I am.....

a wire & word twister, forgotten thing finder, magic dust collector, bricoleur, creature maker, urban archaeologist, beachcomber, magpie & mudlark.

My earliest memories are of finding and picking up random objects (something which no doubt exacerbated my parents) forever filling my pockets with stones and shells, feathers and bones and broken china pieces.

Nothing has really changed, I still pick up rusty washers in car parks and squashed bottle tops from the side of the road, however nowadays I make my own clothes with plenty of pockets for collecting!



I make.....

curious creatures, whimsical wonders, assemblages and artefacts.

My practice is built around combining wire-working with discarded, broken, stained and redundant objects; the detritus of human habitation.

I began working with wire in 1992. I was studying a diploma at Newcastle-under-Lyme College of Art and was really struggling to draw my ideas down on paper so began 'drawing' with wire instead.

I moved to Hereford a couple of years later, to study HND Design Crafts, and started going down to the river Wye beach, whenever it was low, to collect broken glass 'pebbles', driftwood and potsherds to add to my wire work.

My favourite wire to use is iron and steel although I do use brass, copper, silver and galvanised wires too! I manipulate the wire using the first pair of pliers I ever bought (I've amassed many more pairs since but none of them ever feel quite as right) Most of my wire work is shaped and bound by hand but occasionally I solder or braze the joins.

The creatures are made by applying layers of paper onto a wire form. I use vintage papers from broken and damaged books (as well as monopoly money and postage stamps) and use a simple flour & water paste to attach the paper strips. The paper, once dry, is finally sealed with a water based varnish to protect it from damp and damage.



I find.....

objects at car boot sales, antique's fairs and charity shops as well as in rivers and on 'adventures'. Repurposing and curating the 'finds' so that they take on new identities and forms.

The bell (above left) is the first object that I remember finding and never wanting to let go of. I was 5 years old and scrabbling around in the dirt of a local allotment, looking for broken china and buttons, when the bell popped up still with its pea inside. It is known as a crotal bell (or rumble bell) and would have been one of many attached to a horse's harness to warn of the approach of a sleigh or carriage. It is still my most prized possession. 



I collect.....

rusty metal, potsherds, driftwood, ghost net, berries and leaves, bones, vintage baubles, ephemera, old gnarly nails, knitting needles and games pieces.

Many of these objects end up being in my work but a few become too precious to part with!




This lovely video by R&A Collaborations gives some idea about me, how I work and how small my workshop is..... 

Toys for Grown-Ups - Anya Keeley from R&A Collaborations on Vimeo.