SEVEN is an artist collective, from the Thames Estuary in Leigh on sea. Formed by seven local artists who met on a Creative Journal course, led by Heidi Wigmore at Metal in Southend, we have as a group, continued to develop our art practice using creative sketchbooks and altered books.
We define a creative sketchbook as having ‘a visual conversation with yourself as an artist and between ourselves as a creative collective’; whereas an altered book is a way of repurposing a second hand/found book to give it a new narrative and meaning. The books we create are very tactile and full of texture; and it is refreshing to produce such tangible work in our increasingly digital world. Individually, we are all successful artists/designers/makers with a variety of backgrounds and skills. Within our creative sketchbooks, we love having the space to take risks without the pressure for it to ‘come out right’ or the need to seek approval. We love the synergy of bouncing ideas off each other and it continually surprises us to see how each person interprets the same brief in their own unique way.
Nicola Watts | editor, mixed media artist
Working in a heavily textured and / or mixed media abstract form allows me to express my inner world in a thought-provoking and inviting manner. I am passionate about experimenting with both conventional and non-conventional materials and bringing them together in original ways to express a thought, an idea, or simply a feeling. For me, art is the ultimate playground, with no rules, no mistakes and no end, a dreamlike escape with endless possibilities.
Juliet Bryson | administrator, textile designer maker
After many years of stitching and textiles in my spare time, I took a leap of faith and returned to college in order to expand and formalise my knowledge, and have since become a constructed textile designer maker.
Attending the Creative Journal and Altered Book courses at Metal has expanded both my thinking and artistic process and has allowed me to experiment with drawing, painting, and collage and also ?letting go?. Recently I have been exploring lace patterns and am looking at incorporating this into my work within the SEVEN collective.
Helen Davis | copywriter, blogger, collage artist
Informed by a love of the arts and culture my work aims to explore ideas of myth, archetype and the subconscious. Found images, coloured, cut, spliced and reimagined. Line drawings layered to create something unexpected. Through collaged and experimental drawing techniques I attempt to diminish over deliberation and surrender to serendipitous outcomes.
Amanda Jackson | painter
I am a painter living in Westcliff; my practice derives from a direct response to place, my interaction with and sensations felt in those places, sometimes working directly in the landscape, other times exploring ideas in the studio from sketchbooks. My paintings are oil, acrylic and mixed media.
To try something altogether different, I joined a group of artists making ?Creative Journals? as a means of exploring new approaches to using sketchbooks and altered books with the intention of enhancing my painting practice.
Kim Saunders | mixed media artist
Living in Southend I like to take inspiration from the estuary, and the other more colourful characteristics of living in a seaside town.
The Creative Journal course at Metal helped to re-ignite my creativity at a time of change in my life. Previously I had worked mostly in collage and mixed media, including paper and found objects; sometimes integrating fabrics and sewn work. More recently I have started painting with acrylics, and have found that I can integrate this in to my practice both physically and digitally.
I am currently working on an altered book inspired by the creative journal course, a new sketchbook integrating painting and digital manipulation and a commissioned work.
Kerry Doyland | architectural designer, artist and yoga instructor
My previous work as an architect and designer informs my work as an artist. I am still passionate about line, colour and sense of place, but what fascinates me most now, is the energy that is created and shared by model and artist. This combined energy, in turn, creates an alchemy of line and pigment that only appears when I work directly from life.
Jo Bund | artist, designer, maker
I am an artist, designer and maker with a background in textiles and graphics. My work is inspired by distressed and aged surfaces, textures and patterns that I find in my urban environment and in nature. I am also driven by the endless possibilities of working in mixed media.
Currently, in my creative sketchbooks, I?m exploring the process of combining contrasting found materials that I?ve torn, collaged and aged before working onto them with stitches, printing and hand-drawn marks to create rich, abstract, complex and textured pieces.