Posted on August 10 2017
This month our artist of the month is Natajaq - who are a - collaboration between Natalie Evans and Jacqueline Willmington through their shared enthusiasm and interest in traditional craftsmanship and skills, summer craft fairs, wood, colour, nature and interiors.
Does creativity run in the family? Tell us about the Natajaq team. It certainly does! I have always loved art and creating - my mother-in-law being the same, we have spent years indulging in creative hobbies. My husband is a joiner and cabinet maker and with his expert skills we have turned our attention to furniture and lighting design.
What was the inspiration for setting up Natajaq? My husband at the time was doing a lot of work in Oak and Walnut and the waste material is just waste in the manufacturing process - I love all wood and my mother-in-law Jacque (who's late husband was also a joiner and cabinet maker) feels the same -we just couldn't bear for this beautiful natural product to go to waste so we designed a range of candlesticks turned from the off-cuts. Jacque and I have always had a shared interest in art and design and furniture and interiors - we both had the time at that time to be a little bit more creative and so Natajaq was borne!
What are the influences behind your creations? We both like simple shapes and we love the natural beauty of wood - wood is timeless and so versatile - every home needs beautiful natural wood, in our opinion! Since then we have moved on with some new designs and have focused on the use of plywood which is a man-made product and we have produced a range of contemporary lighting; table and floor lamps - plywood is modern, robust and understated in its beauty in our opinion.
What are the joys/benefits as well as the challenges to working in a small team of two? It's all joyful - we get to spend quality time together doing something that we enjoy - from conception to production, we finish every product by hand and showcasing our work is always fun and rewarding. There are challenges of course, we are an artisan designer/maker and trying to scale our production is challenging financially. We started the business with a very small investment and have re-invested every penny back in to developing the business and our products. We love working with and supporting other artisans/designers/artists - we believe it's really important to be inclusive and supportive. We love working with independent retailers too who champion individuality and offer the opportunity to designer/makers to showcase their work presenting something unique to their customers.
Do you listen to music when you are working? If so - who are your favourite bands/singers to have on in the studio? We always have the radio on - I love radio 4 and Radio 6, I also have teenage children and so get to listen to a wide range of their music too!
Where's your favourite place in the South West? I live in Bath and have done for 30 years, Jacque lives in Bath again now and my husband was born in Bath too - I was brought up in Wells and I love it there and Glastonbury and Frome too - Somerset is the best!
What are the processes you use in your craft that people wouldn't know about? People often are surprised to know that we are using plywood , they love the grain but don't necessarily know what it is - plywood being a sheet material is ripped into strips and glued together and then turned on a lathe - we then finish them off by hand, sanding and waxing. Discover more about Natajaq - on their artist's page.