Artist Creates Film To Champion British Art, Design, And Crafts
Leanne Warren on set with Mr Mouse
Newcastle based artist, Leanne Warren has teamed up with arts and crafts site Folksy to create a short film celebrating British handmade gifts and products. Warren had the idea to make a film showcasing British craft in order to bring attention to the many creatives working in arts and crafts in the UK. The film, which is being featured on Folksy’s Instagram channel and website follows the story of a mouse living in a world consisting of handmade goods and is reminiscent of the magical stop-motion children’s animation TV shows of the 70s.
Leanne Warren, Artist and Creative behind Leapup said;
“I wanted the film to be a quirky, British craft kind of response to the John Lewis Christmas ad. It’s a mouse at home at Christmas, he’s quiet and introverted, but he’s a maker and loves surrounding himself with gorgeous British handmade goodness. Through his dreams and imagination, he is an explorer and adventurer having fun with the possible and even the impossible. We’ve also done something a bit fun and at the end of the ad made mild reference to the Elton John ad.”
In true handmade style, Warren wrote, animated, directed and edited the film, and approached over 30 different artisans and makers from the Folksy community to feature their work as part of the story. Her husband created the soundtrack and the in-laws were even enlisted to help make props. Although this film was deliberately pulled together on a tight budget the creative industries account for around £91.8bn in the UK economy with crafts, a predominantly sole trader endeavour, accounting for around £4bn. With increasing numbers turning to self-employment championing the cause seems a noble aim.
The film has already been well received by the online community.
Camilla Westergaard, from Folksy, said;
“We have loved working with Leanne on this. Buying British, and supporting creatives allows them to keep doing what they love. It’s about recognising the care, love, attention to detail and uniqueness of products, recognising the skill of the individual maker. Each idea, every stitch, every brush stroke, even fingerprints represent the care that goes into making. It’s about recognising what extraordinary talent we have in this country. It’s about keeping artists fed, helping put food on their tables, supporting them and their families. Folksy is a family, and this film has definitely been a family affair. We are even thinking of a valentines or mothers day sequel.”
Warren is keen not only to highlight the importance of arts and crafts to the UK economy but also in the value they can bring to personal fulfilment and positive mental health.
“My art and design skills are self-taught and have come to me relatively late in life. Now that I follow my creative urges that I was suppressing for so long, I feel so much more fulfilled and happier. As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, it is my own form of therapy and meditation. Designing brings me present in the here and now. So it means the world to me that people are getting behind Mr Mouse. I also love to buy handmade, knowing that a real human put care and attention into making something and that my pennies will be supporting them live their life, it’s a way of acknowledging their skills, supporting them and their families. There are so many talented makers in the UK, for example, the ridiculous talent that is Amanda Barnes from Amanda Barnes Textiles who made Mr Mouse, and I think it’s so important to support them. I would rather see my money supporting individual’s skills than huge corporations, it just feels right.