Jennifer Collier has led the way in the upcycling revolution in art and craft; a veteran maker of vintage material, investigating the re-used and recycled since 1999. “Giving new life to things that would otherwise go unloved or be thrown away,” is central to her practice.
Welcome to her fantastical world, where every exquisite detail is made, folded and manipulated from paper. Once books, maps, envelopes, wallpaper or scrap, the paper is transformed into textural forms. Like cloth it is stitched to construct two or three dimensional objects, decorative and functional: lampshades, cameras, tools and furniture. The origin of the paper often provides a starting point for the artwork: the narrative of the books and papers suggesting idea and form.
Jennifer’s work uses the idea of the domestic space, to set a stage for the work: upholstered chairs, kitchen utensils, and garden tools hanging in their shed invite you in. References to fairy tales, films, literature, music and nursery rhymes– the layers of paper and meaning together build the narrative.
Education1996-99 BA(hons) Textiles, Manchester Metropolitan University.
1995-96 BTEC in Art & Design, Stafford Collage.
1993-95 A-Level Art, Business Studies & English Literature, Weston Road High School, Stafford.
Awards2016 - Craft & Design Selected Maker of the Year 2016
2016 - Craft & Design Selected Maker Gold Award 2016: Specialist Media
2015 - Design Factory Awards- ‘Focus Gallery’ Solo Exhibition Award
2014 - Arts Council ‘Grants for the Arts’ award to set up ‘Cultivated’, a two year graduate support programme at Unit Twelve.
2007 - Country Living Fair – Winner ‘Best New Product’
2007 - Origin: The London Craft Fair - Grand Designs Magazine ‘Best in Show’
2004 - Designfront 04 - Best Stand
2004 - BCTF- Award for Excellence
2003 - BCTF- Newcomer Award
2001-03 - North West Art Board Setting Up Grant.
ProfessionalI work from a studio in Stafford, and continue my self-employed career through the sale of my work, exhibitions and commissions. I run my own gallery, Unit Twelve, which is open to the public Thurs-Sat, 10am- 4pm. The spaces houses 6 artist’s studios, including my own and hosts a changing program of themed, high quality contemporary craft exhibitions, curated by myself. We also run a rolling program of themed art workshops, run by myself and visiting artists.
WorkshopsI have been running art workshop since I graduated in 1999, so have gained a vast experience of running workshops in schools, colleges, and galleries; with a diverse range of community groups. I have experience of working with children with behavioural difficulties and emotional wellbeing issues, adults with learning difficulties, but my greatest area of enterprise is with people suffering with problems around mental wellbeing. I have run workshops at many galleries, including The V&A, Tate Liverpool and Manchester Art Gallery, to name a few.
2016-18 Made in the Middle curated By Craftspace. I am 1 of 4 invited makers included in the touring exhibition.
2016 White Noise Gallery, Rome. 'Any Given Book'
2016 Whatcom Museum, Washington. 'Unhinged: Book Art on the Cutting Edge.' An exhibition of work created from books.
2015- 17 NY NOW. Trade show in New York, picking up international stockists, Such as MAD, New York.
2015 Contemporary Craft Festival Shop, Bovey Tracey. 'A Room with a View' Window Exhibition.
2015 Clotsworthy Arts Centre and Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre. 'Forming Words.' A touring exhibition in Northern Ireland, looking at the use of words in making
2015 Museum Kunst der Westküste, Germany. 'Papermania.' An international exhibition of works made from paper
2014 Stroud International Textiles. ‘Selected’ at Newark Park. Work made for this National Trust property for the textiles festival.
2014 Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Torfaen. ‘Dark Tales’ An exhibition exploring the darker side of fairy stories.
2013 The Design Centre & Craft Gallery, Leeds. ‘A New Life’, Exhibition showcasing recycled artworks.
2012-13 Made in the Middle touring exhibition
2011 Selvedge Spring Fair, London.
2011 Amelia Johnson Gallery, Hong Kong. ‘Wonderland’
2009/11 Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Manchester. Retail craft fair.
