Jehane Boden Spiers is a highly respected Designer, Artists' Agent, & Consultant. 

 

Founder of "The Anna-Maria Desogus Memorial Awards" at Brighton University 3-D Design 

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Friday
Sep292017

FLORA GOES SWIMMING

DIP YOUR TOE IN! A blog in two parts - PART 2

Contemporary stained glass artist Flora Jamieson has a love of swimming which is infectious! Specifically wild swimming. I was curious to hear more about Flora's personal story behind this bracing activity which connects her both to her environment, family, and childhood memories. More recently, Flora has self-published a popular book on wild swimming, full of tips and inspiring quotes, illustrated by Gemma Koomen.

See my previous blog post for more details and read on to learn more about Flora!

Where was the first place you remember wild swimming?

"I’ve always lived close to water.  When I was very young, my parents ran a pub in Berkshire with a garden that backed onto a river.  My sister and I would spend hours wading and wallowing in it, looking for caddisfly larvae and pieces of old broken china (known as “mudlarking”).

 Later, when I was 7, we lived in a house that had a long garden which backed on to the Kennet and Avon Canal, and so that became my playground. I would spend afternoons on the sitting on the bank, fishing for minnows and feeding the ducks, coots and moorhens.  It wasn’t really the done thing to swim in it, but we did anyway when it was too hot not to.  The smell of meadowsweet and pondweed on a warm summer’s day always takes me back there.

As I grew older, I sought out places to live by the sea: first in Brighton while I was at Sussex University, then Whitstable and now Bridport in Dorset, where I’m fortunate enough to have both the sea and freshwater swimming places on my doorstep".

 

 

Which is your favourite quote in the book?

"The last quote on the back page:

“Our strength comes from that magic, from the earth and the sky, from the fire and the water. Fly high, swim deep, give back to the earth what she gives you...” by Juliet Marillier.   

It sums up everything I feel about wild swimming.  I love the message about giving back, and we try to do a 2 minute beach (or river) clean, wherever we are swimming (see @2minutebeachclean on Instagram)."

 

 

Was it something that you also did as a child with your family? 

"My mum has always loved swimming in the sea, and so from a young age I have shared her enthusiasm for it, and I have hopefully passed the same passion on to my two girls.  As a family it is an activity we all enjoy, so our holidays often revolve around swimming.  This summer we spent 2 weeks driving around Northern Spain in our campervan finding some wonderful rivers, pools and lakes to swim in.  As much as we enjoy seeing the girls grow in confidence in the water, we are also careful to teach them about the risks and dangers involved."

 

 

Which new location would you choose for your next wild swim? 

"So many places it’s hard to know where to begin.  I’d definitely like to do more swimming in Scandinavia – we spent a week in a cabin by a lake in Sweden last year and swimming with my family in the midnight sunset was such a wonderful experience. As much as location is important, when I think of swims that have been really memorable, it’s often the company I’m with that makes for a really magical swim."

 

 

Follow Flora's work on Instagram

 

Blog post (c) Jehane Boden Spiers

Monday
Sep112017

WILD SWIMMING

DIP YOUR TOE IN!   A blog in two parts - PART 1

"Wild Swimming" is written by contemporary stained glass artist Flora Jamieson and illustrated by Gemma Koonen. Flora's designs are inspired by graphic design, the natural world, organic forms and geometric patterns. Gemma Koomen is a freelance illustrator and artist based in wild Northumberland, inspired by nature, nostalgia and simplicity. Flora recently invited Gemma to collaborate on creating this book to accompany a talk on wild swimming which Flora was due to give at Sisterhood Camp Retreats

  Flora Jamieson in her studio

     

 

Flora's motivation behind producing the book was to share the joy and magic that she feels when swimming outdoors and Gemma's work is driven "by the desire to capture little moments of calm and joy". I can't think of a better combination. 

"Wild Swimming" is clearly a meeting of minds and shows that collaborations can lead to great things. As with many things which are done from the heart, the response to this book has been fantastically positive, with lots of people buying a copy for themselves and one for a friend. It is no surprise that it has sold out twice already - keep your eyes peeled for a potential reprint and you can buy a giclee print of Gemma's front cover illustration

Beautifully presented in a square format,"Wild Swimming" is printed on 100% recycled paper and full of practical guidance, resources, and advice on how to stay not only safe but warm. Flapjacks are a must and important advice is given on being mindful that conditions can change from minute to minute and that you should always swim with others. 

 

     

 

Illustrated throughout with a sensitive selection of inspirational quotes and delicate illustrations by Gemma, Flora's description of her first outdoor swim of the year, with her daughters, is an insight into her love of the experience which is joyful to read. 

