In today's 'meet and greet' we would like to introduce you to another new girl to our Collective - the talented fabric and felt artist Nicola Bibby.

Tell us a bit about you:
I'm Nicola Bibby aka BeeBeeCrafts.  I used to be Head of Chemistry in a school in west London.  We moved to High Wycombe six years ago.  I have two boys, one in reception and one in year 2.  I have always made things and as the boys have got older I have gradually had more and more time to create and discover new techniques. 

Describe your style: I love playing with colour and texture

Tell us about your workspace: I used to make felt on the dining table but it got too fluffy! I have been encouraged to take over the spare bedroom to try to contain the fluff.  Now I have managed to get replace the bed with a big work table it’s a perfect studio.  My boys call it Mummy’s Felt Room.

What inspires you: The natural world, flowers, the changing seasons, butterfly wings, seeds and pods, bugs, rainbows, shells, birds

How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow: This is my first time with Collective Art in Marlow!  I met Oenone at Juniper Hill Art and Craft Show two years ago and recently she asked if I would be interested in joining and I jumped at the chance!

What is your favourite technique: I love all textiles but my favourite is making felt.  I experiment with lots of different mixed media techniques but I always seem to come back to felt.  It is so versatile, you can make it gossamer fine, like cobweb, or thick and durable enough to make slippers, or even mould it like clay into 3d shapes, and the colours available are so vibrant, and the textures you can create are so tactile….. (I could go on!!)
Apart from fabric art and felt making edia) do you have any other creative interests: I love gardening.  I am lucky enough to have a wonderful garden to lose myself in. 

Tell us about where else we can see your work: I have work on display at Emerald Gallery in Chalfont St Peter and I am a member of the Craft Coop in Maidenhead which has pop up shops in the town centre.  I am also showing at Art at St Dunstan’s this June for Bucks Open Studios.

Favourite film:  The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Anything with Robert Redford and Paul Newman!)

Pets:  I am trying to convince my husband that we ‘need’ a dog!

Favourite place to be:  Anywhere outside - My garden, the woods, by the seaside,

Person I'd most like to invite to dinner:  David Attenborough

Random fact about me:  I collect perfumes!  I love the huge variety of different and sometimes strange combinations of smells available and the bottles of some are little works of art.
With Trixie Flory's departure to pastures new and diary clashes for Katherine Thorn, Maria Tufft, Marilyn Pipe, Rhian Winslade and Sarah Ditchfield we have recruited two new chums to our Collective for our event in May.

In this post we would like to introduce to the first of our 'new girls' - the multi-talented Melanie Gow.

Describe yourself briefly:  First I’m mother to two boys who are growing up to be great men and may well turn out to be the best thing about me. Other than that I have lived my whole life as a creative, never far from a camera or a pen. But, I feel I have waited all these decades for the world to finally develop the perfect medium for me – I make original Artwork using digital apps as a creative photographer.

For me it’s like breathing, it’s how I respond to the world, whether I am inspired or I’m in pain, I spend my time as an artist trying to make a small part of it glow. 

Describe your style?  Forever trying to capture the moment or the metaphor that has meaning. I feel the image as I use a palette of Apps, usually taking several days to get the right mood, and then each one inspires a quote or I write a line of poetry.

Tell us about your workspace? On the road, on the run, on the phone, it’s the space I grab with myself that helps me connect with my thoughts and make sense of it all. It’s how I feel articulate.

How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow?  I met Julie Rumsey and Liz England through exhibiting at the Windsor Emporium; I’m surprised they’re able to still be artists as I bit their arms off for the chance to join this collective. It has been the most nurturing and welcoming experience.

What is your favourite technique? I really like using mixed media to create an image I then photograph and add into a layer on my images, or I like to add mixed media to the final prints – I like adding the real into the digital, but I also really like “colouring “an image for the emotion.

Apart from creative photography do you have any other creative interests?  I run a Community Interest Company that delivers cultural initiatives into the area to foster civic pride. It’s an enormous challenge, but I love coming up with an initiative that can touch the global community and have a real world event locally at the end of it.

Favourite film: That’s so hard, BC (Before Children) I was a film director and screenplay writer so I love films and watch around 5 a week still. But if I have to name one it’s “All That Jazz”, Directed by Bob Fosse.. a theatre director is dying and the whole film is a bizarre musical conversation with Death. I have always related.

 Pets: I had a cat for eighteen years, she was with me through college, there as I started on my career, moved in with me when I bought a house and saw both my sons born. I have not had a pet since.