2009/10/13 The Contemporary Craft Fair, Bovey Tracey. Retail craft fair.
2009 Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. ‘Recycled’
2008 The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne. ‘Well Thread’
2008 Liberty, London. Haberdashery department exhibition.
2007 Manchester Craft & Design Centre. ‘Paper’
2007/08/09/13 Lustre: Midlands Contemporary Craft Market, Nottingham. Retail craft fair.
2007 Affordable Art Fair, New York.
2007 V&A Craft Shop Exhibition.
2006-09 Oriel Davies Gallery, Powys. ‘Folktale and Fairy Tales’ touring exhibition.
2006/07/08/09/11 Origin: The London Craft Fair. Retail craft fair.
2006 Waterside Arts Centre, Sale. ‘Threadbare’
2005 The Design Centre & Craft Gallery, Leeds. ‘Expect the Unexpected’
2005 The Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport. Solo exhibition.
2004 Druncroon, Wigan. 'A Trace of Memory'.
2004 Millenium Galleries, Sheffield. 'Secret Garden'.
2003 The Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool. 'Tracing Paper'. An exhibition of work created by artists working with paper.
2000 Cleveland Craft Centre/ Bluecoat Display Centre/ Ruskin Gallery. 'Value Judgements'. Touring exhibition around issues of worth.
1999 The Platform Gallery, Clitheroe. 'Threads'. An exhibition of contemporary textiles.
April- Dec 16 Redfern’s Cottage, Uttoxeter. Running art workshops with 2 mental wellbeing charities to create work for a touring exhibition exploring the cottage, its archive and its refurbishment. Jan 11 Playhouse Theatre, Birmingham. Consultancy role on a production of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’.
May 10 Buille Hill High School, Salford. Week residency working with all 5 years of the school, to create a map of their heritage.
May- June 07 Making Moves, Newcastle under Lyme. Six-week residency at the Jubilee Baths, making work to tour as part of ‘Handmade 3’. This involved mentoring a recent graduate, running art workshops, and creating work to go on permanent display at the baths.
Jan-Mar 07 Bantock House, Wolverhampton. 3 month residency creating new work in response to the collections & running art workshops.
Oct-Dec 06 Staffordshire County Council. Creative consultation project with young people about mental well being, based at Allynes High School, Uttoxeter, as well as with youth groups in the community.
Mar 06 Whitworth Art Gallery. Working on a four-week citizenship project for the gallery with a school in Wythenshaw.
Apr- May 05 Weatherhead High School, Birkenhead. A six week residency creating garments with year 7 students for a recycled fashion show.
Sept- Dec 03 Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham. Lead artist on a project, facilitating & running workshops with 3 schools, 2 artists & the gallery, culminating in an exhibition, based on the work of the Bloomsbury set and the Omega workshops.
May-June 03 Stockport College, BA Textiles course. Residency where I acted as visiting lecturer on a 6 week garment project.
Sept 01-Apr 04 The Museum Of Science & Industry in Manchester, as part of the North West Art Board Setting Up Scheme. I was resident at the museum for two and a half years, with a studio space in the gallery of ‘Fibres, Fashion & Fabrics’. I served as an exhibit to the visitors, as well as running workshops & doing demonstrations.
Sept 01 Burnley College and Nelson & Colne College. Ten day residency in each college, to support the Mid-Pennine Gallery exhibition of Caroline Broadhead's work.
June 00 Northern Lights. Residency within two 6th form colleges, to coincide with the 'Value Judgements' exhibition.
Sept 99-Mar 00 Vale Royal Borough Council. Six-month artist in residence where I had a studio at The London Road Gallery. I was responsible for the running of the gallery; curating and selecting exhibitions. I also ran workshops within the gallery & undertook supply teaching at Mid Cheshire College.
