UK Handmade

Supporting and promoting the best UK artists, designers and makers

Autumn Issue 2014

Read the latest issue of UK Handmade magazine here.

UK Handmade is a design led online magazine committed to showcasing and promoting the best creative talent the UK has to offer.

Buy Handmade Campaign

New Members

Joined UK Handmade and not sure what to do? Check out this excellent post over at CraftBlogUK.

Meet The Team

Here is the team behind UK Handmade, if you need help with anything don't be afraid to ask!
Karen Jinks
Jo Askey

Mich Yasue
Bebe Bradley




Gillian Lee Smith - We All Cast Shadows

Today we are pleased to meet Scottish artist Gillian Lee Smith. Now based in Nottingham, Gillian went on an artist journey three years ago and decided that her sculptural work had to be put on hold, so she could solely dedicate her time to her paintings. In 2012, she was a featured artist on BBC2’s Show me the Monet and made it through to the final exhibition at The Mall Gallery in London, where her work was sold at auction. Gillian is getting ready to launch her book 'We all Cast Shadows', based on her exhibition now showing at the Heart Gallery, Hebden Bridge. 

Gillian Lee Smith

What is your background?

After I graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in "Performance Costume" in 2005, I have been working as a mixed media artist as well as teaching workshops. I also co-ordinated a project involving reminiscence work with older people. This has been a huge source of inspiration to my latest artwork and themes of memories, connection and childhood.

sketch book

What has inspired you to create the ‘We all Cast Shadows’ Art Exhibition?

My work is currently inspired by tales of communities of women, bound together by uncertain times and stories that move the soul. A number of years ago I read ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ by Nathaniel Philbrick, and the history and stories of the fishing and whaling communities captured my imagination. They were hard times but, as is so often the case when we look back at times gone by, there is a strong perspective of communities brought together by hardship and uncertainty. It is these elements that I am particularly interested in. Whilst the specific histories and stories bear little direct relation to our lives today, we each have our own emotions and stories that bring us together and connect us to the past.

One day at a time

Describe and tell us about the women in your pictures; are they sad, lonely, lost or love sick?

The woman in my paintings have much in common with us today, I think. Life has its ups and downs and uncertainties but all through this, we put on a face to the world even in the depths of despair, hopelessness, loss and mourning. We go between joy and grief, contentment and unease, and in many ways we can mask what is inside and hide our emotions from those we love. The women who lived in these times and in these working communities were strong, hardworking, stoic women, and by the very nature of the men being away for so long, they were the backbone of the community. There are many aspects to their lives that I could have portrayed in these paintings but I chose to view the woman in those moments where they might be unseen, those moments where our thoughts drift and our walls come down even if only for a moment.

Looking for the Lights

What made you want to portray the female perspective? In history, it focuses on men. Why have you decided to tell their story?

All too often we hear about our histories through the male perspective. But here it was the story of those left behind that sparked my interest and made me want to portray this history and the stories of that time. It is the images of the women that resonated with me. The mothers and wives who worked and loved, and waited and got on with the day to day. The men were off at sea, these were dangerous and adventurous times, and many of the songs and stories tell their tales. Male or female, I think we can all connect to the feeling that, every day, we all do the best we can in unpredictable times. 

Harbour Girl

What are your plans for this exhibition as I hear you would like to tour it to different venues?

This is an ongoing body of work for me. It's a subject that grows and grows in my mind and my studio so I would love to take it to the coast somewhere in 2015.

Coming Home

You have started to teach an E-course 'Unearth, Gather, Create'. Can you tell us about it and when is the next opening day?

It is a 6 week long, intensive art course that comprises video tutorials, prompts and exercises. It is based around the premise that whilst many folks know techniques and how to create paintings, some folks struggle with making their art unique to them and telling the story that they wish to tell. This course helps you explore your own inspirations and use the techniques to create the art that you want to make. Whilst aimed at students who have some artistic background, it really is for all levels and I have had many different types of students from beginners to professional artists taking part. I am just about to begin the Autumn session which is the third run of the course and, like the first two sessions, it has already sold out. The next session is likely to be Spring 2015, although I am also working on a brand new course which will be concentrating on Expressive Drawing which I am very excited about. 

book cover

You are launching a book called 'We all Cast Shadows'. What is going to be featured in it? 

