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Art Works: Sarah Beeny

24 August 15 words: Art Works
We love a good Notts tribute, and so does this owd mucker
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Letterjoy

I’ve always loved language, particularly local dialects, and my work is a celebration of this. I’ve lived in Nottingham for around twelve years and have got to know and love the language used by my friends and neighbours, so I’ve developed a range featuring my favourite Nottingham phrases, like “Aya masht”, “Ayup miduck” and “Intit loveleh”.


From a young age, I’ve always loved making 3D things, crafting practical objects from recycled material. This led me to study for an MA in ceramic design, which is my passion. I have a hand in making all of the products.

I’d designed for many years, but I was starting to develop ideas to set up my own business. It originally began as stationery, but when Bee and Bird on Mapperley Top opened, I saw an opportunity to start selling locally. Bee and Bird sell non-mass-produced work of local designers and makers that are made with love and care. They have been great to work with, their encouragement and love of craft has spurred me on to further my ideas. I’m now also stocked by Focus Gallery on Derby Road, Locally Produced for You in West Bridgford, and Dezigne, Hockley.

I have a small space in the corner of Quad Joinery’s workshop in Colwick where I produce the wall signs, and my kiln is there to fire the mugs and keyrings. I also have an even smaller corner of my kitchen that is dedicated to mug creation.

The most popular thing that I make are the wall plaques that feature Nottingham expressions and words cut out of Latvian birch plywood. The plywood is hand-painted first, then the words are cut through to reveal the wood grain below. They have received a great reaction, people stop to read and reminisce about the words that their friends and family always say, but that are never written – they always raise a smile. An elderly lady saw them in Bee and Bird’s window and went in, she bought the “Aya masht miduck” plaque and left saying “Eeee, intit loveleh” – perfect! They’ve also been bought by customers to send as gifts to relatives now living abroad, as far reaching as Australia and Canada. It gives me a buzz to think my products have brought joy to those who miss their home.

I’m always thinking of new ideas, and would love to hear from anyone about any phrases they’d like to see. I have visions of it working on a much larger scale as cut-out words in wood or metal in public spaces. Imagine “Ayup miduck” as a welcome sign as you drive into Nottingham.

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