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Olivia Brown

Olivia graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 1999 with a first class honours degree in Contemporary Craft. She established her business in 2000 and has become widely known for her ceramic sculptures and site specific installations such as Elvis the Whippets salon, operation Jumpsuit and more recently Dancing on Wheels. As well as the afore mentioned Olivia spends a lot of time painting and has a range of greetings cards and limited edition prints available.

Each sculpture is completely handmade using slab building techniques applying the clay around a specially made frame. Once dry the clay is fired to 1050 degrees. Each sculpture takes between 6 - 8 weeks to complete. It is possible to commission Olivia to make individual dogs working from photos.

"The unique characters present in the animal kingdom always have and continues to provide endless fascination for me and with this a rich and unlimited source of inspiration. It was whilst at university and living on a farm that I first started incorporating canines into my work. I became fascinated with their (often absurd) individual personalities and since then on I have become intent on capturing this.
Although dogs remain at the forefront of my work I am particularly drawn to the less loved and ostracised members of the animal community and relish the chance of bringing these into my work - for instance the rats I produced for Operation Jumpsuit were inspired by my own pet rat of the time Glen. The Installation ‘Libre les Grenouilles’ intended to highlight the plight of froggies in the French restaurant trade ! Marabou storks are also a particular favourite - I can spend hours watching their antics at the zoo. Capturing the essence of these creatures is paramount in each piece I produce. I like to treat my installations as theatre sets and aspire to create scenes and individual stages whereby the chosen creature can finally be allowed to shine - every dog must have his day!

Locating and constucting the correct props is a major factor in the success of the shows - hours are spent customising jumble sale treasures so that my creatures can act out their given scenes with more realism and thus greater effect. I enjoy pondering over even the minutest of components - it is this attention to detail and experimentation with materials that keep the ideas and characters alive and is a major driving force in my practice. Painting for me is as important as the actual sculptures themselves - I enjoy working in different media as for me it keeps the work fresh. Sketching and painting allow me a better understanding of form but more importantly I enjoy the freedom paint offers - away from all the technical constraints associated with working with clay."

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"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 29 days we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.