2016 Packwood House, Soilhull. Dressing this National Trust property for ‘The theatre of Christmas’, comprising of 400 paper decorations, 400 paper flowers, 50 paper lampshades (making up 13 lampshade ‘trees’), as well as many other decorations.
2016 Redfern’s Cottage, Uttoxeter. Creating work in response to the building, its archive and its refurbishment.
2016 Coughton Court, Warwickshire. A Farewell to Arms. A floral paper dining table setting commemorating 100 years since members of the donor family were killed in WW1, and 70 years since the property was given to the national trust.
2016 Shugborough Hall, Stafford. Creating a community quilt through participatory art workshops, to celebrate Staffordshire County Museums Service’s local history collection housed at this National Trust Property.
2014 Walter Knoll stand at Milan Design week. Paper props to adorn the famous furniture makers stand at this prestigious show.
2013 The Library of Birmingham. Paper typewriter made from vintage typewriter manuals and encyclopaedias to be housed in the reference section of the new library.
2011 Lenches Trust, Birmingham. Narrative paper workman's leather apron investigating the origins of the Trust.
2010 Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Neo Natal Unit. Time capsule commission to signpost the entrance to the unit.
2006 Simon & Schuster, America. Creating paper garments for the cover artwork of Linda Grants ‘The Thoughtful Dresser’
2008 New Art Gallery, Cirencester/ Bilston Craft Gallery/ Beecroft Art Gallery. Work created for the ‘Top Dog’ exhibition.
2008 & 09 Kew 159 Ltd, London. ‘Kew’ style garments created from catalogue pages and maps, for window display in their London stores.
2007 Craftbox, Bilston /Shropshire. A specially commissioned box of contemporary craft objects to tour around non-art venues.
2007 Making Moves, Newcastle under Lyme. Creating work in response to the Jubilee Baths, which toured as part of ‘Handmade3’
2004 20-21 Visual Arts, Scunthorpe. A strawberry wedding dress, with accessories for the 'Food, Glorious Food' exhibition.
2003 Centro, Birmingham. A dress fabricated in metal to adorn a bus information point in Small Heath.
2002 Manchester Art Gallery. A dress & shoes produced for the 'Made in Manchester' section of the gallery.
1999 Craftspace Touring, Birmingham. A series of ironic fruit bowls made from fruit, for ‘Handmade1’ exhibition.
2000 Q-Arts, Derby. Dresses impregnated with seeds created for 'Environment Week'.
1999 Hatworks, Stockport. Garments, hats & shoes produced for the opening exhibition.
Public CollectionsThe Atkinson Art Gallery, Southport
The Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester
The Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford The
Museum & Art Gallery, Newcastle-under-Lyme
Manchester Art Gallery
The Library of Birmingham
Periodicals (selected)My work has been featured in over 60 magazine including Vogue, Elle Decoration, Living etc, Times, Red, Eve, Marie Claire, Crafts, Embroidery, Country Living, Telegraph, Pretty Nostalgic and Selvedge, to name just a few to date. To see all press I have been featured in please click here.
BooksArt Made From Books by Laura Heyenga
Encore! The New Artisans by Olivier Dupon
Upcyclist by Antonia Edwards
Paper Art Now! By Eva Minguet
Textile Nature by Anne Kelly
High Touch: Tactile Design and Visual Explorations by Robert Klanten, Matthias Hübner and M. Hubner
Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed by Alyson Kuhn, Laura Heyenga and Brian Dettmer
500 Paper Objects by Gene McHugh
On the Button: The Significance of an Ordinary Item by Nina Edwards
Sew Eco By Ruth Singer
The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant (cover artwork)
Miracle of Grace by Kate Kerrigan (cover image)
Embroidered Purses by Linda Tudor
Choosing & Using Paper for Great Graphic Design by Mark Hampshire & Keith Stephenson
Jeux de Mode by Véronique Antoine-Andersen