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Justine Ashbee of Native Line

Justine Ashbee is one of those talents we've been circling around for years — first coveting a fine, copper-threaded special-edition light she did with Iacoli & McAllister, then ogling her beautiful wall hangings in stories like our own home tour with Totokaelo's Jill Wenger and outlets like Maryam Nassir Zadeh. But we've never had a proper introduction to the onetime Seattle-based artist — now living in Brighton, England — until today.
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English Artist Henry Jackson Newcomb

While many of his peers are busy creating digital landscapes of shapes and planes that mimic three dimensions, the young Norwich, England–based artist Henry Jackson Newcomb makes sculptural assemblages that — owing in part to the aforementioned trend — often look inspired by digital ones. Yet by incorporating elements like chunks of concrete, panels painted with unfinished-looking brushstrokes, and haphazardly taped rings of rubber tubing, Newcomb introduces an imperfect rawness that keeps his work squarely rooted in the physical world.
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Ferris McGuinty, Artist

If you go looking on the internet for information about a Cornwall-based maker named Ferris McGuinty, chances are you won't find much. Yes, McGuinty is on the younger side (we were born in the same year, so at least that's what I'm telling myself) but even more than that: Ferris McGuinty didn't exist until 2009. The name was merely a pseudonym the artist took on to allow himself the freedom to make work that was unlike anything he'd done before. Having graduated from art school in the early 2000s, McGuinty previously made work that was smaller in scale, tiny, almost architectural-like models. As a respite from that, he began gathering found objects — "I'm quite a prolific hoarder," he says proudly — and marrying them with elements of his own creation to make the kind of assemblage objects you see at the top of this post. "Ferris came about because because the work really had that day-off vibe. McGuinty somehow naturally followed suit. But it allowed me a sense of detachment from my own work. I could be much more playful and not worried about what direction it went in."
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12 Dozen Egg Cups

Here at Sight Unseen, we have a pretty strict bias against kitsch. But every so often we stumble upon a project that, while somewhat gimmicky, injects so much fun into the daily routine and has such roots in formal and material investigation, that it’s impossible to deny its utter lovability. We discovered such a project from the Leicester, England–based creative duo 12 Dozen Egg Cups, whose initial outing to a pottery class at a local community center developed into a challenge to repurpose the ubiquitous egg cup 144 different ways in the space of 12 months.
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Anthony Gerace’s Seaside Towns Index

A few months ago, the London artist Anthony Gerace made the blog rounds with a series of paper collages sourced from 1960s-era magazines. But arresting as those were, when we went snooping on his website, we found something we liked even better: Gerace’s photography work, which includes The Seaside Towns Index we’re featuring today. It is, as Gerace describes it, “a collection of landscape photographs, contextual still-lifes and portraits of seaside towns in England, showing the fading grandeur, disarray and chaos that's in them, but also the quietly compassionate and strange elements that are uniquely theirs.” We asked Gerace to tell us a little bit more about the project.
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Milena Silvano on Intelligent Clashing

Rhiannon Gilmore's posts on Intelligent Clashing often begin with a tiny nugget of an idea — a pattern, a color, a shape — that after a bit of research flourishes into a loose, visually driven narrative. In her most recent post, though, the nugget wasn't so much tiny as nearly floor-length: a beautifully draped woven silk poncho trimmed with fringe and edged with reclaimed and antique textiles. The poncho was the creation of Milena Silvano, a UK stylist-turned-slow fashion enthusiast who's become something of an obsession for Gilmore in recent weeks: "For some time I’d been wondering: Where were the UK designers producing small, slow collections like those coming out of the States? I was thinking along the lines of ERMIE or Wiksten — collections that hold the personalities and the passions of the women who make them and are small enough to feel truly intimate and exclusive, in a warm wholesome way. I’d started to think there just wasn’t anyone working in this way here in the UK, and then I found Milena Silvano."
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Rivet Lights by David Irwin: Nearly all of the work on view at ICFF was produced at workshops on the university's grounds. One exception: the Rivet Light, designed by the young Irish-born designer David Irwin. Its spun-copper shades, which sit atop cylindrical Corian bases, were fabricated by a metalsmith in the jewelry quarter of Birmingham, England.

