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Amanda Caines

There is a history of self taught artists in my family. My great grandfather, a circus and canal boat painter and my grandfather a jeweler, creating his work from old broken necklaces and gold wire. My mother's family were seamstresses; so many of my early years were spent at my grandmother's knee, watching her embroider or crochet dresses for me and my sisters. My early passion for colour and decoration stem from visits to the Greek church with my grandmother. I was captivated by the sumptuous paintings and mysterious icons, embellished with a myriad of precious stones and swathed in gold jewelry, diamond rings and bracelets, all donated to the church in exchange for the hope of prayers answered. Tamatas particularly intrigued me, small squares of silver or metal stamped with images of various body parts arranged carefully around the icons and held in place by pale pink, grey or cream ribbons.

As a child I was a chronic astmatic. When ill and having to lie still my mother would give me her jewelry box, allowing me to cover myself in her necklaces, brooches and rings. I knew the history behind each piece, some items having been passed down from generation to generation. Even though I was very young, the sense of history, ownership and family connection to these pieces was not lost on me.


I have always led a creative life, collecting anything that caught my eye and using it in my work. I love using materials that are discarded: wood, stone, objet trouve and metal all lend a sense of history and continuity to my work. It was a trip to Mexico that inspired me to create my art on a full time basis. Traveling is a valuable source of research to me, each country inspiring a new collection of work.

I adore texture, colour, pattern, sparkle and I am also drawn to tribal art and its primal rawness. I'm also attracted to folk art which I consider work from the soul. I am inspired by religious icons, landscape, poetry, literature and craft in creating my art.

I take the overlooked and tend the found to create hand stitched and embroidered pieces using semi precious stones, wood, objet trouve, silver and glass. The process of creating is magical, mystical and playful.

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