About London Clay Birds:
I have a furniture design background, a love of birds and nature, and an allotment where I build stuff and grow things. I come from a family of very crafty, artistic types - seamstresses and knitters a plenty. I make clay birds, wooden birdboxes, flower presses, brooches and cards. I use clay and wood and applied illustrative techniques. I also collaborate with my sister Claire Scully, illustrator and general all round talent of thequietrevolution, who produces wonderful prints, t-towels, cushions and cards
Octopus screen-printed cushion by Claire Scully
I’m inspired by my allotment, everything about it - the soil, the veggies, the birds and the bugs. I love sheds and compost heaps and the strange and wonderful inventions, created by gardeners to assist them in cultivating crops like wigwams and raised beds and coldframes and shelters. What they can do with a pallet and a scaffold board blows my mind. You have to be quite a crafty person to run a successful plot so I suppose creating and growing go hand in hand for me.
A selection of London Clay Birds from DHPainter
My London clay birds are probably my signature piece. The clay itself has a wonderful story – first of all, it is a marine deposit from an ancient seabed, 50-60 million years old. Back when London was covered by a tropical ocean. Fossils from the Palaeogene period have been found in the clay and it stretches half way across the London area. Secondly it is sourced from near where I live. An old Victorian workhouse and Aged Pilgrims Asylum once stood near the Archway and Highgate Hill, the area has recently been redeveloped and I managed to excavate some of the amazing London clay. The clay is then sculpted to represent our city’s little birds. They fire up nicely, with some wonderful effects, different colours and textures. My kiln is a fairly rudimentary brick built oven at my allotment but sometimes the birds are placed in my seasonal bonfires along side the cabbage stalks and sweetcorn stems, with some interesting results! They are finished with a little wax and presented in a special handmade bag. Each bird is one of a kind, totally unique.
Hand-cut walnut swallow brooches
We Make Christmas:
My sister and I will be at the We Make Christmas Fair with a selection of handmade goodies, including prints and cards and screen-printed cushions, as well as wooden bird brooches and bird boxes. We’ve enjoyed all the We Make and Of Cabbages and Kings fairs this year and hope the Christmas fair will be equally merry. Can’t wait!