A new collection of contemporary work crafted by local designers is launching at the Heath Robinson Museum shop this April, just in time for Easter and ahead of his 150th birthday on May 31st.
The Maker’s Art range showcases handmade jewellery, textiles and glass reflecting the imagination and enchantment of Heath Robinson’s work. The makers, who mostly live locally, change every six months, creating a distinctive and continually varied decorative art marketplace at the Heath Robinson Museum and on their online shop.
Tejal Kachalia – The GlassSeasons Collection
Is a stained-glass artist based in Harrow. Tejal creates colourful stained glass and also enjoys inspiring others to work in this art form. Her classes have become popular, especially with professional people wanting to make something with their hands after so much time spent indoors on computers during lockdowns. Tejal uses lead-free solder and any left-over pieces are used for mosaic art.
Her work draws inspirations from nature, spirituality, music, and humour believing that “art should be free flowing like a river.”
“I see Heath Robinson as a very interesting artist, his artwork depicting elaborate contraptions that are humorous and fun. He produced designs and illustrations for the local community and schools which is something for which I also share a deep passion and strive for as a fellow Harrow resident. Also, interestingly, the first book that I gave as a gift to my son, The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm was illustrated by Heath Robinson. Amongst other glass pieces featuring the natural world, I will be selling my “Dapper Duck” in the Heath Robinson Museum shop – a piece I’m particularly fond of due to the light-hearted fun it exudes, aligning closely with the tone of Heath Robinson’s works of the day,” says Tejal.
Jane Prentice – The Cogs and Wheels Collection
Is based in Pinner and creates exquisitely coloured and textured jewellery in gold and silver, precious, semi-precious stones and pearls. She is inspired by nature and her naturalistic pieces often include hammer marks, oxidisation and etching. She also creates intriguing ‘storytelling’ pieces: tiny figures ‘living’ in jewellery, as in her “people earrings” pictured right. Her Heirloom ring won the metalwork prize awarded by the Victoria and Albert Museum in their competition “Inspired by”.
Jane was an early supporter of the museum and continues to raise funds through The Friends of Heath Robinson Museum and The Maker’s Art. Existing jewellery can be upcycled into new designs as part of her sustainable practice. Jane has supported a variety of charities through her sales and is currently fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
“Heath Robinson has always been a hero of mine as I love his wacky inventions and illustrations for some of my favourite fairy tales. I was absolutely delighted to create the inaugural jewellery range for the opening of the museum in 2016. The Maker’s Art is an inspired idea, to both celebrate Heath Robinson and involve local makers from the area where he lived.”
Jane Anne Ryan – The JannaArt Collection
Is a textile and fine artist working at Whitefriars Studios in Harrow, London.
Jane often paints in watercolour, specialising in silk painting and batik. Two of Jane’s hand painted silk scarves have been printed onto silk by the Silk Bureau in Worcestershire. These pieces can be seen as either ‘wearable’ art or as paintings in their own right. The designs at the Heath Robinson Museum depict views of Hitchin Lavender fields, which she regularly visits to draw, paint and collect lavender.
Jane is very mindful of sustainability, so nothing is wasted, and any material left over from the printing process is made into scrunchies. The scarves are presented in luxury protective boxes for the owner to keep and ensure sustainability of the scarf for years to come.
“It is a privilege and joy to be able to see examples of Heath Robinson’s hilarious and yet quite logical inventions in a large space dedicated to his lifetime’s work. As a watercolour artist I love his illustrations of fairy tales. Touching and beautifully painted, they demonstrate his immense skill in this medium. (My favourite is ‘The Fairy’s Birthday’). I am looking forward to my work being part of The Maker’s Art range surrounded by his work,” says Jane Anne Ryan.
Charlotte Doe – The Circle & Dash Collection
Is the sculptor turned designer and maker behind the company Circle & Dash. Established in 1998, Circle & Dash make unique jewellery in her Surrey studio from exquisitely detailed papers that have been decorated by hand. Charlotte uses a variety of printing, layering and gilding techniques such as block printing and lino cut prints. The papers are painted and printed with acrylic paint, then sections of the hand-painted papers are used to compose the different designs, making each piece slightly different from the next.
Each piece is finished with a resistant lacquer, to ensure that the surface is well protected and the products are both durable and aesthetically pleasing. They are also light to wear, making them a popular choice for many, particularly those who prefer larger pieces.
“Heath Robinson’s drawings are fun and quirky. I love the creativity, imagination, and attention to detail in them. I hope that Circle and Dash’s jewellery range with its sculptural shapes and finely detailed patterning will be a fitting complement to the museum.”