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Meeting Glasgow's Creatives: Chantal Allan (Warped Textiles)

Having never been to The Briggait until a couple of weeks ago, I have now visited no less than three times in the space of fourteen days and my latest trip there was to photograph Chantal Allan (Warped Textiles).  Chantal creates fabrics for soft furnishings and accessories and is inspired by nature and maths, especially geometry.

Weaving Loom and Wool Glasgow.jpg

It is always a wee bit strange turning up at someone’s studio to photograph them, after all, with the exception of a few emails, everyone I have photographed for this project have been perfect strangers.  What has been heartening though is that everyone has been friendly and welcoming and most importantly in Chantal’s case, provided tea and biscuits upon arrival.  Cheers.

Chantal and I blethered away about work, family, weaving, photography, visiting Harris… and whatever else came to mind.  It is always great to meet someone for the first time and just be able to make small talk. It really makes a big difference when it comes to photographing them.  Just knowing that the person is comfortable and relaxed makes the process so much easier for both parties involved.

Chantal Allan Warped Textiles.jpg

A large part of the shoot was with Chantal working at her loom.  I am still trying to keep these photographs as natural as possible and this can often mean a lot of images that are unusable for one reason or another.  In Chantal’s case, this was due to the speed she worked at the loom.  It was often difficult to keep up and focus correctly, I really had to try and predict what Chantal was going to do and time each shot.  Not easy at all.

Wool Bobbins Glasgow

Chantal and I knew that some of these images may be used on her Instagram feed as part a #MeetYourMaker promotion so I tried where possible to make sure the images could be easily cropped to a square format if required.

This was a great little shoot.  When I started this project I wanted to try and show the enthusiasm that creative people have for their chosen output and this was abundantly clear with Chantal.   

Remember to check out Warped Textiles website at www.warped-textiles.com.

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Meeting Glasgow's Creatives: Cressa McLaren

Another week passes and my Meeting Glasgow’s Creatives project continues to grow.  It has been difficult for me to keep up with the number of people getting in contact – so if you have contacted me previously I haven’t got back, please contact me again and I will definitely be in touch.

This week I met Cressa McLaren at her studio at the Briggait where she creates all manner of glass pieces including tableware, lighting, her 'Glass Meadow' collection, as well as one-off commission work.

Cressa McLaren at work Glasgow Glass Artist

From the outset I knew this shoot was going to be enjoyable one.  Cressa and I blethered away as if we had known each other for ages.  We spoke about her times as a glass artist in Kirkcudbright and now Glasgow.  We both moaned and enthused about our respective children in equal measure (as parents tend to do).  I was also lucky to see a commission Cressa was working on and we spoke about how such a piece is created.

Meeting and photographing so many different creative people has really been great fun.  Everyone who has participated has been genuinely passionate about their work and all have welcomed me generously.

CRessa Mclaren Glass Meadow Collection

That being said, walking in to so many different situations with minimal photography gear (i dont even bring a flash!) can be very uncomfortable.  I am trying to avoid posed images as much as possible, preferring people to work as they normally would, with me working circling around them.  This has positives and negatives.

Firstly, the lack of a flash means my subjects have been relaxed and natural when I am in there studio - I do not know why, but a lot of people seem to tense up when a flash is used.  Also, I feel flash makes it difficult for visual artists to concentrate on work, thus making my presence more obvious.  Working with no flash has really allowed me to ease up when it comes to working at higher ISO in order to compensate for lack of light.  Many of my shots are taken at 800 or 1250 ISO, something I would previously went to great leaps to avoid.  Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer to be using flash but sometimes working within these restrictions really gets your brain in gear.

Remember to check out Cressa's work at www.cressamclaren.com.

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Meeting Glasgow's Creatives: Jane Gardiner

What has been great about my Meeting Glasgow’s Creatives project is that I have been able to visit studios across this city that I would never see otherwise. This week I met Jane Gardiner at Wasps Studios just off Alexandra Parade.  Jane paints from her studio in Wasps while working as a GP three days a week.

During our shoot, Jane and I chatted about her love of museums and how she often gains inspiration from them.  I noticed a lot of Jane’s work included elements such as skeletons, animals, and butterflies, and I wondered if Jane’s medical knowledge informed her art as well as her love of museums.

Costumes_in_the_studio

Anyway, Jane and I agreed to try some portrait style / head shots for use on her website.  Luckily, we were able to take advantage of the lovely natural light coming in from the window in her studio.

As seems to be the norm for me I was struck by a bout of minor clumsiness again and managed lean in oil paint when I was taking a shot.  This was followed only seconds later by me knocking a hat to the ground from Jane’s collection of costumes.

Sketches_Butterflies

Remember to check out Jane's artwork at www.janegardiner.co.uk.

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Meeting Glasgow's Creatives: Dilyana Hristova

To be honest this shoot should really have been a disaster.  After walking up umpteen flights of stairs to meet Dilyana, I was so out of breath I could barely say hello.  Things were even worse as I was about to leave when I attempted to exit via a cupboard door in the hall.  Not embarrassing at all!

Despite my lacking the ability to talk and clearly looking the worse for wear, due to having to walk up so many stairs, Dilyana made me feel very welcome asking if I would like a ‘tea, coffee or cider’.  At 1pm.  In theafternoon.  The life of a twenty-something is clearly more leisurely than I am used to these days.  Sadly, I had to decline.

Prior to our meeting, I researched read some of Dilyana’s poetry and short stories on her website (to try and get an insight in to her style of writing and possibly her personality).  Dilyana and I also exchanged ideas in the days leading up to meeting each other and it was great to arrive knowing the type of images Dilyana wanted.  This made our shoot fly by and we were able to get what we wanted relatively quickly all using natural light from the enormous windows in the house.

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