"It is like the most beautiful madness. So cold that it is impossible not to squeal as we submerge our waists, shoulders, heads....afterwards we are back on the beach, wrapped in towels, not feeling cold at all, but every inch of us alive and tingling and wishing we had stayed in just a little longer. I look at my girls and see how they are shining with the accomplishment, their hair salty and tangled, their eyes bright and wild".


       

 

For me personally, Flora & Gemma's book has encouraged me to take better care of myself and has changed my swimming routine for good. I try to swim in the sea more often and "brave" the waters of the outdoor pool at the local gym every time that I swim, and am determined to see this through during the winter months, for as long as I can at least! As Flora writes "regular exposure to cold water can increase the white blood cell count which leads to a more efficient immune system. It also improves your circulation, is mood enhancing, and increases your metabolism". 

2017 was a summer where we mostly stayed at home, in Brighton, but the over-arching best memory was when visiting Norfolk for a few days, my partner and two children all braved the waters of the North Sea at Holkham Gap on a windy day. I can still hear the laughter and picture the smiles as we all bobbed about in the freezing waters, "every inch of us alive and tingling" and afterwards "wishing we had stayed in just a little longer".

Dip your toe in and enter the world of wild swimming...can you hear the flow of current enticing you? 

"Climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along" Robert J Hastings


     

Part 2 coming soon! Jehane interviews Flora Jamieson about Wild Swimming

Blog post (c) Jehane Boden Spiers, September 2017 

Thursday
Aug312017

HOUSE OF CARDS

 HOUSE OF CARDS IS BEING TRANSLATED INTO GERMAN!
 
EXCITING NEWS! Our lovely book is being translated into German. As the main author & Wonder Woman creator of the book, artist Sarah Hamilton, says of the original UK edition "Grab your copy of HOUSE of CARDS today - 'tis a super splendid bestselling book celebrating the very best in contemporary greeting card design".

Published by Pavilion Books and Sold in Foyles, Waterstones, Tate books and lots of independent shops, Sarah has been promoting the book brilliantly and the number of images showing people photographed around the world with their personal copy of the House of Cards book is growing quickly! Follow the story of the book on Instagram and you can order it on Amazon

After working as a young designer in Vienna, I can't wait to see it in German ๐Ÿ™Œ๐ŸปโœจIch freue mich sehr!

    Images - Sarah Hamilton Prints, Jehane's Licensing Chapter, Jehane's Christmas Damask design 
I've been so thrilled with the response to my chapter on licensing designs, one of my first steps towards independent mentoring and consultancy for artists. I am really enjoying this new side to my work, covering everything from branding and portfolio reviews to dispelling the myths of licensing. Do drop me a line if you might be interested and I'll say if I think I can help!

"Thank you to all the contributions of HOUSE of CARDS for your generosity of spirit. The positivity, enthusiasm, and encouragement that comes through is infectious and inspiring...

"I bought it especially for the chapter on Licensing...

 

    Blog Post (c) Jehane Boden Spiers 2017
Saturday
Aug052017

ARCTIC ADVENTURE

AN ARCTIC ADVENTURE WITH BEATRICE VON PREUSSEN

I have recently had the pleasure of collaborating with artist Beatrice von Preussen in my capacity as Mentor & Consultant. Beatrice's love for the Natural World is highly evident in her portfolio as is her passion to inspire the next generation of conservationists to engage and value the world around us.

Artist in Residence at Battersea Zoo, Beatrice runs nature inspired workshops for children, also working with Dr Lil Stevens, an expert in Palaoezoic Palaeobotany at the Natural History Museum, looking at the relationship between art, nature, and science and how artists and scientists can benefit from working alongside one another.

Beatrice's recent trip to the Arctic, alongside a thirty-strong group of artists & scientists, has included three weeks sailing to Svalbard, on board the "Antigua", undoubtedly the trip of a lifetime.

I have been captivated by following Beatrice's visual diaries on social media and met up with Beatrice on her return to find out more about the stories behind her captivating and memorable photographic moments.

Read on to learn more about Beatrice's Arctic Adventure!

 

How did you end up visiting the Arctic circle?!

"Having long been fascinated by the north I was awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust grant to travel to Svalbard and take part in an expedition in the high arctic. I sailed around the archipeligo in a Tall Ship with 30 other artists and scientists from all over the world".

 
What is your most memorable/moving moment of the trip?

"One of our sound artists had a hydrophone which we dropped down over the side of the ship, we heard the most extraordinary sounds like early Dr Who sound effects and we thought that the microphone had gone wrong. Our amazing nature guide revealed that we were actually hearing the bearded seals singing to one another. And then we heard whale song. When I went to bed I realised that I could hear this wonderful concert from my bunk, through the metal hull of the ship".


What was the most surprising / unexpected part/discovery?

