Trader Profile-Hunter and Collector
We recently had the pleasure of catching up with one of The Frome Independent’s longest-standing traders – Tess from Hunter + Collector – you can find Hunter + Collector on Market Place in our Designer Maker section on market days. Read on for more about what makes Tess tick!
Tell us a bit about you and your business!
I am an artist based in Nunney and I create artworks using antique insect specimens from historical collections– butterflies, moths, beetles and gilded bees. My work celebrates the tradition of collecting, reflects on memory and preservation, fragility and time, and is inspired by a deep connection with the natural world. All specimens in my pieces are non-endangered and sustainably-sourced – some are over 100 years old.
Where do you get your inspiration – what motivates you to do what you do?
I have spent years researching museum entomology collections in the UK and Australia, and have learned directly from professional entomologists, who have become my mentors. They are my greatest inspiration. When I’m not geeking out with my bug guys, the inspiration for my work is everywhere. From museum ethnographic collections, the symmetry of medieval churches, antique embroideries, the sculptural work of Steve Dilworth, a bare tree-line in winter…
Why did you choose to come and trade at the Frome Independent?
I am proud to say that I am one of – if not THE oldest-serving traders at the Indie! Over 12 years ago I started out with a random collection of mid-century knick-knacks in the Market Yard carpark, when it was still under the auspices of what was known as the Frome Flea. My journey has evolved at a similar pace to the Independent and I’m delighted to be selling my work in the centre of the town I love, and have called home for over 20 years.
What do you like about market trading – why not just sell online or through retail outlets?
The chemistry that exists between a person and an artwork is a little bit of magic. I really like to be there at that moment, to witness the connection. And of course to explain and educate people about insect collecting… and the wondrous world of entomology generally.
Tell us about your own favourite or best-selling product. How much work goes into creating it, why do you think this is your strongest product?
All my pieces are one-offs… so I don’t have a ‘best-seller’ as such. My tiny little frames containing a single butterfly are always popular, although I have been known to sell high value pieces at the market too.
What is your favourite Frome shop, or stall to visit at The Frome Independent?
I am in love with my market wifey’s work (we have been neighbours for years) – Hannah Brown. She creates her own handmade frames which contain stunningly beautiful dried plant specimens.
The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles. I named one of my daughters after the central character.
Describe your dream day off:
Wake up to a freshly baked croissant lovingly shipped directly from Paris to my bedside, drink from a fountain of coffee, ride to my studio on the back of a palomino pony, spend a few deliriously happy hours creating future masterpieces in my studio, to be then whisked to a Mediterranean terrace for a sundowner, followed a dip in a warm ocean at dusk, and dinner by the light of a thousand candles. Then to bed under a canopy of shooting stars. Is it all too much ask??
What are you listening to right now?
I spend most of my time alone in my studio so I listen to A LOT of music and radio. I love Guy Garvey’s show on 6 Music. Favourites on my Spotify at the moment are First Aid Kit, Self Esteem, and the perennial Nick Cave; as well as revisiting the back catalogues of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Joni Mitchell. I have a wonderful sonic relationship with another artist – we share playlists that inspire and connect us. It is a joy in my life!
What are you cooking/ eating / drinking at the moment?
I am a faithful drinker of one glass of red wine each and every day. I am partial to a Negroni at the weekends… I’m a huge fan of Frome’s finest restaurant The High Pavement, and I have a guilty obsession with prawn cocktail crisps.
Thanks Tess! No guilt required where crisp-eating is concerned 😉