Pettifor & Wakeling

“It is liberating to just focus on the aesthetics and researching something exciting!”

Tess Wakeling and Kristian Pettifor didn’t know each other when they star ted this project.Kristian had seen Tess’ handmade paper lampshades and connected to the clean lines, intricacy and the surface texture within her work. His own handmade furniture shares similar aesthetic qualities. Two Make opened the oppor tunity for new collaborations: Kristian emailed Tess suggesting they might work together.

The opportunity came at a good time for Tess. She had been thinking about different ways in which she might apply her design and making skills, prompted by the advice received as a participant on the Crafts Council Hothouse Scheme for emerging makers:

“We have been taking about future directions our work can go, and although at the moment my work is wrapped around a lampshade shape, I’m always open to using texture, colour and pattern in other ways. It seemed like an interesting idea to do a project with Kristian, even though it was completely out of my comfort zone. I have never done a collaboration project before.”

Their decision to work together was a “leap of faith”. They experienced a sense of relief at the end of the first shared studio session when they realised they worked in similar, exacting ways, shared a similar style and design, and had the same approach to finding ways to have a constructive conversation.

“It has been a good project to do because it has been about going back to ideas. It is really freeing to go back to the drawing board and have a play.”

Their collaboration combines wood and paper. They aimed to draw together the different materials in a design that would show off the textures of both surfaces.

Tessa cuts, scores and rips fibrous handmade papers; Kristian overlays, cuts and chamfers the wood, treating with lye to reveal different qualities of the grain.

“It is liberating to just focus on the aesthetics and researching something exciting!”

A challenge of their collaboration has been how to work with light as the third element of their work, developing the reflective, translucent, and tonal ranges of the materials:

“One of the things to incorporate was a textured surface that the light would hit in different ways. Tessa uses light to create depth in the surface of the paper, and we thought about doing the same with grain in the wood. Our work has a key design specification: its visual aesthetics must be pleasing wherever the light falls.”

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