Cyanotype collaborations

‘Sleeping Furies‘ collaborative Cyanotype

We’ve been immersed in the brilliant alchemy of the Cyanotype, a chance to explore new conjunctions of our images both old and new together or separated from any original context. We’ve loved the results so far and wanted to share some of these new images with readers here.

The first thing to consider is change in scale and the effect that has , immediately these Cyanotypes gain intimacy during a process that’s one or two steps removed from the original intensity of creation. The next thing to consider is change in context when sequenced with another images or filtered through a different colour spectrum. The Cyanotype has its own context, amidst these considerations the process has refreshing possibilities that become gripping as the final image is revealed.

We’ll share the ones we’re most excited about onto TheKirinsArtShop over on Etsy and anyone local to Bury St Edmunds can see them in the flesh at the indoor makers’ market at the Market Cross in August.

Suffolk Open Studios 2022

Its been a little while since our last Blog post, not because of inactivity so much but a lot more because of a lot of activity!..By way of introducing where we find ourselves today we both thought no better place than Last year’s event was coloured by the Pandemic but nevertheless we managed a safe and successful series of consecutive studio openings over several Weekends. It was a ‘no brainer’ to join with the event again this year.

We’ve taken great pleasure in showing work never seen before in public including our first collaborations on canvas and new multi-media pieces combining watercolour and print techniques. We also have new resin pendants on display for the first time alongside individually created paintings and sculpture that compliment our collaborative story. Holdcroft Handmade knits are making a special guest appearance with us this year, with a range of chunky scarves, hats, headbands and handwoven wall hanging. For more information, please visit Holdcroft Handmade Etsy shop.

It’s been tiring but very rewarding turning a workspace into a display space, for us there is even a slight nostalgia about a similar process all those years ago at Art school when end of year shows were curated but that’s along time ago! The result for Suffolk Open Studio 2022 is a comprehensive overview of what we have been doing recently presented in a beautiful woodland setting, we sincerely hope a few of you can come and see our work. If you do come to our beautiful corner of West Suffolk, its sensible to book a visiting slot here, as we are rural, guaranteeing a parking space completes a visit. This year for the first time for part of the event we have a work experience student on placement with us who we hope and expect will leave with a well rounded experience of how an Artists’ studio works and the constituent parts of our practice.

We hope to see some of you over the next two weekends in what we hope will be sunny Suffolk X

Bird Life Spring 2021

Spring 2021 after a long drawn out sort of Winter. Incrementally light and warmth make their presence felt and with them come colour and activity, the birds are busy. As the eye catches impressions of blues, reds and yellows at speed something resonates with us… maybe we should be a bit quicker in our movements and show a bit of colour ourselves? Another response is to let some of this activity inform our Art; narrate parts of the unfolding story visually, hold and cherish little parts of nature waking up for just a bit longer. We’ve cleared the stage for some of our visitors in these collaborative pieces to speak themselves as the days get longer.

Our shop windows

Study for Winter Sycamore, January 2021

In this Winter double Lockdown of weather and worse, more and more we have found ourselves prone to bouts of what could be called ‘the restless pen or brush’. Times when sketches and studies flow like series of glimpses filling our lines of vision. Working fast, exploring ideas in notepads and sketchbooks, a series of lines, textures and methods mixed with chance encounters; sometimes unrealised avenues of expression, hinting explosively and occasionally at futures or bigger directions. These studies that still flow are pristine moments caught in time. They are so essential to what we do. This blog entry is another glimpse after all, towards whatever may come as the days grow longer. We are delighted if one of these studies draws the eye.

With this in mind we have opened an Etsy shop, simply as an outlet for these small works; often brief, small in size and left unframed and unmounted. It is a joy to match a glimpse with another eye here from time to time. We will also add print runs to this site.

We will continue to maintain our own shop here on our website. This is reserved simply for cards, prints and calendars (which we produce at the end of the year).

Galleries are hugely important to us and we exclusively deal with Bell Fine Art and London Contemporary Art for substantive realised paintings.

‘Layers Unlocked, Bury St Edmunds 2020’

We particularly wanted to work on a piece that matched the dates of the second lockdown in England exactly. The restrictions imposed have focused us all, as a nation on what is on our doorstep and we decided to settle on the market in our town of Bury St Edmunds as a very pertinent subject for collaboration. Glimpsing our market Square just prior to these latest restrictions, we imagined the layers of history unfolding before us; as if unlocked again as we became locked.

We have explored layered urban environments in London before but in Lockdown the aperture of vision came closer to home and Bury St Edmunds our local market town has become our focus. Different era’s and drama’s, building frontages and products on sale shift in and out of focus on the same plot of land and become a story in themselves that we wanted to explore with the silence of the Pandemic as context but very much continuity being the story.

We accessed archived images of Cornhill and the Buttermarket from the late Victorian period to present day and together with our sketches, we began to overlay the composition with the characters who have walked our streets and the business facades that have framed one of the centre points of our town. Moyses Hall, the astounding building in the far left hand corner of the square has been the corner stone for 900 years. It has stood for centuries, bearing witness to plague, upheaval and change, as well as trade, celebration and commemoration. We have had a market in Bury since James I granted permission for it to be held twice a week in the 1600s and it is a back bone to Bury St Edmunds.

