Spun Sugar Jewellery

Meet Jane Archer - handmade hero

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14 December 2015

by Victoria Brown

Spun Sugar Jewellery is by far my favourite jewellery on my dressing table! I have bespoke wedding jewellery which will remind me of my big day for a lifetime, to specially commissioned pieces - all of which Victoria was more than happy to create.

I'm so excited to introduce another of my handmade heroes.  Jane Archer is a very talented artist living in Warwickshire and the south of France.  I was lucky enough to meet her at a very cold and windy outdoor craft fair where we chatted in between trying to stop the wind from whipping away everything on our stalls!

I love how delicate and beautiful her work is and her passion (like mine) for promoting handmade.

Here's a bit about Jane:

What do you create?

I paint watercolours, usually florals, but also gardens, local scenes and pets.

When did you first start painting?

As a child, I always loved drawing, but at school, I found I was being steered along a more academic route. Art A level had to be fitted in at the last moment when I decided I wanted to go to art college. Four years and a degree in art and design later, and life, work and parenthood had taken over. I threw myself into it all, finding other creative outlets along the way, and it wasn't until many years later that I returned to art.

How/why did you first start painting?

Ten years ago, we began to spend about half of the year in France and I found I had the time, and more importantly, the space in my head, to think about wanting to draw and paint again. A french neighbour, who is an artist, saw me sketching in the garden. We struck up a friendship and she suggested I join her at some of the local classes. I discovered the joys of watercolour and the teacher was very encouraging, referring to me as her 'English watercolourist!' I had never used it before, but loved the immediacy of it, the fluidity and the effects you can create.

What do you love about art?

I love starting with a pristine sheet of paper, water and paints, and creating something from them. Whether I'm working from life or from a photograph, it's about seeing an image as clearly as you can, really looking into it, seeing it's beauty, and capturing that on paper.

What's been your biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge was putting my artwork out on show for the first time. You feel as if you're exposing a very intimate part of yourself. Two years ago, I had a stall at a pop-up shop in Warwick, I was making jewellery at the time. With lots of encouragement from my lovely friends and colleagues I put a few of my paintings out on display for the first time. That was my first 'proper' sale in not a friend or family member!

Favourite place to work

Sat at the dining table at our home in Nice, light and sunshine flooding in through the open doors and windows, with a BBC radio drama for company!

Christmas cake or mince pies?

Making the Christmas cake, as I love decorating it, but I am partial to a mince pie!

Which three words sum up your work?




Who's your most admired artist/crafter?

Too many to mention, but let's start with these:

Colour - Shirley Trevenna
Imagery - Raoul Dufy
Words - Georgia O'Keefe

What/who inspires you?

The small glimpses of beauty in everyday life, and flowers. Flowers and gardens, nature in general.

What would you like to be doing in three years time?

Pretty much what I'm doing now, just more of it! Ideally, I would have a dedicated studio space where I could work with other people. I have been asked if would give lessons, and that is something I'd love to do. It would also make a great exhibition space...

What do you love about handmade things?

I love that you are handling something unique, something that has taken time and skill and creativity. A tiny part of the person who created it has gone into that object. I once owned a beautifully colourful Peruvian cardigan and would occasionally find a long, glossy dark hair knitted in with the wool. It felt like a connection to the person who had used their skill to create it.

Where do you exhibit?
I exhibit regularly with my colleagues and friends from Love Handmade at St Nicholas church in Warwick. Our monthly fairs will restart in the spring, check out our website or Facebook page for details. Click here

I'll also be doing Warwickshire Open Studios again this year, back at St Gregory's church in Offchurch I hope, and I also hope to do 'Art in the Park' in Leamington.

Other events are yet to be confirmed, but details will be posted on my website janearcherart.co.uk and on my Facebook page.

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