For the love of Spoons with Ann Povey

Home & Giftware magazine shines a spotlight on one of our favourite crafters, Ann Povey, first spotted at the British Craft Trade Fair almost 10 years ago. Ann has a body of work that explores childhood memories, domestic simplicity and nostalgia. She describes her craft in her own words.

At the age of 18 I left my family farm in Lincolnshire to train as a nurse and worked for many years in various hospitals, nursing homes and private care.
Art and making was something I had enjoyed doing but hadn’t fulfilled my desire, so at the age of 41 I embarked on a completely new road and began a part time 2 year free Access to Art and Design Course for adults run by the Art School in Lincoln.

I carried on nursing and had three children and now an Art course to do. I loved it! It changed the way I saw things, made me reconsider all my previous beliefs and prejudices. We learnt so much, we were taught from 9 am to 5 pm.

When my two years were done, my tutors suggested I do a BA in Contemporary Crafts. I was daunted but excited and so I gave up nursing and became a fully-fledged Art Student; it was glorious. We were taught things I didn’t know existed and learnt how to develop work, resolve issues, problem solve, design, draw and best of all; play with numerous materials. I specialised in Kiln Formed Glass and Metalwork and in my final year I combined the two to create wall hangings, garden sculptures and chandeliers.

After graduation I developed my own practice working from a studio above Harding House Gallery on Steep Hill in Lincoln. I was exhibiting in group shows and had a few galleries, I was also a member of the HHG co operative, which was brilliant for the first few years but then I got the role of Technician in the Glass and Ceramics Department at the University, which was then De Montfort University. I then spent the best 18 years of my working life, the role developed over time and I ended up in the Maker Lab In the School of Art and Design as the Senior Technician for Glass, Ceramics, Jewellery and Metalwork. I completed my MA in Design at the University in 2005 and this changed the direction of my work. I now specialise in hand-built ceramics using the coiling method of metalwork, using copper and Sterling silver and found objects.

Currently my work reflects those childhood memories when life was simple, domestic and full of having to improvise. My memories have formed the way I think and feel and the way in which I work. Having spent 18 years working as a technician I have learnt from the tutors, the students and all the processes and techniques we taught them, all of this has influenced and inspired my work.

The found objects I work with, small and insignificant, are the physical aspect of my childhood memories. Tools and utensils, the things we use everyday are often taken for granted. I have learnt not to discard simple objects and not to disregard simple emotions; all have a place and a story to tell. I endeavour to give them a new purpose, a new role as part of a piece of Art and send them on a new journey that may hopefully prompt an emotional response.

My first trade fair was in 2016 at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate and that was the beginning of my love affair with the spoons. I still stock them to the Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery in Salts Mill. I enjoy the whole process of creating them, finding the handles and creating the spoon bowls, enamelling day is the best. By pushing the layers and colours as far as they go I can develop intriguing combinations that capture the imagination.
Each spoon is unique, no two handles are the same and each spoon bowl has its own combinations of colour. Because of this uniqueness retailers love them, their buying public love to collect them, so come back again and again. My ceramic vessels are equally as unique with layers of glazes built up in the same way with lost and found lids and attachments.

In 2020 we decided to move out of the City of Lincoln and moved into a small village in the Lincolnshire countryside. A new studio was built in the garden, which is idyllic.

In recent years various political decisions, the pandemic and the economic climate has inevitably made the buying public very cautious. People are still buying but it is considered, they do want unique, well made British craft and art as opposed to easily accessible throwaway consumerism. They are looking at sustainability, reused and recycled materials, they are more aware of waste and the effects that have on our planet. This I believe bodes well for Makers and Artists who consider these facts and their work is often more valued because of it. There have always been ups and downs and resurgences in the Art and Design world.

During lockdown galleries and shops closed their doors, which meant there was little or no income for Artists. Artists and Makers were saved by the Artist Support Pledge, a wonderful initiative developed by Matthew Burrows. The pledge, on Instagram was originally developed for 3 months but it is still going strong, we sold work through Instagram and when we sold a certain amount we pledged to buy another artists’ work for 20 % of what we had earned.

During my time in the Art and Design World I have encountered, worked with and been inspired by many wonderful people who have made a difference to the way I think and feel.
Ceramicist Peter Moss, who sadly passed away recently, was my tutor for the first year of my BA, he became a friend and mentor and I worked with him on many school and community projects. He was a Master of Ceramics, form, colour, construction, glazes and lustres. He was influenced by many different colours, signs and symbols from archaic art forms and abstract landscapes.

My current favourites, artists I have admired for years and some who are relatively new. Samantha Bryans @sbrainy creates wonderful handmade fairies, which I have loved since I first saw them. Craig Underhill Ceramics, contemporary artist, Parastoo Ganjei, Rosa Harradine – a brush and broom maker – another ceramicist, Jacqui Ramrayka and @Rust_bucket_workshop, which creates wonderful, imaginative, characters from found, lost and collected objects.


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