 Favourite place to be: Wherever there is a chance to be in the present, sounds corny but those moments when you are not hurtling towards some deadline, appointment or end of a “to do” list are like the universe opening up endlessly. 

 Person I'd most like to invite to dinner: That’s too hard, a historical figure? My late father for one last conversation, or my eighty six year old self who would be wise of course? A great conversationalist, a conservationist, someone controversial or just Robert Downey Jnr as I am going to marry him, just as soon as he realises I exist? Option overload!

Random fact about me: Bragging rights, I had a book published and then took my sons on a road trip across America from LA to New York over 7 weeks, drove to the Grand Canyon in an RV had dinner there at sunset just for starters - absolutely life affirming.  Also, I don’t cook.
Picture of Sarah Ditchfield running a candle making workshop
Sarah running a 'Candle by Night' workshop at a previous Collective Art in Marlow event

In our next Meet and Greet we would like to introduce you to the face behind Candle by Night - Sarah Ditchfield

Describe yourself briefly  Hello, I’m Sarah and, prior to becoming a mother, I held a number of senior roles in human resources, specialising in training and development.  Five years ago my husband bought me a candle-making kit for Christmas and, over the next couple of years I developed a number of candle-making techniques using natural waxes. I now incorporate my passion for creating candles, together with my experience of training, to run candle-making workshops, children’s birthday parties and corporate team-building events.

I am married to Philip and have two lovely children, Louise age 10 and Christopher age 8.

Describe your style?  All the candles I sell are made using the natural beauty of soy wax; they are packaged in organza bags and decorated with beautiful handmade mulberry roses.

Tell us about your workspace? My workshop is in a conservatory, which is a lovely place to work as it’s spacious and light. I use solar panels to provide hot water and electricity, helping to make my candles environmentally friendly.

How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow?  I was invited to join by Julia Hayward from the beginning and it’s been a wonderful experience working alongside a group of passionate artisans.

What is your favourite technique? I like to experiment with natural waxes – one example is pouring boiling wax onto ice, which creates the most fascinating three dimensional crystal structures.  

Apart from candle-making do you have any other creative interests?  I love cooking and preparing dishes from around the world!

As a bit of fun we also asked Sarah the following: 

Favourite film: Two Christmas films – Polar Express and Love Actually – they both make me cry!

 Pets: Amber our lovely Welsh Springer Spaniel

 Favourite place to be: At home with my family

 Person I'd most like to invite to dinner: My husband

Random fact about me: I contributed as an author to a Dorling Kindersley book called Craft, which was published in October this year and promoted at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Picture of Julie Rumseys collagraph prints
Julie's stand at a previous Collective Art in Marlow event
Today we are pleased to introduce you to our talented printmaker - Julie Rumsey

Introduce yourself briefly  Hello, my name is Julie (or Jules to my friends) and I produce hand-pulled original prints on my etching press in my ‘Print Shed’ in Chalfont St Giles. I worked as a shoe designer for many years after doing a degree in Fashion & Textiles and now use the skills I acquired as a commercial designer and apply them to creating my own unique prints.

Describe your style?  I mainly specialise in Collagraph, dry point etching, and some lino cut work when the mood for a change takes me. I’d describe my style as contemporary and humorous using colours that I enjoy and that work well in the home - I love pattern, texture and colour.

Tell us about your workspace?  My workspace is a large shed at the end of the garden that I have kitted out with an etching press and all the paraphernalia for printmaking - it’s an expensive past time! My pet dog Dylan, (a scruffy curly headed Tibetan terrier), often joins me and sits outside on the bench warning me of any approaching danger or dare devil squirrels that might be lurking near by . . .

My chum Jacq (also exhibiting with Collective Art in Marlow) wrote this post on her blog back in the summer and included some photos of me in action in my Print Shed!

What inspires you? I get a lot of inspiration from visiting museums and looking at naïve artefacts, I try to find something that makes me smile and give it a contemporary twist using colour and a catchy title to bring the subject back to life.

How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow? I first took part in the Christmas event in 2010. I love being part of a contemporary collective of artist makers.

What is your favourite technique?  I love the recycling aspect of using card and other ‘found’ objects to create a Collagraph plate. It’s much like an etching where the image is scribed onto the Collagraph plate (in reverse) using a sharp scalpel, further textures are then added using gesso, PVA or textured papers. The plate is sealed with shellac which gives the finished plate an aged feel, then inked using etching inks, the first and often the darkest colour known as ‘Intaglio’, gives the outline. Further colours are then introduced carefully and wiped back after each application, often using a cotton bud to create the lighter tones where required.

