Jessica Christie-Miller and Charlotte Macpherson explain the creative link between their Open Houses.
The Photographers Greenhouse: Charlotte Macpherson
AOH: Hi Charlotte and Jessica do you often collaborate in your work?
Jessica: I met Charlotte at my Open House, SNUG. She came to have a look and was impressed by my Native American wall hangings. Charlotte expressed an interest in opening her own house for the first time and, having always had a fantastic experience myself, encouraged her to take part. I have really enjoyed collaborating with Charlotte. She is a great photographer and when it comes to portraiture her pictures really capture the essence of the person she is photographing.
Charlotte: I visited SNUG Open House last May and loved Jessica Christie-Miller’s feather creations – they are wild and organic. I asked her to make something beautiful for my house and then we had the idea for a little collab’. I would do some pictures of her creations and she’d make a one off headdress for my Christmas photobooth; I wanted a dressing up box of hats for quick portraits, to make fun Christmas cards. I fancied an ice queen and Jessica designed a beautiful white feather and sequin crown, which I photographed and she used as her brochure picture. So there’s the link between venue 4 and venue 45!
AOH: Charlotte, we are delighted that you are taking part in the AOH Christmas festival for the first time this year.
Charlotte: This is my first Artist Open House – it’s called The Photographer’s Greenhouse and here’s why: I am a photographer and have a lovely portrait studio at home where I will be offering formal portrait sittings, I also have a love of plants and all things natural. I am concerned for the environment and I want my own Christmas to be as green as possible, with less stuff and more of what matters in life – good friends, family, good health, and community. So I have selected other artists and makers (many who are good friends) who are also interested and concerned with the environment. We are all trying to minimize our impact, using recyclable, reclaimed and repurposed materials where possible, without being worthy in any way.
There will be sustainable and stylish offerings for the heart soul and stomach, of food and plants and art and adornments – and our intention is that they do not cost the earth – a pun but with real sentiment. Our house is committed to making sustainable and meaningful gifts this Christmas, and we’ll offer our visitors a warm welcome.
Our Private View is on Friday 29th eve 7-9pm – all welcome!
AOH: Can you tell us a bit about your practice as a photographer?
Charlotte: My photography work is varied, but I love photographing people and I love the timelessness of a formal portrait. I am known for my fashion work, I started covering the international fashion shows during the 90’s and photographed the supermodel era, with backstage and editorial stories as well as runway shows. I was amazed how supermodels and celebrities know what their face is doing; they know their best angle but often only give one face, a mask. Most, people are initially a bit shy in front of the camera, and it is that vulnerability I love – they put their trust in me – to make them look their best. This is a collaboration and choosing to do a portrait puts the subject back in control, they get to choose the final picture – we are making a portrait, not taking a picture.
AOH: Your family portrait photo booth sounds fun –would you like to tell us about it?
Charlotte: During November & December I am offering bookable family portrait sittings with pictures framed and ready to give for Christmas, as well as vouchers and, by special request, pet portraits (midweeks daytime only). Photography is not without its issues and therefore I want to make my pictures count. I am interested in making lasting images, ones you frame and keep forever.
AOH: Who else is exhibiting with you in your house?
Charlotte: Also showing are Huntress & Forager who share my environmental ethos. They make beautiful plantings, hanging gardens, wreaths and pots of rarer plant combinations and exotics. They hunt for reclaimed vintage treasures and source plants and forage foods locally.
Friends Zoe Faulkner & Cara Bowen make stunning macramé wall hangings and plant holders with soft and natural yarns, some dip dyed in subtle shades. We have amazing landscape paintings by Faye Bridgwater, stylish illustrations and satiric cards from Gary Kaye, wooden upcycled creations from set designer Eddie Crowther, hand printed cards and textiles by RAE. There will be some live music and a warm atmosphere with delicious food from Siobhan FitzGerald’s cafe Table.
We wanted to provide better access for all, so Eddie Crowther has built a disabled ramp especially, so we hope that helps our visitors.
AOH: Jessica, its great to have SNUG back taking part in the AOH Christmas festival again. Can you tell us about your professional background – and how you came to be working with feathers?
Jessica: I come from a history in window dressing and prop making. I originally made wreaths for Links of London and other brands in the jewellery trade.
AOH: How and where do you source your feathers?
Jessica: My friend Lucy has a farm near Barcombe, outside Lewis, so I collect pheasant feathers from her and occasionally partridge and duck if they are around. Other feathers like goose and wild turkey are from Wisconsin in America.
AOH: What do you make with the feathers?
Jessica: I have been making large pheasant feather wreaths and candleholders for about 5 years. Last year I experimented using other types of feathers that are evocative of Native American culture attempting to give the dream catcher a new more ‘modern’ look. I have also been making feather earrings and festival style head-pieces which take ages and are fiddly but are really fun and really stretch my creative process to the maximum.
AOH: What other artists will be showing with you in Snug Open House?
Jessica: I am opening SNUG just by myself this Christmas because I have been recommended to do so for some time by a few friends. It has been good for me to clear my head creatively and to focus on extending my own little range. I have a feeling it might be a bit lonely opening up at the weekends without other artists. But it will be good to have a bit of extra time and space to concentrate on my work and to see what kind of reaction I get from visitors this year opening SNUG as a solo show.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S GREENHOUSE
24 East Drive, Queens Park,
Brighton, BN2 0BQ
7 Caburn Road
Hove, BN3 6EF