A Sustainable Christmas Countdown

Various Artists

With Hilary Audus, Rachel Baker, Marian Carter, Linda Cavill, Sarah J Dewhurst, Katie Fields, Emi Fujisawa, Annette Fynes-Clinton, Laura Gibbs, Julie Leaming, Andrew Macdermott, members of North Bucks Woodturning Club, Alondene Phillips, Gabrielle Radiguet, Tamakurya, Cathy Timbrell and Kate Whiting Designs

Over two successive weekends, Milton Keynes Arts Centre foregrounds the high quality of work being produced in Milton Keynes and its environs through a changing display of work by twenty artist makers, all of which will be available to buy, with prices to suit all budgets.

The series of exhibitions, associated by artist-led workshops and drop-ins, promotes ideas for celebrating a sustainable Christmas – from focusing on quality over quantity and buying locally to making one’s own decorations, using recycled or recyclable wrapping materials and, of course, avoiding single-use plastic.

The artists will be present throughout the day on Saturday and their work will be on sale, providing a great opportunity to buy unique artworks directly from the makers.

On Sunday, we provide a quieter exhibition experience, allowing visitors the time to really appreciate the work on show. There will be free hot drinks and seasonal snacks on offer throughout the day.

Click here for A Sustainable Christmas Countdown workshops

The Artists

Hilary Audus
Hilary Audus has worked in the Animation industry for all of her career. She co-scripted, boarded and animated the Christmas classic, ‘The Snowman’, directed and scripted another Raymond Briggs story, ‘The Bear’, and co-wrote and directed ‘The Snowman and The Snowdog’. Hilary has received several awards for ‘Best Director’ and her films have been nominated for BAFTAS and short-listed for an Oscar. In recent years, after building a studio in her garden, the artist took up sculpting. She says In the art of animation one is deceiving the eye by making two dimensional drawings appear three dimensional. It is a natural progression to physically work in three dimensions by making sculptures.’

Rachel Baker
Rachel Baker is a self-taught artist based at Milton Keynes Arts Centre who specialises in pet portraiture. In her work, Rachel strives to make portraits that capture the personality of the animals concerned. She also runs Liquid Art: drinking and painting parties for beginners that take place in pubs, bars and restaurants in and around MiltonKeynes. 

Marian Carter

Buckingamshire-based artist Marian Carter uses a number of different methods to produce original prints including etching, drypoint, mono-printing and collagraphs; but for the past few years she has concentrated mainly on reduction linocuts. The artist takes inspiration from many sources but is particularly attracted to the natural world and finds reduction linocutting a highly effective method for portraying feather and fur.

Linda Cavill
Linda Cavill is a multidisciplinary artist who initially studied and worked in printed textile design. Linda began painting as her design work became more computerised and has since added ceramics to her practice. She is fascinated by the layering process using collaged papers and printing rollers in her paintings and various slips, glazes and underglaze in her ceramics. The built environment is a constant source of inspiration for Linda’s work as are the structural forms of seed heads and pods in the natural world.

Sarah J Dewhurst

Sarah Dewhurst describes herself as a ‘Mixed Media Crafter’, her main focus being on ceramics and textiles. Her work delves into forgotten histories, folklore and legends: how they affect the landscape and the meanings we find in it. Often these elements combine in her dreams, which are populated with a wealth of imagery and strange beings. 

Katie Fields

Katie Fields is an artist, maker and horticulturalist from Milton Keynes. Katie’s practice often involves working with objects used in rituals and ceremonies to create performative and interactive installations. Most recently objects used in tea culture and horticulture have been the focus of her explorations.

Emi Fujisawa
Emi Fujisawa is a textile artist and designer whose philosophy is based on the Confucius proverb: ‘We can learn new things from the past’. Emi has developed unique palettes from an expertise in natural dyeing with a key focus on using natural, sustainable and ethical materials. She says ‘My works are mostly influenced by events of my life and the people around me. Even [when days feel the same], the sky often shows a different expression and palette, as the people within my life show a different spectrum of emotions and colours.’ Emi’s Slow Fashion collection is created from traditional antique and vintage textiles found in markets around the world or hand-woven using materials including kibiso silk yarn and hand-spun linens. The artist also likes to add natural and handmade ceramic flower buttons to her clothes.

Annette Fynes-Clinton

Annette Fynes-Clinton is a textile artist and quilt maker who takes inspiration from nature, buildings and works of art, as well as from inspirational textile designers such as Kaffe Fassett, Odile Bailloeul and Anna Maria Horner. She claims that quilting is her ‘joy, sanity and obsession’ and Annette uses a range of techniques including appliqué and embroidery. A technique she often uses is to take a single fabric and manipulate it with the help of a ruler and mirrors to create an endless range of patterns.

