Saturday, 8 September 2012

Saturday Sunshine - Interview with Lu Smith

I  enjoyed my first interview so much that I'm following quickly with a second.  That and this is another CRAFTfest star.  This time Lu Smith of Handmade in Keswick.

As well as keeping down a day job and running her own fledgling business Lu has been keeping us CRAFTfesters in line this week re making the best use of promotional tools such as Wanelo, twitter and many more.  I have learned a hang of a lot from her Promotions Group this week and can feel a few blog posts coming out of that alone.

Anyways, to the interview - I asked Lu a few questions that she provided some enlightening answers to:

I see you went to Epsom School of Art and Design - did you always want to be an artist?
 I'm not sure that I was always conscious of it.  I was definitely a creative child, but I don't remember thinking about it that clearly.  Not until I was in my early teens, and overheard a teacher telling another girl that she ought to think about art school and I thought 'I'm not having that! I'll be the one doing that!' and I was.  The other girl is probably a solicitor or a heart surgeon now.

Would you recommend Art/Design School to any young aspiring artists out there?

I was at art school a lot of years ago, so I don't know what its like these days. It was great for developing creativity and not playing things safe.    You can't learn to be an Artist, but you can learn to be an artist.  You can learn to be an 'art - ist' in the general sense, even though its tricky to train to be a professional Artist in the same way as a doctor or teacher trains to do what they do.

Are you doing any jewellery/silversmith work now?

I haven’t done any silver smithing for quite some time, but I am always experimenting with different forms of jewellery making - mostly, very unconventional and non commercial - some seeing the light of day.

I love that you have been 'creating art from something else' since before upcycling became trendy - do you have a favourite upcyclable material/item?
Plastic milk bottles, telephone wires, old fabrics, anything with an interesting shape, colour or texture– you name it, I have a stash of it in my workroom (drives my husband nuts)

The stories of how your pieces come together really gives life to your art - have you always told the story of your piece?

I think that might be the art school influence, where the artist is always encouraged to explain the thinking and the processes behind a piece during critiques and peer reviews. 

Do you have a special source of inspiration?

I work a lot in sketchbooks and doodle and play all the time.  Sometimes I come across something I made a long time before, suddenly see it in a different light, and set off in an entirely new direction.

Is Handmade in Keswick your full time occupation?

Handmade In Keswick is quite a new business and doesn’t yet ‘wash its own face’, as they say, and I do have a separate, full time 9-5 job. However I spend at least twice the amount of hours at the business, either creating or promoting, so the answer rather depends on your definition of full time!

What are your hopes and dreams for Handmade in Keswick?
I think I may be too flaky to have a coherent answer to that question!

And quickfire:

What's your favourite art medium?
What's your favourite colour?
Both depend on what I’m working on at the time.

What's your favourite piece of music?
My tastes in music are rather varied, and change constantly.
I listen to BBC 6 music whilst I’m doing creative work‘real’ musicians, artists and creative types, who play a massive, intelligent variety of stuff, which I always find inspirational.

What's your favourite season of the year?
That definitely depends which year we’re talking about.  The last two winters in the UK have been very harsh, with temperatures of -20°C, snow, ice ,and bright sunshine and clear blue skies giving wonderful views across the Lake District National Park where I live. 
In contrast, the summers have been dark, cloudy, wet and miserable – I should add that I don’t usually mind the coolish summers here, but there are limits.
Spring and autumn are both seasons which have surprising days of beauty, and I can always recommend a little break in The Lakes in September.

You can also find Lu at her CRAFTfest stall.

It's the final day at CRAFTfest so jump on over there to get your unique handcrafted merchandise. 

And a look at some of Lu's work

Catherine at The MacsX


  1. Thanks for a great blog piece Catherine. I'm rather impressed with the slideshow at the end.
    Must catch up with my own blogging!

    1. Glad you like it - especially as you wrote most of it! Cx

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Debbie - hope CRAFTfest went well for you and see you in November Cx



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