The book ties in with my first solo exhibition that is showing at the Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge. This self-published book is a peek into my process with images of my sketchbooks and journals, writing and the artwork for the show. It's all based around the female communities, coming together in the great adversity of war time, when men had to go and serve their country on land and sea, and leave their families behind. I am excited to see this book coming together and it will be launched at the Heart Gallery on  the 29th of November, There will be a paperback version as well as a limited edition hardback version. Songs are also being written and performed on the day, inspired by the paintings seen here in this interview. 

The Harbour is our playground

When are your next workshops?

I an off to the far North East Coast of Scotland in a few short weeks to teach a week long class at the Creative Retreat in a tiny fishing village called Gardenstown. This class is sold out but I am teaching there again in Spring 2015. It is a beautiful, quaint old village and has been a huge inspiration to my own work since I was there in the Summer. Autumn 2015 sees me flying off the North Carolina in the USA to teach two, week long classes in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I am also looking at other teaching opportunities for the next year.

Exhibition and Shows coming up for Gillian Lee Smith

'We all Cast Shadows'  Exhibition is running at the Heart Gallery till January 2015.  Gillian will be painting LIVE on the 30th of October and launching her book on November 29th along with songs being performed, inspired by Gillian's work. 

Gillian will be exhibiting her work at The Art Market on November 30th at Holmfirth Indoor Market. 

Gillian's websites:


E-course -





  • Add Photos
  • View All


Hello 2 Replies

Started by Marie Causey in Uncategorized. Last reply by Joanne Andrades on Monday.

Atc's 1 Reply

Started by Emma Louise Szostok in Uncategorized. Last reply by Joanne Andrades on Monday.

Introductions - come and say hi! 852 Replies

Started by Karen Jinks in Uncategorized. Last reply by Anne Cain Oct 16.

Welcome to the UK Handmade Forum 6 Replies

Started by Karen Jinks in Uncategorized. Last reply by Maggie Gee Needlework Studio Oct 4.

What did you write about in your blog today? 2243 Replies

Started by Amanda Robins in Uncategorized. Last reply by Gary & Heather Ram Sep 5.

Latest Activity

Gary & Heather Ram posted a photo
Gary & Heather Ram posted a status
"Friday Finds on Folksy blog - letter W!"
Astrid Weigel posted photos
Astrid Weigel posted photos

Blog Posts

Hello All


Direct From The Bench…


Posted by Direct From The Bench on October 5, 2014 at 21:27

Sculpted Tealights Range Increased

We've just added a whole host of new hand-hewn hardwood Sculpted…


Posted by Justbod on October 4, 2014 at 18:06

Three new Gemstone Bracelets by ChaByDesign

Finished off three bracelets last week. Can't make up my mind which one I like more. The green Jade heart bracelet has such a wonderful intense green. The blue rectangular Kyanite beads are just stunning the grain is so beautiful. And the red…


Posted by Barbara Mucha on September 2, 2014 at 11:00

How We Create Our Digital Portraits

A short and sweet post today.
We have recently created this easy to follow flow chart/…

Posted by Peepers and Joe Heathcote on September 1, 2014 at 15:00

Six New Designs in our Wood and Fire Collection

bod has recently created six new designs in our …


Posted by Justbod on July 8, 2014 at 15:18


Hedeby - Viking Dragon Head carving…


Posted by Justbod on May 21, 2014 at 10:30

The Voynich Manuscript

Strange but true - my latest hand made book project is based on the Voynich manuscript.A manuscript that contains 104 folios, comprised of 18 quires.It’s a codex illustrated with strange figures and sketched plants that has been carbon-dated to…


Posted by anne corr on April 3, 2014 at 20:20 — 2 Comments


Hi everyone. I'm Angela and I make hand made jewellery from a mix of new, vintage and up-cycled treasures. Pop over to my facebook page to see all my creations and for special offers!…


Posted by Angela Steven on April 2, 2014 at 19:14


Book Shop



© 2014   Created by Karen Jinks.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service