Apart from printmaking do you have any other creative interests? I’m fairly new to gardening and love growing flowers from seed for cutting and having in them in house. You can see my garden (and Dylan the star!) on a QVC gardening advert coming out in February. I also love creating anything by hand.

Tell us about where else we can see your work? I have work on display at ‘Emerald Gallery’ in Chalfont St Peter, plus sell through ‘Windsor Emporium’ on the first Sunday of most months. I also sell my work through the Granary sale in Chesham and have also taken part in Bucks Open Studios in 2011 at the same venue. I’m hoping to do the same in 2013 but from my own house.

As a bit of fun we also asked Jules the following:
Favourite film: ‘Atonement’ with James McAvoy and Keira Knightley.

A scruffy but adorable black & white Tibetan terrier called Dylan.

Favourite place to be:
In my shed on a sunny day being creative.

Person I'd most like to invite to dinner:
Jenny Éclair or anyone who can make me laugh.

Random fact about me:
I love sticking labels on things! OCD maybe…?
Picture of Teresa Mills mosaic stand being manned by her hubby Paul
Teresa's stand - being manned by her hubby Paul at our last event (Teresa was busy with a workshop!)
In todays ‘Meet and Greet’ we would like to introduce you to our ‘Queen of Bling’ mosaic-maker – Teresa Mills.

Introduce yourself briefly  My names Teresa Mills and I am a mum of two teenage boys living in Maidenhead.  I went to Brighton Art College many moons ago and now work in mosaic.

Describe your style? My work is colourful and very bling!

Tell us about your workspace?  I am lucky to have a purpose built studio in my back garden

What inspires you? I take inspiration from jewellery, textiles, vintage ware and visits to Southall!

How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow?  I was delighted to be invited to take part in the Marlow Collective last year.

What is your favourite technique?  I love to use diamante and crystals in my pieces.  The more sparkle the better!

Apart from mosaic, do you have any other creative interests?  I am a fan of painting and drawing. I am in awe of the work of Jenny Saville and thought her exhibition this year in Oxford to be breathtaking. I also love to travel - especially with my family and if I wasn't so nervous of flying would love to journey around India. I have a suspicion that it would bankrupt me though!

Tell us where else we can see your work?  You can find my work at Emerald Gallery in Chalfont St Peter and Maidenheads pop up shop the 'Craft Coop'
Two Daisies
Today we would like to introduce to our photographer-printmaker - Katherine Thorn

Introduce yourself briefly  My name is Kath Thorn and I am a photographer/printmaker living in Bourne End. I worked for many years for Channel Four News and took a sabbatical to train as a photojournalist in Washington DC and London.  After having children and moving to Marlow, I became fascinated by old photographic techniques and took a course in alternative photographic processes at Central St Martins.  I specialised in photopolymer gravure (also known as solar plate) which I learnt through a series of workshops at London Print Studio; St Barnabas Press, Cambridge and BodenPress in Chesham.

Describe your style? Dark, moody and atmospheric.  
Tell us about your workspace?  There are many different stages to the process. I shoot the photographs around the Thames Valley, send the film to be processed in London, scan the images at home, then make the plates and print at BodenPress in Chesham and London Print Studio. 

What inspires you?  I am inspired by the countryside around the Thames Valley. I grew up around here and when I'm out shooting in the beautiful early morning and evening light it reminds me of childhood summers. 
How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow?  I was extremely lucky to meet Julia Hayward who invited me to join the collective in 2011.
What is your favourite technique?  Shooting on black and white film with an old medium format camera.
Apart from photography and printmaking, do you have any other creative interests? Only sedentary ones!  Reading (mixture of great literature and complete rubbish), art (mainly abstract) and old films.
Tell us about where else we can see your work?  This has been my first full year exhibiting and my work has been shown at One Church Street Gallery, Great Missenden; Artspace at Barn Galleries, Henley-on-Thames; Upstairs Gallery, Berkhamstead and the Neo:printprize in Bolton.

As a bit of fun, Kath also told us the following: 
Favourite film: Brief Encounter

Pets: Very allergic . . . so none.

