We're David and Maria Adams, and we live in the beautiful English county of Oxfordshire, not far from the famous university city of Oxford with its 'dreaming spires'. We'd like to tell you a bit about ourselves and how we came to be interested in altered art.
Looking back to my childhood, I remember that I always seemed to be drawing, or making things out of bits and pieces from around the house. It wasn't altered art, of course, more like model-making, but I guess that I realised even then that there were possibilities in ordinary household items that were no longer needed.
I've always been interested in art, and indeed studied it at school as part of a wide range of subjects, but in my last couple of years there decided to concentrate on mathematics and physics. I went on to study mathematics at university before going into the computer industry for about twenty-five years, and it's only in the last few years that I've been able to give full rein to the creative side of my nature, and take a more active interest in things artistic.
I don't actually remember when it was that Maria and I first discovered altered art; I just know that there was something about it that appealed to me immensely. It's hard to explain, even to myself, but I think it's something to do with the old, faded, worn and distressed look of so many pieces in this genre that seems to speak to me of times past. Maybe it takes me back to another time, another place, another life…
Maria is probably best known as a bear artist, and the creator of the Bears by Design range of miniature artist bears, but unfortunately some sixteen years of intricate hand-sewing have resulted in problems with her hands, and she is no longer able to devote much time to bear-making. However, this has allowed her to rediscover her love of fibre arts and papercrafts, and to pursue a more recently discovered interest in altered and mixed-media art.
Maria has also been interested in arts and crafts since childhood. She recalls that as a child she used to enjoy drawing, painting, crochet and embroidery, and she too remembers making dolls' furniture from matchboxes and other articles that she found around the house.
Before embarking on a career as a bear artist Maria was an enthusiastic needleworker for many years, and enjoyed making miniature items for dolls' houses. It was her love of things miniature that led her to specialise in creating the tiniest of bears.
She also found time to study City and Guilds Creative Embroidery, which introduced her to a number of new techniques, and sparked her interest in mixed-media art. Maria also likes the vintage, grungy look that is often associated with altered art, and enjoys the freedom that it gives her to create.
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