WHO WE ARE ...
Blended Monkey was founded by husband and wife team, Simon and Louise Taggart, whose studios are based in a small village on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border, where the surroundings and changing seasons provide ample inspiration for some of the designs and ideas that can be found in their pieces.
They are keen supporters of and fundraisers for the Mind charity, and the past few years have seen Simon and Louise focus their efforts on offering creative therapy workshops to provide rehabilitation and therapy for people of all ages who are suffering with brain trauma, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
They are also increasingly seeing students who are coping with poor mental health (depression, anxiety, PTSD …) often resulting from stressful jobs which take their toll physically & psychologically.
The regular practice of any art or craft is incredibly beneficial in the treatment of those with poor mental health or who are rehabilitating after a brain trauma. Simon and Louise have seen amazing results in some of their students who come to them regularly to create with wood & clay. They work together with care associations, council departments & individuals to tailor their half- or full-day workshops to suit the individual needs of the student. They really enjoy sharing their woodturning and ceramics expertise and their lovely environment to contribute towards the rehabilitation and therapies of people in need.
In a world where it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a truly special gift that is unique and has not been mass produced for a hurried market, the aim of Blended Monkey is to offer a selection of hand-crafted, bespoke gifts, artwork and collections made from the natural materials of silk, clay and wood - and no two items are ever the same. Simon & Louise also work together to create multi-media pieces which celebrate the fusion of wood, clay and silk.
The silk collection can be worn, draped over chairs or hung on the wall as art. Louise has created a series of unique, intricate designs which she paints on scarves, ties, handkerchiefs and cushions. In keeping with the blended theme, some of the designs have become the inspiration for collections, for example the Seascape Collection, which include her clay pieces and also Simon's wood art.
The ceramics gallery offers robust and utilitarian pieces which are pleasing to the eye and tactile, as well as one-off sculptural artworks.
The aroma of the beautifully turned wooden pieces, coupled with that instinctive need to reach out and feel their smooth surfaces, lend Simon's hand-crafted, wood-turned collection such a lovely, unique edge.
Ceramicist & Artist
I studied Art & Design at the Falmouth School of Art & Design in 1989, and have been interested in various art forms, design and applied arts all my life. I am a member of the CPA (Craft Potters Association).
I moved to Germany when I was 20 years old, wrote and recorded my own music, opened up a shop in Munich (where I also sold my silk paintings), became a freelance translator and had my daughter … I returned to the UK about 19 years ago and continued to translate German to English from my office at home. I met my husband, Simon, 10 years ago, and we enjoy the challenge and the fun of combining our artistic disciplines.
I’ve spent the last 23 years working in the IT industry, and it wasn’t until my wife treated me to a birthday present of a woodturning course some years ago that I caught the woodturning bug. Where possible, I make my pieces from locally sourced wood. A turned piece can be highly tactile and it can take some time to determine the appropriate finish for a piece once I have made it.
I am the Secretary of the Ely Guild of Woodturners and regularly attend their monthly meetings.
I really enjoy the fact that Louise’s ceramics and my woodturning are so in tune. We can replicate each other’s ideas, but in different media; the mechanisms are very similar.
Each item you see on this site has been made as a one-off and, although sets of certain products are available, they will all differ slightly as they are made individually by hand. All items are either oil or wax finished and, where necessary, food-safe.
Louise uses a variety of stoneware and porcelain clays for her pieces. No two items are exactly the same, as they are each made individually by hand. All the utilitarian pieces you see on this site are food-safe and can be used in the dishwasher, oven, refrigerator and microwave.
Her work includes a variety of thrown pieces (on a wheel), slab pieces (assembled by hand using sections of clay) and sculpted pieces (simply made by hand using a variety of tools).
The 100% silk used in the various scarves, cushion covers and ties is a ponge 5 silk which is beautiful, floaty and lightweight. The edges are hand-rolled and hand-stitched.
The colours are fixed and are machine washable at 30°C or below and can be ironed on a low to medium heat.