Works of the Heart | The Artists / Style & Stories

31st January 2017

In December last year we began looking for a variety of artists to showcase their work in our windows. After many long hours, and over 900 entries, we finally selected 11 artists for our 11 windows. These artworks will be on display for the month of February but before they are installed we wanted to share each piece with you…  

Lucy May Schofield, Blue Hour (The Last Light), 2016. Cyanotype prints on kozo washi. (Bath store)

Schofield’s work is a unique record of sunlight on the Winter Solstice. In the days leading up to the shortest day of the year she imposed upon herself a routine of hand making 160 sheets of Japanese kozo washi (mulberry paper). Before sunrise on 21st December 2016 she painted each sheet of paper with a UV sensitive coating and attached them to the interior wall of a derelict shooting hut in the Northumberland National Park. As light touched the paper between dawn and dusk each piece became a print of the day’s light.


Doreen Barnaville, A Reflection, 2016. Indigo dye on raw linen. (Cheltenham store)

This work has been made following the shibori technique, a Japanese resist dyeing method which produces patterns on fabric. In this instance the artist has used raw linen, folding, stitching and dyeing it with indigo many times over. Though carefully planned, delight is found in the unpredictability of the process, each vat of indigo behaving differently, the alchemy relying on a balance of temperature, alkalinity, reduction and even weather. It is only on unpicking the stitches that the finished piece is revealed.



Nic Pehkonen, Circular Openings, 2016. Emulsion paint on canvas. (Harrogate store)

Pehkonen’s work occupies a space between painting and sculpture. It is created from unstretched canvas that is cut to shape both before and during the painting process. Architecture is a key influence on his work and the decaying concrete structures of the ex-military site at Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast are a recurring reference point.  


Shona McGovern, is there anybody up, 2016. Stoneware, earthenware, porcelain. (Marylebone store)

These fragile and imperfect stoneware forms were made in response to a night spent in a hospital in Donegal. In the silence a constant refrain could be heard, interrupting the stillness. The words came from Maud, who lay in the adjacent room. Through the night she continued to utter not so much a question as a statement: ‘is there anybody up’. These forms represent the earth and texture of this wild part of Ireland while holding something of Maud’s soft nocturnal song. 


Alice-Andrea Ewing, Alde & Ore, 2016. Bronze. (Cambridge store) 

Alde & Ore are maps of Suffolk rivers – the landscape of Ewing’s childhood – but informed by rebbilibs, the navigational charts of the Marshall Islanders. These sea charts were traditionally created from coconut fronds and served as informal memory aids, only interpretable by the maker. Ewing’s ‘river maps’ are made from bronze, using the ancient method of lost wax casting.

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Victoria Furnival-Adams, Toadstool Blossom, 2016. Stoneware, porcelain, willow. (Llandleilo store)

This piece is inspired by the delicate Japanese illustrations of Sakura blossom and by October fungi – respectively heralding spring and autumn. Each toadstool has been made from porcelain or stoneware and attached to pieces of willow. The glazes have been mixed together by the artist to form her own palette of colours.


Sharon Adams, Tool Museum, 2016. Native wood, thorns, bristle, copper, silver and recycled textiles. (Westbourne Grove store)

A set of functionless tools made out of foraged native wood and thorns with copper or silver elements. The pieces are inspired by historical implements that have fallen out of everyday use. Adams invites the viewer to imagine what they might be used for and to reflect on contemporary man’s detachment from the skilful use of our hands…


Rachel Grimshaw, Offset, 2015. Stoneware. Parian Line, 2011. Porcelain. (Kings Road store)

Cartier-Bresson described a photograph as capturing a ‘frozen moment’. In her work Grimshaw explores how firing a material fixes forever an impression or a gesture. She creates her sculptures by squeezing the clay, allowing cloth-like folds to form, and by impressing it with found objects, the origins of which are occasionally hinted at. 

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Mark Stopforth, Northern Edge III, 2016. Oil, pencil and charcoal on paper. (Oxford store)

Stopforth grew up in the Fens of East Anglia and impressions of this landscape are still relevant in his work today. He is drawn to untamed moorlands, fells and estuaries. Using oil, pencil and charcoal he seeks to evoke something of these wild and unpredictable spaces.


Suzanne Antonelli, Home, 2016. Willow, wood, string. (Brighton store)

This work is made from natural materials sourced locally in Norwich. The wooden structure symbolises the home, while the thatched willow provides shelter. Through its geometric simplicity it quietly celebrates warmth and belonging. 


Sviatlana Dzemidovich, Black Ice, 2016. Ink on paper. (Islington store)

Black Ice is inspired by Castle Hill in Vitebsk, which sits on the Dvina river. It is a city made famous by Chagall’s colour paintings yet today it is rarely depicted. Using ink on paper Dzemidovich has sought to connect the city’s modernity with its past and to capture her own experience of this timeless place.


We also asked three of our favourite bloggers to visit their local TOAST to see the Works of the Heart window, see their trips here.

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  • these works warm my heart, thank you so much for bringing them to my attention. very grateful

  • Beautiful and inspirational work…well done Toast for supporting these artists and displaying their work. Now I want to visit every shop.

  • All perfectly synchronised with the “feel” of Toast. Beautiful👏

  • No words. Simply fabulous. What talent people have (and inspired of Toast to promote it this way). Thank you.

  • Suzanne Stern-Gillet

    I love Northern Edge 3. Any more from this artist?

  • evocative and elegant works – congrats to all involved.

  • What a brilliant idea Toast.
    More please, and yes, wouldn’t it be brilliant to be able to buy art works of this quality in your shops.
    I particularly loved the repetitive work of Lucy May Schofield recording the sunlight in The Last Light.

  • inspirational work

  • Mary MacCarthy

    Such an interesting collection, and a very good idea to have works of art on view in your shops, rather than in galleries. I hope it is a great sucess and you do it again. Much enjoyed.

  • Very interesting – love the indigo and make similar marks myself as do many textile artists and contemporary quilters.

  • Antonia Gabites

    What a great idea. Have you thought about actually selling artwork in some of your stores? I would certainly be interested. You’re doing a wonderful thing – supporting and sponsoring artists and their work. Good for you

    • Hi Antonia, the contact details of all the artists chosen for our windows will be available in stores, and we are sure they would be happy to discuss if you’d like to purchase any of the artworks. The Works of the Heart campaign will be running throughout February only but as we were over whelmed with the response to the competition we may well do something similar in the future. Thanks, TOAST

  • Hilary Sinclair

    What a fantastic collection, lovely idea.

  • S. Carolina Bagnato

    I like all that you show.

  • I love the work you have selected . The quality is superb and each artist evokes a strong atmosphere and mood. I particularly like works by Rachel Grimshaw and Shona Mc’Govern. What a great idea to exhibit these works

  • wonderful : touched the heart : opened the mind : seized the eye : offered a moment of reflection

  • Have very much enjoyed viewing this art work.
    I work in mixed media so feel inspired by the variety