Tools for Everyday Life, by the Designers in Residence at Northumbria University

It seems ironic that the design school at Northumbria University's two most famous graduates would be Max Lamb and Jonathan Ive. At one end of the spectrum is Lamb, a designer so consumed with the act of making and the transparency of process that he films himself fabricating each piece from start to finish and posts the results on his website. On the other is Ive, who’s responsible for an object that’s more of a cipher, one that conceals its mechanics within and successfully erases any questions about how the way it works or the context in which it was made. But perhaps the difference between the two designers is as simple as the difference between their concentrations at university: Ive graduated from a Northumbria program known as Design for Industry, which focuses on consumer experience, while Lamb finished a course called Three-Dimensional Design, where the act of making is as paramount as the artifact itself. It’s the latter program that's yielded the Designers in Residence who have exhibited at ICFF, for two years running, a collection of products known as Tools for Everyday Life, and it’s in Lamb’s footsteps that those designers follow.
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Another Country, Semley, England

When Paul de Zwart founded Another Country a little over a year ago, the name wasn’t meant to be quite so literal: A small furniture company that focuses on affordably priced, well designed, but not overly trendy wood pieces, Another Country initially wore its Made in the UK status like a badge of honor, crafting small runs by hand using FSC-certified timber from a tiny workshop in the Dorset village of Semley, two hours east of London. De Zwart, who co-founded Wallpaper with Tyler Brûlé in the mid-‘90s, had originally devised the idea for Another Country after searching in vain for an affordable three-legged stool that might fit as well in the country home he was refurbishing as it would in his London flat. The proportions and rounded peg details of the stool De Zwart ended up designing in collaboration with Dominic Parish — a furniture-maker in Semley and now De Zwart’s business partner — eventually informed a 10-piece collection that debuted to fanfare and high praise during 2010’s London Design Festival. Fast-forward to now, and the brand is thriving, having just released a second, more angular furniture series and recently expanded into small goods like pottery, candlesticks, clocks, and desktop accessories. But ask De Zwart where the hub of Another Country’s production now sits, and the answer might surprise you.
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Carly Mayer: The Window

From Monday through Thursday of this week, Sight Unseen is featuring a documentary project by British sculptor Carly Mayer, who indulged her personal curiosity about the factories surrounding her home in Brighton, England, by inviting herself over to photograph their inner workings. For the fourth and final installment, Mayer roams around a small window workshop called Balcombe Glass. ""From an artistic standpoint, I can’t help but find glass beautiful in its most polished and righteous state," she says. "I spent a long time staring at the stock, imagining the pieces as sculptures in their own right. The machinery used to cut the glass fascinated me as well; I expected it to appear menacing and sharp whereas in truth it stood rather friendly, allowing me to photograph its rubber stoppers used to hold the glass firmly in place during production."
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Carly Mayer: The Ratchet Strap

From Monday through Thursday of this week, Sight Unseen is featuring a documentary project by British sculptor Carly Mayer, who indulged her personal curiosity about the factories surrounding her home in Brighton, England, by inviting herself over to photograph their inner workings. Today she explores the making of the humble ratchet strap, overlooked by many but essential to some. "Personally, I had never given the humble ratchet strap much thought," Mayer writes. "It serves a purpose not universal or common, but practical and specialist. Most of us would never have any need for one. As I ventured into the factory, I was greeted by several heavy-duty sewing machines, and unlike the typical assembly line, a more fractured setup, with pods of people working on specific tasks. The stacks of brightly colored, coiled strapping looked like massive sweets in an out-of-scale candy shop."
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Carly Mayer: The Firework

From Monday through Thursday of this week, Sight Unseen is featuring a documentary project by British sculptor Carly Mayer, who indulged her personal curiosity about the factories surrounding her home in Brighton, England, by inviting herself over to photograph their inner workings. "Wells fireworks is, strangely enough, situated on the Duke of Norfolk’s estate in Arundel in West Sussex," Mayer says of today's installment. "What looks like a familiar farmhouse outbuilding with a stunning countryside backdrop is actually home to a successful pyrotechnic manufacturing plant. The business was originally started in 1837 by Joseph Wells — after he'd made a living as an explosive-lighter on the River Thames in London, but long before the Pussycat Dolls' tour would benefit from his company's products."
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Carly Mayer: The Roof Tile

From Monday through Thursday of this week, Sight Unseen is featuring a documentary project by British sculptor Carly Mayer, who indulged her personal curiosity about the factories surrounding her home in Brighton, England, by inviting herself over to photograph their inner workings. First up is the Keymer roof-tile factory. "Keymer is set back into the beautiful countryside of Burgess Hill, Sussex," Mayer writes. "Upon approaching the factory, the first thing that strikes you is the massive abundance of crates stacked with perfectly formed and notably familiar roof tiles. The next would be the sheer size of this 50-acre site, one of the oldest surviving brick and tile companies still laboring from a clay pit, which reaches as far as the eye can see. The business itself traces back to 1588 and was moved to its current site in 1860, exactly where I stood with my digital SLR camera. There was an instant sense of being thrown full-pelt back in time, as the whole essence of the operation was so delicately preserved. It gave me a child-like desire to pick up a stick and explore."
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