Today marks the start of the ‘I Made It’ exhibition at Westminster Abbey; a chance for staff, volunteers and residents of the Abbey to display their creative talents, whatever they may be. This exhibition is not open to the public but is open for all members of the Abbey community to enjoy and provides a great opportunity for people to get to know one another a little better. It is incredible to see the variety of skills and crafts that people are so talented at, whether it is painting, photography, sculpture, jewellery making or baking.
Within the retail team we are passionate about making the most of people’s talents and supporting small scale manufacturers creating handcrafted products. This comes in part from the fact that we have a creative team who all enjoy making their own range of gifts or artwork. Here are some of the entries contributed by them to this year’s ‘I Made It’.
Morris has submitted a painting which provides his own interpretation of Saint Sebastian using acrylics and mixed media. Morris started painting at a young age and has developed his own unique style. His paintings, which are extraordinarily poignant in their simplicity, usually feature a black background with a naked figure, perhaps representing our inner self, seeming to float in the infinite. He also paints glassware, creating vivid designs using glass paint along with glitter to accentuate the details.
Emily has submitted a piece called a Boozy Bunny, a rabbit created from vintage beer mats and old solicitor’s papers from the 1800s. This is part of the range of illustrated homewares that she creates outside of her time working at the Abbey; inspired by the work of Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden she uses the same philosophy in which design can be applied to almost any surface.
Claire has submitted a beautiful pendant and a decorative belt which have been made from a selection of items she has found whilst mud larking on the beaches of the Thames. Each piece has been beautifully wrapped in sections of wire which both encase and enhance them. She is inspired by the idea of finding objects that have been discarded and creating a new purpose for them so they can be treasured again.
Carly has submitted a set of jewellery, which includes a necklace strung with African turquoise and Amazonite beads and a flower pendant created from old music manuscripts. The second piece of the set is a ring which features a flower created from the pages of a 1980s atlas. Like Claire she enjoys repurposing objects to give them a new lease of life, and is inspired by contrasting hard wearing materials like metal and stone with something as fragile as paper.
We hope this demonstration of the amazing talents here at Westminster Abbey will inspire you to support local artisans and crafters just like some of the fantastic suppliers we use at the Abbey. Whether it is Handmade Norfolk Soaps, who create the wonderful collection of soaps we stock, or Stockwell Ceramics, the company who has helped us to create our new ceramic Cosmati jewellery, we are proud to make the most of home-grown talent.