Favourite place to be: West Cornwall in winter.
Person I'd most like to invite to dinner: Steve Coogan
Random fact about me: I was at the first ever Glastonbury (aged 3).
Picture of Oenone Randall and her metal work at a previous event
Oenone's fabulous display of work at a previous event
In today's 'Meet and Greet' we would like to introduce you a lady who runs the noisiest workshops at our events - metal sculptor and jewellery maker extraordinaire - Oenone (e-no-knee) Randall 

Introduce yourself briefly Hi my name is Oenone and I have been a metal sculptor for about 16 years, and a jeweller for about three years now.
Describe your style  I make etched copper sculptures that usually have an animal or seaside theme, unless something else takes my fancy when I'm being creative - like copper spoons! My jewellery has a rustic quality and I just like to experiment and translate my ideas into pretty things using silver and copper clay.
Tell us about your workspace? My workspace is my garage. I have an acid bay, a welding bay, my beloved anvil and my main workbench. It is hot in summer and freezing in winter but I still love working in there.
What inspires you? I am inspired by playing music while I work and drawing new things to see if I can capture an image or phrase that I can then transfer into my metalwork.
How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow? I got involved with collective art through Coral who started it with Julia back in 2009/10.
What’s you favourite technique? My favourite technique is stamping words onto the copper.
Apart from playing with metal, do you have any other creative pursuits? I love drawing and painting and really love having a go at anything arts related that I haven't tried before. I also love singing and just finished a level one singing course in Marlow.
Where else can we see your work? My work is in the lovely Emerald Gallery in Chalfont St Peter - where I am doing a ‘make and take’ with stamped copper decorations on Saturday 8 December – come along it’s going to be LOUD and fun!

I also have a wide selection of work in the Fire and Iron Gallery in Leatherhead – again well worth a visit:

As a bit of fun Oenone also shared the following:
Favourite film: Four Weddings and a Funeral
Pets: A new golden lab puppy called Tolly who is adorable and my girls have five goldfish
Favourite place to be: My sister-in-laws beach hut in Chichester with J and the girls.
Person I would most like to invite to dinner: Friedensreich Hundertwasser the artist (sadly dead now)
Random fact about me: I trained in embroidery before I became a metal sculptor.

One of Fiona's vibrant paintings.
In today's Meet and Greet' we would like to introduce you to another 'new girl' to the collective family - fine artist Fiona Read

Introduce yourself briefly I live in Penn with my three girls, two dogs, two cats and one husband

Describe your style  I try and paint exactly what I see, so I guess it’s realistic.
Tell us about your workspace? I used to work in the corner of my bedroom, but the smell of linseed oil became a bit much!  I converted a barn in the back garden and now have my own space – wonderful!

What inspires you? Anything in nature that I notice and that strikes me as beautiful and interesting.

How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow?   I was introduced by my friends Sarah Jane Lewis and Carolyn Cameron. This December will be my first show with everyone. I’m very excited!

What is your favourite technique? I paint in oil glazes and gradually build up the painting. It takes a long time, as I have to let each layer dry, but I think it lends itself well to the subject.

Tell us about where else we can see your work? On my website

Picture of jewellery maker Sarah Jane Lewis standing in front of her stall at a previous Collective Art in Marlow event
Sarah Jane at a previous Collective Art in Marlow event
In today's 'Meet and Greet' we would like to introduce you our jewellery maker - Sarah Jane Lewis

Introduce yourself, briefly: My name is Sarah Jane Lewis I live in Tylers Green. I trained in Interior Design many years ago and have had a rather varied work-life in publishing, sales and marketing and as a make-up artist. I love being a mother to my two daughters aged 17 & 20. I came back to creative pursuits via pottery classes, which lead me to make ceramic bead jewellery - a natural progression was to train in silver & metal jewellery making and now I am often to be found hammering away at my work-bench making designs in silver, copper, brass & pewter.

Describe your style? You will struggle to find straight lines or any precise geometry in my designs. I revel in free-form and naturalistic wiggly lines and marks - think snail-trails and seed-pods...

Tell us about your work-space? I currently work in a compact corner of a 'family-room' it is light and next to an outside door. I like to be very comfy, when I'm working - radio is a must; there'll be a cat curled up nearby (oblivious to the noise) and a constant supply of tea

What inspires you? I am inspired by marks and shapes from the natural world, but I'm always buzzing with ideas after a trip to the V&A Museum looking at the amazing decorative art, sculpture and ironwork.

How and when did you get involved with Collective Art in Marlow? I have been involved right from the start. It’s so great to be involved with such a creative and lovely bunch!

Apart from jewellery do you have any other creative interests? I love to cook!

What is your favourite technique? I know this sounds a bit 'hippy', but I do like to produce jewellery that has a feeling of warmth and soul to it. I usually hammer a piece of metal before doing anything else to it as then it has marks made by hand as a background. It's like the difference between a hand-thrown pot and a mass produced one...the hand-made item has an imprint of the person that made it. This gives it a texture and character and quality that is very much my style.

