Sally Lees has been commissioned for the 2018 Vote 100 exhibition at Westminster
Our Directory Maker of the Week, Sally Lees, talks to us about getting into making, what inspires her and her favourite part of the making process.
Who or what got you into making?
When I was a child my family would buy me lots of felt tip pens and crayons so I could draw illustrations for the books I wrote. I wrote short stories and poems and sewed the paper together at the spine to make them into books. I always wanted to be an artist and the first creative job I dreamt of doing was to draw comic strips. I studied ceramics and sculpture on my degree course though and only decided to make jewellery after doing a short jewellery course after I had completed my degree.
Could you please tell us a bit about your work?
I mostly work with aluminium that has a highly polished surface which has been pre-anodised to accept industrial dyes. I resist print the aluminium with my illustrations then dye it a variety of vibrant colours. Each piece is unique as I print the aluminium by eye with rubber stamps made from my illustrations. The technique is versatile and allows me to work on commissions with specific imagery like the Camden skyline illustration for the Camden Business Award plaques.
What are your inspirations?
My main inspiration is nature as it has a multitude of colours and rich tapestry of patterns such as those found on petals, leaves, bird, and butterfly wings.
What is your favourite part of the making process?
I really enjoy mark making. Particularly drawing the illustrations and doing water colour paintings of the animals, flowers, birds, and butterflies I incorporate into my work. I also enjoy using dyes and resists to pattern aluminium. You only have an idea of what effects the processes will have on the surface before the aluminium is dyed and I am always pleasantly surprised by the results when the aluminium comes out of the dye baths.
What are you working on right now?
I am really excited about being commissioned by The Houses of Parliament to make a selection of jewellery celebrating women's suffrage for the Vote 100 exhibition in Westminster Hall this summer.
I was commissioned in 2016 to make a collection of jewellery to accompany and inspired by Mary Branson’s light sculpture entitled New Dawn. A new necklace has been commissioned with new colourways for the drop and stud earrings and pendant to be incorporated into the collection for 2018.
See Sally’s jewellery in Vote 100: Suffragettes and Propaganda at the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford until 4 September. Her New Dawn Suffragette Jewellery will also be featured and available to buy from the Vote 100 exhibition at Westminster Hall in 2018.