Jamie and I were introduced around fifteen years ago by a mutual friend who thought that the two people he knew who both made kinetic sculpture (mobiles) would probably have quite a lot in common! We have been married for 13 years and have been collaborating on art projects throughout that time alongside Jamie’s career in state education. We live and work in Ilkley with our two daughters.
Jamie and I believe passionately that mobiles possess a set of very specific formal and aesthetic qualities which make them relevant, compelling and unique in a number of ways. These are:
Balance – The world is held in a state of equilibrium which has led to the perfect conditions for life. It is only now that the natural world is at risk that we are coming to appreciate how delicate that balance is and how hard it is to recover it once it has been lost and this idea of the fragility of balance is what underpins our work. Mobiles involve the counter-balancing of different, often heavy, elements but the points of equilibrium are miniscule. A single breath blowing on the shapes can radically change the way the mobile turns and each and every part of a mobile is crucial to the balance of the whole. This is suggestive of ideas of community and value.
Freedom within a structure – The individual elements within each mobile have a limited sphere of movement but within that space they explore every possible configuration and relationship. It is impossible to predict the ever changing shapes that a mobile will create as it moves.
Mindfulness and engagement – The fluid movement of mobiles is engaging and they invite the viewer to search for the next shape, the next configuration. In this way they draw us in and ground us in the present moment, encouraging mindfulness and contemplation. As a result we have found that mobiles can perform a therapeutic function. Someone once said of them that “paradoxically the movement creates a stillness in the viewer, rather like watching the sea or the flight of a bird.”
Secondary forms – Mobiles invite us to look at the changing spaces generated in-between the shapes and how they interact with their physical context by creating shadows and framing what is behind them. These shadows and spaces can be seen as aesthetic experiences in their own right, in effect secondary artforms created by the original artwork as it interacts with its environment.
“I have always loved Juliet and Jamie’s work and admired it at exhibitions, but I never anticipated how much I would enjoy living with a mobile in my home. It has become a focal point in our living space: we watch it move, observe the shadows it creates at different times of the day and all of my family have commented on its calming nature. The oak and ash compliment the landscape beyond. It’s unique, beautifully made and a very special work of art.”
“What I love about Jamie and Juliet’s mobiles is that they give me such pleasure. I’ve hung mine in the dining area of my kitchen, and the altering light and air currents of the room reflect on the mobile under which I sit watching it change and move.”
Lady Diana Brittan
‘As a depression sufferer, to gaze at the silent, gentle movements casting weird and wonderful shadows on the wall has been therapeutic. My mobile is a beautifully crafted, moving piece of art. Thank you Juliet and Jamie.’
‘Our mobile gives me a sense of lightness and movement. I love the shapes and smooth, patterned wood if you look closely. It is ever-changing.’
Professor Janet Cade, Leeds University
‘It is the silent harmonies which are endlessly fascinating.’
Ian Bone, Violinist
We are passionate about sharing the qualities of mobile making with other people. Balance is omnipresent in all of our lives and I find that both children and adults are fascinated to think about this. Finding a tiny point of balance is something we all do all the time in various ways, and articulating it within the frame of a workshop using a balance is, we think, very useful.
I have carried out workshops with a wide range of participants, from school groups alongside larger scale commissions (https://julietandjamiegutch.com/portfolio/a-murmuration-of-starlings/), family and children’s refugee and asylum seeker workshops (https://julietandjamiegutch.com/portfolio/playing-with-balance-workshop-at-bevan-healthcare/,https://julietandjamiegutch.com/portfolio/playing-with-balance/), and the Skipton Women’s Refugee Group.
We have carried out workshops with:
All Saints Primary School, Ilkley
Moorfield School, Ilkley
Cramlington High, Northumberland
Bevan Healthcare, Bradford
Wharfedale Refugee Response, Ilkley
Skipton Women’s Refugee Group
Outside the Box Cafe, Ilkley
Mobile design kits:
We are passionate about sharing the joy of making mobiles and have created two mobile design kits to launch at the Ilkley Arts Christmas Fair. Both kits use everyday objects such as paper-clips, matchsticks, and small paper lanterns which are transformed into stylish, suspended artwork. The idea behind both kits is that the person who buys one or who is given one makes the mobile unique in the way that they finish it. These durable artworks can then be hung in the home to enjoy.
We have made mobiles on a large scale for big public and corporate atrium spaces such as John Lewis, BP and various hospitals around the country and on a smaller scale for domestic interiors. These new kits draw on that experience and combine a sleek hanging system with the potential for individual design.
One kit – the ‘lantern mobile – uses small paper lanterns and involves creating a design on these which move gently in natural air currents once balanced. LED bulbs for the lanterns which hook easily onto the wire structure of the lanterns are included too.
The other kit is called the ‘Meteor mobile’ and involves colouring or creating patterns on three different sized polystyrene balls and then covering them with coloured matchsticks.
Each kit comes in a presentation box with step by step instructions on how to design, assemble and balance the mobiles.
They can soon be bought on our Etsy page
We are currently developing our wooden mobiles to be fully sustainable. This includes every material which we use, from the wood to the glue and the hanging wire. More details to follow.