I've always loved when genres cross over and mix, be it in music, art, or design; it is something I channel in my own work and always catches my eye when I see makers combining two elements often thought quite separate. We Are Stardust brings together beautiful illustration and heart warming messages paired with elements of scientific journals and straight up science facts. It not only delivers a unique, touching take on making someone smile but highlights the wonders of the world in which we wander and how connected to that our emotions can be.
I first came across Agnes' work during my weekly jaunt through #handmadehour over on twitter and popped We Are Stardust into my roundup that week. With a relaunch coming up this week it seemed the perfect time to add a Maker Feature to the blog that I have been considering for a little while and I'm super pleased to have We Are Stardust as its first maker.
Why do you create and what do you gain from the process of making?
I have always loved making and drawing. Some people are writers and can imagine stories and structures for books and articles in their heads; others see the world through numbers; I think I make sense of the world best through creating things - I visualise how I could make things in my head. My day job is also very desk based so to have the opportunity to create with my hands is such a joy. The satisfaction of seeing an illustration take shape in front of your eyes is amazing. Time seems to disappear and suddenly 3 hours have passed and I have half a beetle illustration in front of me. I love it.
As well as the feeling that time has slipped away whilst I make something, I also really enjoy studying objects and really seeing how incredible they are, for example, drawing helps me see how hard it is to capture the feathers of a crow's wing, or how many craters there are on the moon's surface or how intricate the heart that keeps me alive is. Drawing helps me to understand the world on a deeper level.
How did your bringing together of science and art come about?
I have never sat comfortably within the sciences or arts, I’ve always been somewhere inbetween.
As a child I used to imagine I was an explorer in a jungle gathering unusual animal specimens on mysterious tropical islands or discovering ancient civilisations. I’d draw maps of my explorations and collect strange stones, shells and flowers. The boundaries between art and science weren’t there - it was all about exploring the world.
We are stardust is a natural progression from my childhood imaginations and an extension of how I see the world. Just as drawing deepens my understanding of the world, so does understanding the science behind what I'm drawing. For example, as I drew the needles of the yew tree on my medicinal plant greetings card I kept thinking how amazing it is that those needles contain a chemical that helps to treat cancer.
Albert Einstein once said “the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. Both art and science require us to use our imagination to gain a deeper understanding of nature and our place in the world. Art is a creative expression based on our experiences of the world. Science is our search to understand how the physical world works. In the words of Professor Brian Cox, “deeper understanding confers that most precious thing - wonder.” That is exactly what we are stardust hopes to inspire: a moment of wonder.
Tell us about a maker you love, what about their work makes you smile?
One of the most wonderful things about starting my business has been learning and discovering other makers and their stories. It's very hard to chose one so I have chosen a three (haven't chosen Single Malt Teapot here as that's a given)!
Pip Wilcox Ceramics - I love her pottery. It is made with such love and care. Her style is simple and beautiful. She makes all her pottery in her studio in Hastings. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to buy one of her bud vases (they sell out in 10 minutes at the moment!) and it has been appearing in a few of my instagram photos with we are stardust cards.
Forest + Found - I really appreciated Abigail and Max's approach to their work. Max carves spoons from foraged wood and Abi makes beautiful quilts with fabric dyed with natural dyes made from the wood chippings from the spoons. Their work is earthy and calming.
Somersault 1824 - Science inspired jewelry! I really like the simplicity of some of these designs, particularly the astrocyte (a type of brain cell) and the Golgi Aparatus (such a great name for a cell organelle that packages proteins and fats up in your cells to help transport them around).
If you're loving Agnes' designs as much as team teapot, head over to www.wearestardust.uk for all their loveliness.