Once the layering began, we soon realised the importance of leaving some areas clear, both to evoke a sense of social distancing that we are abiding by these days, but also to punctuate the painting with pauses which is so essential with an intricate painting. We have aimed to suggest strong rhythms throughout these spaces; connecting the past and present, crowding and isolation and our individual approach to the collaborative process.

As with most of our work, we enjoy twists and surprises and here the buildings and market stalls began to suggest larger figures…. even St Edmund makes an appearance!

‘Layers Unlocked, Bury St Edmunds 2020’
Watercolour, ink and pencil on St Cuthberts Mill Bockingford rough paper 76 x 56cm

Lockdown deja vu – 8th November 2020

A subject we return to is the urban environment and its layers. Occasionally, substantive reference points persist over time, but even immense structures eventually fall into disrepair and decay and inevitably memory, at this point memory becomes as much of a reference point as anything that persists. We’ve explored this concept by the Thames before, through briefly glimpsed wisps of people floating between old and new layers in ‘Bridge’ 2017. We returned to layered history once again in ‘Limehouse, One Dock Two Views’ 2019.

Now that a new Lockdown influences our daily movements our aperture of view has shifted subtly to our local town, Bury St Edmunds and it’s market. In existence for at least 1000 years, the essential medieval grid of the town and how it related to the Abbey has persisted. The huge Abbey is long gone, though amorphous architectural ruins strewn across the public gardens remain. The Buttermarket and it’s two weekly markets has changed over the years, but remains lively, though Lockdown has changed the movement of people. The reference points remain, the ancient grid now overlayed with a strict 2 metre rule to ensure social distancing. The Moyses Hall stands sentry over 900 years of layers and textures that have changed, adapted and renewed with the town’s remarkable history. This opens the market to a collaborative piece that gives us an opportunity to spotlight both the temporary nature of people in their environments and the persistence of people and activity among their reference points.

This will be a new subject for Lorna who has lived and grown very accustomed to the town over the last 5 years and Stephen’s paintings from 1997 already represent a layer glimpsed in the past that he’s keen to revisit.

SOLD ‘Market 1’ Stephen Kirin 1997 watercolour
SOLD ‘Market 2’ Stephen Kirin 1997 watercolour

We look forward to updating you with progress.

Butterflies 2020

It’s been a year of butterflies, noticed more perhaps as our own colours have ebbed a little amidst the duress of the virus. Whole life cycles of Red Admirals, Commas, Cabbage Whites, Peacocks, Speckled Woods, Orange Tips, Gatekeepers, Common Blues, Meadow Browns and Ringlets have been mapped out in front of us from start to end through each change. An unstoppable flood of colour and abundance on the wing, whilst pallid days of worry and Lockdown stopped us from being abundant.

These butterfly collaborations are on reflection, our claim for some hope back. The virus dampens hope and aspiration, can take taste and smell, but will never take the scent or sense of freedom and the butterflies of 2020 have fed and nourished this within us, all of this long year.

Here are some of these little garden visitors to our home in Suffolk:

Angels of St Mary’s church Part 1

This period of lockdown amidst Pandemic has been such a challenging, confusing and emotional journey for so many of us who find ourselves out of all recognisable comfort zones. Just before lockdown, but very aware of the immensity of what was coming, we suffered a very human “belly punch” moment of bad news about a beloved pet’s chances of surviving a grim diagnosis. We found a need to be quiet amidst beauty and grandeur that was accessible nevertheless to human interaction and visited St Mary’s church in Bury St Edmunds. The Angels have supported the hammer beam roof for 600 years without a grimace or slipped disc and their permanence and presence as a backdrop to so many lives and moments held our attention when we needed it to. When Lockdown inevitably came and during the subsequent last weeks of our cat’s life it was the Angels we returned to; initially The King and Queen and in progress, as I write, Gabriel. As Artists it is not difficult to move along timelines of history and grasp some of the contexts and compositional challenges the Artisans, craftspeople and designers of the day would have debated whilst visualising the impact and success of their work. We find ourselves having the same conversation 600 years later. Over these weeks we have worked on our Angels during a time that is not so easy and we find ourselves thanking them for being there yesterday, today and tomorrow whilst carrying on the conversation.

‘The King’

‘The Queen’


To the Mill!

We’ve been invited, as Ambassadors of St Cuthberts Mill Art papers to visit their factory near Wells in Somerset to see how their world renowned paper is produced and the high environmental standards that make their production sustainable. Water used in the process travels a matter of metres from the River Axe, before returning to the same river, cleaner than when extracted, leaving a negligible carbon footprint. We are delighted to have the opportunity to see this first hand later this year.

Our new studio nestles in the Lark Valley, the very matter of nature suffusing our perspectives, in turn makes us value the materials we use and the way they are produced. We have no doubt that new work will illustrate the holistic synchronicity between artist and material.

We look forward to sharing our visit to St Cuthberts Mill later this year and thank them for this wonderful opportunity.

Stephen and Lorna