the artist behind enoch & plonk
I spent most of my time as a kid making stuff….making anything out of whatever I could get my hands on. If my dad was in his workshop making something I’d be there hammering two pieces of wood together and getting very black finger tips from missing the nail. My dad still laughs about how he would hear me hammering away, yell and then carry on hammering. My mum was always making clothing for me and my sister or what would be considered rather odd pieces of artwork. Once she took us all to an industrial estate to find a piece of polystyrene packing which she promptly painted brown and put over our fireplace as a piece of modern art.
During a school open day my teacher told my parents that she thought I was going to be an artist when she showed them a picture I’d drawn of a boat… I was 5. Thinking this sounded like a great idea I spent all of my education with this in mind as a career. I mean who wouldn’t want to spend their entire day drawing and painting?
To cut a very long story short I eventually completed my education with a fine art printmaking degree. Being an artist is all well and good but I needed to find a job! So I decided to train as an art and design teacher.
I moved to Sydney in 1998 from a small medieval town in Shropshire (UK) and this was a bit of a culture shock to say the least. I spent a few years teaching and then at the grand old age of 34 felt it was time to start a family.
|finn and ella|
Having waited such a long time to start having kids I didn’t want to hand them over to someone else to bring up so I decided to give up teaching and become a full time mum. I wanted to savour every minute!
Like all mums who have a crafty or arty background you spend a lot of your time entertaining your kids by making them things. Most days I would be in the kitchen with the glue gun in hand fixing bits of cardboard boxes together to make anything from a double decker bus (with upholstered seats and a spiral staircase) to a ferry or some bees. When I had my daughter the making changed to t-shirts, dresses and skirts.
It wasn’t till I posted pictures of the stuff I was making for the kids on facebook (just for a laugh really) that someone suggested I actually make things and sell them on-line. So that’s how it all started….
I have a long list of names that I was going to use as a business name – just names that I’d plucked out of thin air – but none of them seemed personal enough. I could see myself getting sick of them after a while and wanting to change it. Then I realised that I’d always had a name which had been with me all my life ‘Enoch and Plonk’. Enoch was the rather odd name that my dad had called me when I was little. My sister was Plonk.
I adore collage and mixed media artwork as well as fibre art. A lot of the artwork I create outside of my business is a mixture of all of the art forms that I love. I feel that bringing all these elements to ‘Enoch and Plonk’ has enabled it to flourish and offer something a little bit different.
If a tee shirt’s colour or print catches my eye I can begin the search for other items which will compliment it. I love this process! For me it’s like discovering a gem in a junk shop rather than just picking something out of a jeweller’s window. Each dress is designed individually around a fabric’s print or colour. I do not work from a pattern but design as I go. This might seem a little unorthodox but it’s the spontaneity and ‘flying by the seat of my pants’ energetic creation which I find so rewarding. Working in this way means that no two dresses are ever exactly the same and the process of making them enables me to be expressive and artistically fulfilled