Anne does decoupage on objects or furniture found in charity shops, the street, or given to her by someone who wants to see new life breathed into something unwanted or that might get thrown away.
She taught herself her craft. She left school at 16 and went to Paris (where she stayed for nearly 30 years). Being so young (and having no money), she became very resourceful. She also comes from a family of very artistic, creative people, so that has certainly influenced her.
So she was initially motivated by necessity but is also very inspired by the incredible pleasure of transforming something unloved into something wanted, and useful.
She feels that although she occassionally regrets not having had an education, leaving school so young has given her enormous freedom about where she wanted to go. She lived in various places in the the south of England, until she went to Paris (initially as an au pair).
I learned to speak French, and that has been incredibly useful, and every job I have had has been connected to that in some way.(I was married very young, and had 2 babies, and then, after living on my own with the boys for 10 years or so, I met my second husband (Irish) in Paris (he came to be my lodger!), and at the time of the Millennium, with 3 more children, we decided to come back (as freelancing in France is hard). Brighton is near France, not far from London, and by the sea.
I now work as a guide at the Royal Pavilion (in French and English) and although all (well most!) of the jobs I have had since I have been 16 have been good, this one is absolutely the best. Being surrounded by beautiful things every day is a constant inspiration (my black and white ‘Faux Inlay’ pieces were directly inspired by antique Indian furniture inlaid with bone or shell).Every day is different, sometimes I am flat out at the Pavilion, (or involved with one of my 5 children, aged between 15 and 37!), or waking up with an idea, and being so enthusiastic about getting down to it.
It is her family who have had the most profound effect on her life. There are so many incredible characters and interesting people going back through the ages – and today. Her great great grandfather made the dyes and the silks for William Morris – and his cousin who also worked for Morris, as his manager, married a murderess!
Anne clearly loves her job and her creative work and she also loves Brighton for its incredible diversity. She is very excited about being involved at Shaboutique. She feels it is a great idea, a perfect mix of interesting useful and beautiful selection of things to buy for a great cause – and in such an interesting location. However, much as she loves Brighton, Paris is still where she feels is ‘her place’ … or Cornwall, where her parents lived for years and years, and where her father is buried, as it has so many amazing memories.
Her favourite things that she has made are the comic chairs she used to do (and still does on commission). She recreated another story from hundreds of pictures and words cut from piles of comics discarded by her teenage son, and decoupaged on to a perfectly shaped Shabitat chair.
Anne is usually busy at work, with her children or making things. When she is doing none of these things – it is so rare that she doesn’t have something that she has to do, so in fact sitting in a comfortable chair with a cup of tea and the newspaper must be the best. She may then contemplate her wish tosee more respect in the world – of the environment, of each other, of people’s ideas, people’s choices.
As she heads into the future, she would like to be spending half her time in the tiniest flat in the centre of Paris, and the rest in a container, or two, (for when the children come), house on the cliffs in Cornwall.