in new directions and being open to lots of new techniques. Some of my favourite projects at college were when we worked with other students, especially from different disciplines. It really opened you up to new possibilities.