Ann Povey is a Lincoln-based designer maker who works mainly with a combination of metal, ceramics and found objects. Design-Nation asked her a few questions about her practice, inspiration and future.
Design-Nation asked: Can you tell us about your practice and how your business began?
Ann Povey: My business began in 1999 when I graduated with a BA Hons in Contemporary Craft. It has been part time since then as I have worked full time at the University of Lincoln since 2000 as Senior Technician, however from June this year I shall be a full time designer maker.
I worked initially with fused and kiln formed glass and metal as a supporting material. Later I introduced ceramics and when I completed an MA in Design in 2005 I worked with metals and ceramics only. I then introduced found objects after discovering a small hoard of items that once belonged to my Great Uncle Lewis and that find changed the way I work.
My practice is inspired by my own personal childhood memories; I remember such wonderful adventures, days out, fun and antics, hard work, animals and lots of walking, running and playing, domestic simplicity and an outdoor farm life, no matter what the weather.
The items I found in the biscuit tin owned by Uncle Lewis evoked all those memories, brought back the idyllic times I remembered and I thought if they could do that for me perhaps it would work for others. I now use lost, unwanted and discarded items in my work, objects that inspire and influence.
DN: Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
AP: There hasn’t been one particular person who has influenced my work and the way I work, other than those close to me. During my initial studies I was taught by a series of wonderful tutors who changed the way I saw the world. Since then (1994-96) I have never looked back, I have met some wonderful teachers, designer makers, students and technicians all of whom have had an effect on me and my work.
DN: What inspires you and your work?
AP: With regard to the spoons; it all starts with the object…..the handle, I then make a paper template of the proposed spoon/tool/utensil shape that works well with the handle. I work in batches of 10 to 30 at a time. When it is the perfect form I cut this from sheet metal, copper or sterling silver, using a piercing saw and blade, the cut out form is heated to annealing temperature then shaped, cleaned and polished. The bowls are then enamelled or textured and patinated. The spoons are then attached to the handles by various means.
The ceramics; these are coil-built using porcelain, fired to 1000 degrees centigrade, glazed and fired to 1220 degrees and then gold lustre is applied and the pots are re-fired to 810 degrees. Often they are given a found object to sit on or are fitted with a lost and lonely teapot lid.
DN: What is your workspace like?
AP: I have just moved out of my lovely little shed in the garden and into the reformed garage. I was lucky to have a brick built double garage down the bottom of the garden, it has taken five years in total to redo the roof, remove the garage doors and brick that up and replace the old windows with a new double glazed one, new electrics, panelling the walls and ceiling, insulating and decorating. Not to mention saving for the equipment I need to do this work. Finally it was finished and I moved in early in the New Year. I love it.
DN: Do you work hard on your PR or do you work with others on marketing?
AP: I do post images of work on social media but otherwise I am not proficient at PR. My website was redone a while ago and now needs updating again, my son in law helps me with this aspect.
DN: What are the main challenges in your practice?
AP: Keeping it fresh and alive, current and available.
DN: Where would you like your practice to be in 10 years?
AP: I would love my practice to have developed further and feel confident that my work can stand up for itself in an ever growing market of high standard craft.
DN: If you could collaborate with someone who would you like that to be?
AP: Oh gosh, I admire lots of other designer makers and have worked with some great people in the past. I do have a few craft heroes – Jo Pond and Samantha Bryan. But I love the work of Lauren Bell Brown and think that her jewellery is inspirational.
DN: If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
AP: I always wanted to be a vet, but I was told at school that I wasn’t clever enough!!! Different times.
DN: Why did you join Design Nation? What do you enjoy and find helpful from being a member?
AP: I joined as a Design Factory member many years ago and now DF has merged with Design Nation. I joined initially because I felt the mentorship, advice and guidance would help me as a new designer maker. It was great being part of a group and this group has expanded and progressed. I enjoy the events, exhibitions and shared stands at trade fairs that Design Nation promotes and organises. It is a community of makers who all need and benefit from Design Nation’s support.
DN: Are there any exhibitions, commissions or events coming up or that you are currently taking part in?
AP: I am presently in “Meraki” at Heart Gallery until 22April; BCTF Harrogate with Design Nation 8-10 April; “Collections” at Sunny Bank Mill 22April – 17 June and The Old Lock Up Gallery Derbyshire from March onwards. I sell my work through www.madebyhandonline.co.uk
Interview by Laura Jacometti