Laura Gibbs

Laura Gibbs was introduced to clay following a chance conversation with a neighbour in 2019 and she graduated from Morley College with an HND in ceramics in summer 2022.  Her current work ‘Perfect doesn’t grow on trees’ challenges our society’s obsession with perfection by introducing elements of randomness and imperfection to the semi-industrial process of slip casting. The bone china and porcelain pieces are cast and then biscuit fired before being placed in a saggar and fired in the kiln with metals, oxides and other combustible material to produce unpredictable colours and patterns. Laura’s approach to making is exploratory and her work is constantly evolving as she experiments with different materials and techniques.

Julie Leaming

Julie Leaming is an artist and sculptor working in clay, making ceramic sculptures and vessels for indoor and outdoor spaces. Julie’s work is inspired by landscapes, plants and more recently birds. She is drawn to structures that reveal shapes and patterns, which have formed or evolved through time and the elements. The finished works are fired to a high temperature and finished in neutral colours or painted with a bronze, rust or copper effect.

Andrew Macdermott
Andrew Macdermott fell in love with pottery from a desire to try a new skill. His passion for his craft has expanded to a home studio, where he makes pieces inspired by landscapes and the environment. In particular Iceland, which has been a significant inspiration for Andrew, who says it "captivated my imagination". With a background in Community Development, Andrew feels a natural progression to combining his passions, using clay as a tool for connecting people; offering workshops from his studio as means of engagement.

Alondene Phillips

Alondene Phillips is an artist working with ceramics, printmaking and surface design who says: ‘As child I found myself attached to certain objects, intrigued by their shapes and colours, fascinated by their texture and feel. I never understood this until I was much older and realised I was picking up on something deeper. It was not just because I found something aesthetically pleasing or tactile but because they evoked memories that reminded me of significant people, places or times. They held little snippets of my heritage, my history and family traditions. They made me think of similarities and differences within my cultural heritage and of the people important to me. I use theses snippets of information, which are represented by symbols, pattern and textures as collages on my work’ … ‘I am interested in how objects and vessels can be used to initiate conversations around identity and heritage - away of storytelling, imparting knowledge and supporting greater understanding.’

Gabrielle Radiguet

Gabrielle Radiguet is a Jersey born artist who is now based in the UK. Her work spans a variety of media and interests including painting, printmaking, ceramics and icon writing. Her most recent project is an illustrated storybook which explores a fairytale narrative through children's interpretations of stained glass windows.

Cathy Timbrell
Cathy Timbrell’s jewellery is inspired by patterns and objects found around us; a landscape, a cobbled street, a broken structure. She is also inspired by other artists’ work, including in the fields of sculpture, photography and painting. Cathy uses a variety of techniques including molten, reticulated and fused silver, allowing her to create an organic feel with which to represent a scene such as a shoreline or a broken piece of timber. More recently her pieces have taken a more structural or architectural feel and some pieces incorporate fused gold (Keum Boo), inlaid vitreous enamels, precious and semi-precious stones.The artist’s most recent work is enamelling copper and in particular, high fired vitreous enamel on copper bowls and large pieces of jewellery, where the designs are built up through a number of firings in a kiln.

Kate Whiting Designs

Kate Whiting is a knitwear designer and textile artist working with natural fibres and materials. In particular, Kate loves to work with merino, silk and yak, trying to incorporate recycled yarns and fibres wherever she can. Taking inspiration from nature, folklore, novels and a fascination with 17th Century Scottish clothing, the artist creates pieces of art to be worn or draped as well as custom-designed dolls made from completely natural materials. Over the past year, Kate has been working with independent yarn dyers in America, Canada, Australia and Scotland to create collections of work inspired by the ‘Outlander ‘story and ‘Game of Thrones’. Climate change is also a subject she keeps returning to; a Phoenix shawl she created to depict the message of global warming won a silver award at the EcoCreate exhibition in Derby.

Calendar of Events

Saturday 2 December– Sunday 10 December, 11am–4pm
A Sustainable Christmas Countdown Exhibition (weekends only)

Saturday 2 December, 11am– 12.30pm
Drypoint Etching with Susan Erskine-Jones

Saturday 2 December, 1pm– 1.45pm
OPEN GARDEN Artist Talk: Botanical Dyeing with Ciara Callaghan

Saturday 2 December,
Botanical Slow Stitching with Emi Fujisawa

Saturday 9 December, 11am– 1pm
Design and Print Your Own Fabric with Alondene Phillips

Saturday 9 December, 2-4pm
Stained Glass Mandalas with Gabrielle Radiguet

See our Events listing page for full details and bookings

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