curiouser and curiouser...

Welcome to Curiotopia!

Curiotopia is a portfolio site  featuring the work of artist and maker Jane Gaffikin.

Jane has worked as a freelancer in the outdoor arts world since 2018, however she has been a creator at heart for much longer than that. Originally studying textile design at Huddersfield Polytechnic she subsequently worked in a ceramic factory, studied for an MA in Multimedia and worked in university administration.

During that time she has created constantly and patiently: from making mini cabinets of curiosity out of old pizza boxes to designing and sewing her own clothes; from writing & drawing an unpublished childrens picture book to making short animated digital films. She also gained experience volunteering with the Irish street theatre  company Macnas where she worked both with the costume department and in their workshop helping to clad & cover giant puppets & images for the Macnas Parade. At the same time she was also volunteering & working frequently with outdoor arts curiosities Rag & Bone, being their in house costume designer, photographer and production support as well as a contributing maker and puppeteer.

Having finally grown up and left her proper job, Jane is now free to fully unleash her creativity. She collaborates frequently with her partner Dave ( making puppets and animated beasts and has amassed experience making work for companies such as Walk the Plank, Wild Rumpus and Macnas. In 2023 she was Assistant Designer on the Herd project, produced by Artichoke, where she helped to design, make, & manage the build of 23 singing sheep sculptures for the Kirklees Year of Music.

Where is Curiotopia?

In 1516 Sir Thomas More published the book Utopia which posited an ideal society living in perfection on an imaginary island. More created the name Utopia by combining the Greek words ou (“not, no”) and topos (“place”).

The history and use of the word utopia combines notions of an ideal place, happiness and perfection and locates them in an imaginative and unobtainable space.

Curious, the adjective, can mean a desire to investigate and learn; inquisitive interest, nosiness; strange, novel, unexpected or odd.

For Jane, Curiotopia exists as an island in the ocean of the imagination, a strange and novel place where all sorts of unexpected and curious things can be discovered.