Curio•sea•ty lands at the Art Hostel

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East Street Arts has commissioned Curio•sea•ty to decorate a room at Leeds First Ever Social Enterprise Art Hostel –

The room will be available to stay in, from the end of February 2016 – so come visit Leeds!



Curio•sea•ty workshops – Stanley & Audrey Gallery

A big thank you to the Stanley and Audrey Gallery for hosting our second series of Curio•sea•ty workshops. We had a great time giving these workshops and meeting such lovely participants! On Day 1 we were embossing on paper and clay with our second workshop on Day 2 focusing on spool knitting and grafting.

We hope these skills have sparked lots of ideas for our participants – to now take away and play with through their own work, like we have.

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Curioseaty workshop - embossing 2

Curioseaty workshop - embossing 4

Curioseaty workshop - grafting 3

Curioseaty workshop - grafting

Curioseaty workshop - grafting 2

Thank you Men in Sheds!

Over the last few weeks I have been spending my Tuesday afternoons over at Holdbeck in Leeds with the lovely Men in Sheds. Who have been kind enough to let me join them and be a lady in a shed during this time!

Curio•sea•ty initially approached Men in Sheds for their advise on our proposed Sea Map piece that we are making – which wood should we use, how to split the size of this map, ways in which we can cut the map to shape, possible ways of hanging and displaying this piece – in a table format or/and wall mounted, so that the piece can be displayed multi-purposely etc.

From these discussions, I also asked if it would possible for me to come and work on producing my Salt Netters (current name – may change!) – and from this lots of sanding of wood logs has ensued, and the Netters are being made! I’m nearly at the end of sanding process and the construction of the Salt Netters has now begun – sorting, arranging, glueing, clamping and collaging – images of all this to follow!

It’s been great working within the Shedders, spreading the word as to the great work, facilities and hospitality they provide and I hope to be able to work with them again in the future!

For more information as to how to get involved in Men in Shed, click on this link:

If you are thinking about wanting to learn new carpentry skills – beginner or wanting to enhance or pass your own skills on, this is definitely the place to go and be part of a great motivating team of people.

Salted ideas

‘Salt: a world history – Mark Kurlansky’

Salt has become a real area of interest for me throughout Curioseaty – from it’s form, it’s function and it’s history – I have been fascinated! It has given me lots of inspiration as to several pieces I want to produce and explore further. Mark Kurlansky’s book ‘Salt: a world history’ has been of great help and a brilliant source of fact, history and legend which I have throughly enjoyed reading;

Here are but a few of nuggets of information I have taken on board, which have sparked my salted pieces of work!

‘Salt is a potent and sometimes dangerous substance that has to be handled with care. Medieval European etiquette paid a great deal of attention to how slat was touched at the table – with the tip of a knife and never by hand.’

‘Romans boiled sea salt in pottery, which they broke after a solid salt block had formed inside.’

‘Salt was served at the table, in a simple seashell at a plebeian’s table or in an ornate silver saltcellar to a patrician’s feast. In fact since salt symbolised the binding of an agreement, the absence of a saltcellar on a banquet table would have been interpreted as a unfriendly act and reason for suspicion.’

‘From the Black Sea to the Strait of Gibraltar, salt production was usually placed near fishing areas, creating industrial zones that produced a range of salt-based products, including various types of salt fish, fish sauces, and purple dye.’

‘Wilfredo the Hairy rebuilt an abandoned eighth-century castle on a mountain fifty miles inland from Barcelona. Alone on what was then a distant mountain top, the highest peak in a rugged , sparsely populated area, he could peer from the thick stone ramparts at his prize possession, the source of his wealth, the next mountain.
This next mountain was striped in pattern and colours so lively, it was almost dizzying to look at it – salmon pink rock with white, taupe, and blooded stripes. It was all salt.’

Curioseaty leaves New York and says hello to the open road!