"During the time I was in Svalbard the sun never set, it just went round and round in the sky. I thought that this was going to be a problem but to my relief, although it was strange, I managed to sleep alright and didn't go mad! I stayed in Longyearbyen for a month after the expedition and experienced the brief Arctic summer. Quite suddenly vivid green moss was covering the grey scree slopes and thousands of exquisite tiny flowers popped up all over the place".


What was the most challenging?

"I've been carrying out a fossil hunt with the micropaleontologists at the Natural History Museum. I wanted to get to a specific place to collect some limestone rocks but the weather was very bad on the only day It was possible to go. We had quite a hairy journey there, 14 miles in a small boat bumping over the huge waves. I was sitting on the side clinging on for dear life, I was terrified I was going to be pinged off the boat by a bump and you don't survive for long in that icy sea".

What was the most rewarding?

"Spending such an intense time with a diverse group of people all doing individual projects was incredibly rewarding. Everyone worked hard alongside one another sharing knowledge and ideas. Some good connections were made and collaborations seeded".

Which is your favourite piece of artwork or sketch etc from the trip?

"I made some drawings of Arctic Terns when they were attacking me, they are only quick sketches but I'm looking forward to working them up into some big paintings".
      
 
If you could pick just three of the photographs to sum up your amazing experience - which 3 would it be?

"This thing which looks like a mushroom is the inner ear bone of a seal. It is beautiful, surprising, interesting and a little bit sad".
"Me fossiling. I felt so happy and privileged to be having an experience I'd always dreamed of in a place I never imagined that I would be able to visit. I was also delighted to have actually found some fossils for the first time in my life despite years spent hacking the cliffs at Lyme Regis."
"Sailing. Silently gliding past icebergs in a beautiful ship powered by the wind".
 
You can read more about Beatrice's adventures on her blog and see more pictures on instagram.
Beatrice Von Preussen is an engaging and inspirational artist, most definitely one to watch!
You can see more work on her website 

 

Sunday
Jul162017

INDIGOWARES

INDIGOWARES IS FOR THE MOST FREE SPIRITED BOHEMIAN EXISTENCE.

I first worked with the British textile designer Lisa Spencer as an independent art licensing agent and have followed her prolific work ever since. Lisa is an experienced textile designer for the fashion and surface pattern industries. More recently, I have followed the birth of both her two children and indeed, her latest new baby Indigowares.

  

The work that Lisa creates through this new endeavour has an instrinsic beauty of both process and design. Unique hand-made items are created through a labour of love, drawing on Japanese Shibori techniques. The results are fresh, positive, hand-made artworks which tie in with one of THE biggest trends of recent years, and indeed currently; INDIGO.

Indigowares is beautifully presented on Lisa's Instagram account and it goes to show that consistent visual promotion does indeed go a long way to building positive association with a brand. I cannot see Indigo objects without thinking of Lisa's work! 

Self-motivated, individual endeavours such as Lisa's are the back-bone to the creative industries and it's so important to recognise and applaud the dedication and efforts which it takes to create individual, unique, quality artworks such as these.

On that note, I am sharing Lisa's story behind her endeavour, expressed in her own words...

 

"As a stay-at-home Mum bringing up two young children, I had been a textile designer previously but had put it aside to wrangle my kids. One day I realised that everything was so mass-produced that in short there was hardly anything unique made in a traditional way with a contempory edge. I was concerned that customers wouldn’t understand the process involved in getting to these beautiful textiles....But I realised if I drew on my knowledge and experience as a printed textile designer then I could create a product that came from the old Japanese techniques of Shibori, giving the textiles rich elegance and then adding a clean geometric twist that would look fresh and modern in todays world. I wanted my designs to give you an overwhelming desire to touch and wear them. It turned out, the road was more difficult than I imagined. I found it really hard to get my chemistry right with the indigo vat, it has taken me a while to master the dye pot and understand the whole process of working with a natural dye like Indigo. But I have cracked it! And fallen in love with the process and the ever surprising and exciting results.

 

 

    

 

It will always be a constant balancing act as a mother to be able to give my children what they need day to day at the same time as trying to build and run a business and be elbow deep in indigo dye a lot of the time!

I would like to have the best of both worlds because ultimately I am doing it to be able to see my children grow up first hand.

 

     

 

Through it all, I released the first products and the response has been absolutely amazing. The pure love from everyone who sees the unique one of a kind textile designs makes me feel insanely proud of how far I have come.

I think ultimately we’d all like to shop in a place that speaks to our hearts and desires.

 

   

I AM THRILLED THAT EVERYONE WHO USES MY INDIGOWARES KNOWS THAT THEY ARE GETTING THE MOST SUMPTUOUSLY HAND DYED ONE OF A KIND PIECE IMAGINABLE"

 

   

 

Blog Post (c) Jehane Boden Spiers, 2017