“A book conservator with experience in bookbinding, which is ever increasing! Also a maker with a love of stationery!”
Maudie has been a work in progress for our blog. We visited her at The Book Hut back in the summer and again just before Christmas. Maudie has a real enthusiasm for her work, is very talented and has some inspired ideas with her stationery line….
Do you have positive /negative memories of art when you were at school?
I loved art at school, it was one of the few subjects I had confidence in – I wasn’t amazing, but I could get by with ease, hence looking forward to it.
What would your school report have said about your art?
Not enough research.
Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?
I attended Camberwell College of Arts, though this was for an MA in Book Conservation not art, so no, not really.
What or who has inspired you over the years?
I have worked with books since university, first as a bookseller, then working in publishing and finally moving into conservation, so I suppose I would say the book, as an object, has inspired me to get to where I am. My partner has always encouraged me to try new things, which made me seriously look into bookbinding and then conservation, with a belief that there was no reason why I couldn’t do it, so I guess he is an inspiration too.
What Artists do you admire?
Andrew Wyeth and Charles Reid for their watercolours, Augustus John and Leonardo Da Vinci for their line drawings, and Hannah Brown and Sayaka Fukuda for their designer bindings.
What is your favourite piece of work (yours or someone else)?
I’m not sure – there’s too much to choose from – Andrew Wyeth did a very fluid watercolour of a lobster that I have always liked, but I can’t remember the name.
What has been the highlight of your career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?
Setting up my own studio and taking on private conservation commissions. The first time I returned a book to a client was quite special – seeing how pleased they were with the finished book.
What have you sacrificed for your work?
Money and my weekends
What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?
Don’t be afraid to give something a try.
What advice would you give an aspiring artist/craftsperson?
The same – if you have an idea, give it a go and work towards it. Even if it’s a big idea, you can usually work towards something in a small way.
How to you start a piece of work?
With a lot of procrastination! I usually need a deadline to get me moving on a piece of work. Prior to the start of any job, I would have already provided the client with a condition report and treatment proposal, so I will work from that. Each project requires a different approach, so the start won’t usually be the same.
When is finished? When it is returned to the client and they are happy with it.
Do you have a Mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your work means to you?
Not sure, probably something from Star Wars.
Does music help with your creativity? If so, what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?
I love to have music on in the studio, it really helps, especially if I am the only one down at the huts as it keeps me company. I listen to different music for different things – if creating a binding, I like sing-along songs, if it’s detailed repair work, the music needs to be quieter and more mellow – jazz or classical.
What is your favourite medium to work with/in?
Leather and brown paper.
Not for ever, but when I got my first bonefolder, my father engraved it with my name and filled it with a red polish, so that is very special to me.
Are you living your dream through your work or do you have one – what do you strive for?
I guess I am living my dream, though there are a lot more work and financial worries to do deal with than I imagined there would be – but YES! Living the dream!!
Is there anything you avoid with your work?
At the moment I am working on a large French map, which is physically too big for The Book Hut! So size will probably come into what I avoid in the future. What a real pleasure to photograph Maudie in her gorgeous Book Hut, if you have not been to see her yet it’s a must… Maudie’s studio is at East Beach Studios (next to Splash Point). You can follow Maudie on facebook and she also writes a blog…