Not only is Connie Tu of Created by Connie an extremely talented, award-winning henna artist, she is also a keen promoter and campaigner for natural henna, striving to spread the word about how to enjoy this wonderful form of body art and avoid the dangers of imitation products. Connie is a proudly certified member of The International Certification for Natural Henna Arts (ICNHA), which is a volunteer peer assessment for henna artists to certify they use only natural, chemical-free henna and understand the cultural and traditional uses of henna.
Connie’s passion for the power of henna in raising well-being and self-confidence, as well as a deep appreciation for the beauty and history of art form, shines through in her stunning contemporary designs. As part of her appreciation and understanding of henna, or mendhi as it is sometimes known, Connie contributes to, and promotes having a strong community of henna artists who work to support each other and develop their craft. Connie’s sense of community isn’t exclusive to her fellow artists, however. Recently Connie was featured on the BBC’s One Show for her work with the charity Alopecia UK, as she provided henna crowns and tiaras for people who have experienced hair loss.
Crickhollow Crafts began when Sam Kenchington-Meltham left teaching, and took up working with wood as a hobby. As is so often the case, that hobby, developed into a passion and that passion grew into a small business. Sam first leaned the joy of woodwork in his grand father’s workshop, and has taken that joy and infused it into making jewellery out of wood. Sam draws on the natural elements of his materials, working sympathetically with the textures and grains to create beautiful accessories, each with their own unique appeal.
Sam works with a wide range of woods, and particularly enjoys the rich colours and striations available in the wide range of exotic woods that give his small pieces big impact. His current favourites include cocobolo from Mexico, and wild olive from the Mediterranean.
Vagaries of Mine came about somewhat by accident, as the artist Katherine was forced to reconsider her career path due to having to provide additional care for her son. Her passion has always been literature, and her obsession with books, folk-tales, and symbolism slowly grew to include penmanship, illustration, and narrative traditions. This branched out further and further, until Katherine found herself obsessing over ink, tropes, and the interaction between words and pictures. She works primarily in pen and ink illustrations. Using the same pen strokes that create letters and words, she provides snapshots of stories that haven’t yet been told and invites the viewer to be the narrator. Often flitting between being familiar and fantastical, she tries to capture moments that reflect the emotions and joy of being transported into a good story, with particular reference to the boundless worlds that filled her childhood.
Head down to Dame Judi Dench walk this Saturday to see these and a range of other artists on show and available to buy.Last Week's Column