Tell us where else we can see your work: I currently sell my work at The Courtyard Gallery at 'A Little Bird Told Me' in Wendover: - and sometimes at The Craft Coop Shop, Maidenhead:

I also take part in The Craft Coop Jewellery Shop, Maidenhead; The Granary Sale in Chesham and have regular 'open house' sales from my house.  My Website is 'under construction' currently but I hope to have it done, soon!  Look out for:

Favourite film: Priscilla Queen of The Desert

Pets: Three adorable rescue tom-cats Teddy, Dennis & Vern and three free-range-ing Hens

Favourite place to be: West Coast of Ireland

Person I'd most like to invite to dinner: Too numerous to specify!

Random fact about me: A life-long love of Donkeys (I had two as a child)

Lesley and her many creations at a previous Collective Art in Marlow event

Today we would like to introduce the face behind Country Girl Corner - Lesley De Matos

Introduce yourself  Hi, I’m Lesley, and am married to my song writing husband, and we have a lovely daughter Lucia who is almost 17 (and asking for a car already!)  I’m originally from Belfast, and my Husband’s family are Portuguese so we have two  great places to go for our holidays! I was taught to sew by my Mum, and crochet by my Granny, design by my Dad and although I  was never formally taught, I like to have a go, and if I see something I like, I’ll come home and ‘make one’.

I work full time as a project manager in a media company in West London, but still manage to make time for my creative obsession of Country Girl Corner which I find relaxing and totally absorbing.  I started Country Girl Corner a few years ago when I had been making gifts for my daughter, my friends and their friends and I decided to do a few local Christmas Shows to see if other people would like my ideas.

Describe your style? I mainly work with natural linen and hand selected cottons, I love finding vintage fabrics which I can incorporate into my work, and am a regular at the local car boot sales rummaging for fabric and other ‘useful things’.  I make things that I like, and hope that other people like them too.

Tell us about your work space? My work room is the conservatory in the house (and I have associated things in the shed, and the garage, and tucked around the house in every corner), my room is freezing in winter, boiling hot in summer, dark at night, and generally a bit of a mess, although I know where everything is, and hate when I do a tidy up, because I can never find anything..

What inspires you? Sometimes I get some new fabric and the fabric suggests a new design, sometimes I see a design of something and think it could be improved upon, for instance, my lavender and wheat bags, I used to have one of these but it was an ugly fleece thing which was sewn around all sides so you couldn't get the cover off to wash, so I gave it the Country Girl Corner treatment, made a calico bag inner for the lavender and wheat, and then made a cover using pretty cotton fabric which is removable and can be washed.  Much more attractive and much more user friendly.  These are very popular presents at Christmas as they are easy to heat up in the microwave, and are useful, practical and nice and warm.

Sometimes I just make things because they’re cute:  I make small mohair teddy bears, and put them in a distressed box with a knitted blanket and a little quilt, oh yes, and they have their own little bear and when you put them away, it’s like you’re putting them to bed and tucking them in……….

How and when did you get involved with the Collective Art I Marlow?  I was invited to join the Collective Art in Marlow last year when some of the other girls had seen my work and thought I would ‘fit in’.  I was very honoured to be asked and the show was great fun, the room looks beautiful and there is a lovely atmosphere and everyone takes their time and has time for a chat.  There is a good age range of the people who come along, and the ‘make and do’ area for the children is fabulous, lots of noise, and banging, and tongues being stuck out of the sides of young months with the concentration, it’s great to see and the gifts they make are really good ‘keepers’ which can become family treasures.

Apart from playing with fabric, do you have any other creative interests?  I am currently putting all my patterns together in a book, so watch this space, there may be a book available at some point next year which I am very excited about.  I’m also a keen silversmith and enjoy time in the workshop making jewellery, and I also enjoy struggling with crochet amigumuri toys.

Tell us about where else we can see your work? I am going to be doing a few shows in the area on the run up to Christmas including the Windsor Emporium, the Cookham Dean Village Hall (run by the Craft Coop) and the Christmas fair at Norden Farm in Maidenhead and I have lots of exciting new products, so do come and say hello!

You can also find my work on my website

As a bit of fun, we also asked Lesley the following questions:

Favourite film:  The Quiet Man
Pets:  We have a blue staffy called ‘Blue’ who is a lovely friendly boy who comes to say good night to us all at 9.30 each night and then takes himself off to bed!
Favourite place to be:  Home
Person I'd most like to invite to dinner: All the family for a long afternoon lunch
Random fact about me: Looking at the ‘smile’ on my Beetle puts me in a good mood