Mystic Seaport Aquarium – was our first port of call on entering Mystic Seaport was of course visiting the Aquarium. With the promise of some beluga whales Ms. Fraga was at the front of the queue to have a moment with with these lovely creatures and she was not to be disappointed! The whales were truly beautiful and enchanting. Other highlights of the visit were all the different species of jellyfish, the amazing corals and trying to spot frogs in the massive lily-paded pond – a lot of fun!

Mystic Seaport Research Library – kindly gave us a several hours of their time and knowledge and showed us round their vaults filled with all things maritime! From Harpoons to small carved finds both myself and Hondartza found items to spark our creative juices and want to crack on and get making! Many thanks to Maribeth, Paul and Louisa who showed us around the vaults and carefully and thoughtfully pulled some great documents and books for us to the read and reference during our visit – many thanks again for all your help.

Mystic Seaport – Mystic, Connecticut – is a fantastic recreated 19th century seafaring village as it would have appeared when in working use. With more than 60 restored historic buildings on show and a great in harbour ship, we were not disappointed!

The buildings in which many of these industries were housed were fantastic in themselves, the coppers over looking the harbour, complete with its ramp to roll its barrels straight out. The rope making building, long enough to make the ropes in house and walk the rope. I like the idea that the space itself becomes part of the production process, the ritual of production and the very human daily relationship that these makers had with the space they inhabited.

Padanaram Village – Dartmouth, Massachusetts – SALT – My new obsession! We were lucky enough to be staying just down the road from this small village, which was once a major salts works. My mind thought on salt is currently taking the form as this:

icebergs – ice – salt – salt structures – ice/salt once/still providing the same function

I feel many an object (and possibly a drawing/collage or two!) will be made around this thought process tapping into the salt industry, salt superstitions / traditions, salt & ice uses, iceberg structures, iceberg classification, different types of ice and salt. All in all, a lot to go at!

Photos of all of the above are to follow shortly! 

Curio•sea•ty in USA (part II)

So to catch up a whistle stop tour of what we have seen and been up to!

Opening night of ‘The Whales of August’ at Wayfarers – was fab to see all the work together, a strong four man/lady show, our work was presented alongside David (Scout) McQueen and Joy Drury Cox. Together with some watermelon mojitos we welcomed the public throughout the Wayfarers doors –

It was great to see the Fanciful Coquilles responding to the space, in a completely different way from their previous showing. This is something I want them to continue do; change, adapt and engage within the space they are placed.

The American Folk Museum – is a lovely intimate space showing some fantastic examples of American folk art – from quilting to artists books, it showcases a variety of mediums and topics and also boasts a lovely gift shop. Gift-shopping and Curioseaty are definitely going hand in hand on this research trip!

For me the range of materials used was the most interesting aspect of the collection – Folk and the domestic/the found object being part and parcel of the same family line; everything and anything being used to create something – the precious and non-precious, having no distinction.

Curioseaty learning – Printmaking

Our Curioseaty workshopping saw us spend a lovely Sunday over in Sheffield attending the Cupola Galley’s Print Making workshop.

Learning the basics of a press printer, we were inspired to buy our first Curioseaty asset – the Curioseaty printing press!

Not content with etching away at a plate, I as per usual asked the question; ‘What objects can I put through the press?’ well as it turns out, some! I managed to satisfy my urge with wooden fish forks and the string beginnings of my Salted Amulets.

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Hondartza’s lovely printing experiments have looked towards various diving suits –

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The press will definitely be getting some stick and much playing with over the next few months, so watch this space. Or come along to our morning workshop on the 24th July (11-2.30pm), when Hondartza will be taking up the printing rope and showing you how its’s done!

To book your place please visit

Rope-Work & Braided Adornments Workshop

The first of our workshop research started with a lovely introduction to ‘Rope-Work & Braided Adornments’ taught by Aimee Betts at The Folly, in Settle;

During the 2 hour workshop we learnt a square knotting technique, to produce a finished bracelet and viewed and discussed some great examples of Aimee’s Rope-work and Braiding.

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All of which just made me want to play and crack on with the technique – the perfect recipe for a workshop!

Warning: braiding & rope-work is highly addictive!

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