Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Tine & Lene Bladbjerg

I've just realised, this is now my fourth post from Cooper's Yard. Perhaps the title of the blog needs to change to reflect this. The Triangle is full of interesting people, but this is a definite hotspot! Upstairs from Allbone & Trimit in the Overspill, is the studio of two Danish sisters, Tine & Lene Bladbjerg. They have been ploughing their own creative furrows there since 2004; Tine in jewellery, and Lene in Graphic Art. Their space is a simple loft divided roughly in two by the staircase coming up from below, with easels on one side and metal tools on the other. However, the spatial divisions are only for practicalities. You get the sense that they  thrive on being in each other's company to the benefit of their work. Lene recalls how she hated working on her own at home, and Tine was equally disaffected by her daily commute from Southeast London to a studio in Clerkenwell.

Tine (on the left) & Lene

Although originally from Denmark, the sisters had grown up mostly in Belgium, so when Tine decided to study jewellery, it seemed just as logical to come and study in the UK as it would have been to return to Denmark. Also, there was just a better choice of art college here, added to the fact that in Denmark you are required to do years of apprenticeship in addition to studying. Tine began her studies in Rochester, and was soon followed by Lene, who came over to do a graphics course at London College of Printing in Elephant & Castle. Their choice of art colleges was to be a major reason for them both settling in SE postcodes, first in Forest Hill, and now, both with partners, in Crystal Palace, where they feel very at home, and enjoy life in such an artistic community.
Tine's work with precious metals and stones, steers a path between classic and modern. Rather than producing a fixed range, the designs are constantly evolving, with new designs produced for every craft fair or exhibition she is involved in. A busy month lies ahead preparing for a crop of shows in November in Great Missenden, Teddington, and Bury St. Edmunds, not to mention their very own open studios weekend of 2nd/3rd/4th November. In addition, Tine also offers courses in jewellery making for beginners or people with more experience, for which vouchers will be available at their open studios event.

A solid grounding in graphics is clearly apparent in Lene's work. Wordplay, calligraphy and repetition of form are all themes she plays with to great effect. From large canvases to tea towels and cards, the images are both humorous and striking. Recycling is another recurring theme. I particularly like the giant swirl of discarded scalpel blades, but Lene will use anything from paper clips to cigar bands. So not only being creative, but keeping Crystal Palace tidy too! Lene also shows at art and craft fairs, including Spitalfields Arts Market and Urban Art Brixton, while also selling through the Catherine Miller Gallery, and online via Etsy.

During the Open Studios weekend, the work of creative friends is also on show. There are the lovely decorative fish by Sara Drake, who used to live locally but now lives slightly further south. Australia to be precise.

Also exhibiting is Justine Smith who makes a range of bags, and who is based in not quite so distant Dorset.

Curtains, blinds and upholstery by Clare Dunne will also be on display.

Finally, although the girls don't come from a particularly artistic background, their father took up painting in retirement, and now produces a Crystal Palace calendar every year, of shopfronts and buildings on the Triangle. 2013 will be available from the studios during their open weekend, and will also be on sale at Bookseller Crow.

Tine & Lene Bladbjerg
The Overspill
4 Coopers Yard
020 8670 6639

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