Artworks

It`s hard to pin point what has been most influential in my work, so many things have contributed; inspiring tutors, places, materials, exhibitions like, ‘sensations’, artists, countryside; all of it blurs together. I can`t remember a time when I didn`t make, I always loved to use my hands and make. I remember being as young as seven and not being able to let go when drawing and painting, I could never finish anything, it felt too distant, but making was much more instinctive and playful. Making has always been about the materials and exploring them. When I had the confidence to turn away from painting at university and embrace ‘making,’ I started to construct miniature paper environments. I think I was being more true to myself and that was probably a turning point for my practice.

During my MA these environments became room sized installations and I started to experiment with different fabrics and textile techniques. I was always encouraged to keep sketch books by artists and inspiring tutors, which helped to allow me to play and experiment with materials. It somehow felt safe in a sketch book! After my MA at the RCA, I started to make jewellery, because I couldn`t afford a studio I focused on developing jewellery. I always have a sketch book to hand and it`s still about playing, experimenting and using materials in different ways.

I realised both my artwork and jewellery had a strong link through my love of craft. I received a grant from the Arts Council to develop and integrate these two disciplines together. This resulted in ‘The Talking Tower’ exhibition at Turton Tower. Since this exhibition, both practices have continued to influence and inform the other. This has also resulted in me becoming even more interested in developing work that responds to a certain environment or building.

In the last few years laser cutting has become part of my practice, so use laser cutting to create detailed miniature environments or pictures made from walnut, mount board, fabric etc and room sized laser cut environments.

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Artworks blog


Project: Happiness…Beginning


I began the workshop with inspire, prepared for the difficulty that might arise in participants, (as so often does in myself), from the process of ‘freeing up.’ However as I often find my fears are in fact that- my own! The creativity and openness of the group squashed all these concerns. I wanted to allow the participants to lead on what they found most enjoyable, yet add challenge, which often means not following,…. but the reasoning around this is so participants are able to try out different ways to express themselves, and perhaps find or rediscover more natural ways…a paradox that makes my head spin! and a difficult balance that I won`t always get right.

Participants reflected that they became more at ‘ease’ with allowing themselves to doodle freely, even the exercise where they used their wrong hand to do the same doodle, was met with openness. With one group member actually preferring it. One group member commented that being, ‘asked to doodle almost made it feel harder to relax.’ I can relate to that…as soon as you`re asked to do something it makes it more conscious and the whole point of doodling is to not think about it! We also noticed, and I include myself in this, that once we looked at zentangle drawings for inspiration and tried to create our own, levels of frustration heightened and two participants wanted to begin again. There is something about letting go of the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and how you nurture that in a group.

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I am hoping as we relax into the sessions we`ll get freer and become more at ease with experimenting, which will hopefully lead to some discovery. I feel really excited to meet the group again and more relaxed about what will occur.

 

Project: HAPPINESS…


My first Project Happiness blog!….I`m so excited to be finally starting this project thanks to a lot of hard work and Arts Council funding. Throughout the project I am going to be working different adult groups around the Bolton area and schools as well, to create a large scale Mandala. The Mandala will be inspired by Bolton Museums` amazing collections. I am also going to make my own artwork as part of this funding, I`ll let you know more about that as it unfolds.

My first series of workshops is with Inspire in Blackburn….I`ve planned lots of doodling activities….I really want to approach this project in a different way than previous ones; there will be an outcome, but I want it to feel almost like it happened by accident! I want the process to be the focus and I am hoping to free the participants up, so that their doodles are celebrated as works of art and the creation of the Mandala feels like a natural journey.This process of ‘freeing up,’ is no easy task and something I struggle with,(and always will probably), so it will be a real challenge. I have found it can sometimes be met with resistance; even some children can find it very difficult. It seems to me to take more confidence, (for want of a better word), to allow yourself to just ‘be’ creatively. Not to mention the difficulties in facilitating this approach…but, I am hoping this challenge will bring a richness to the project.

I love this quote from Carl Rogers (1981) ” I have come to feel that the only learning which significantly influences behaviour is self-discovered.” For me there is nothing better than experimentation for some self-discovery; it`s like discovering through playing with the art materials.

A glimpse of some things from Bolton Museum that will be inspiring the workshops….

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Artwaves commission…


I took the very long train journey to Bridlington today, (which was absolute bliss i might add)! There`s nothing like some mindless pinteresting, window gazing and THINKING! to while away three hours!

I`d never been to Bridlington or Brid as the locals call it….so I was really excited to visit the beautiful Bridlington Spa building, where my installation would be installed as part of the Artwaves 2019 festival. I had a really inspiring session with Don- thanks so much and to all the Artists; it really helped to bring about more clarity.

I can not tell you how excited I was when the AMAZING technical team told me it was possible to hang my installation above the beautiful dome! I expected them to tell me why it wasn`t possible but instead- a casual,”yeh”- like it was nothing!!

Here are some pictures of inspiration from the building and of course the dome…..I`ll be back to install the piece in June in time for the festival.

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Researching Bolton Museums` collections….


I was really excited to spend an afternoon looking into the collections at the fabulous and newly opened Museum in Bolton. My daughter loves the museum….

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The  purpose of my visit this time, was to plan an engaging workshop, using the beautiful collections, with a group of adult refugees.

I wanted to see what I most connected with and begin to think about how i can work with these collections to improve  well being. The building is beautiful, so I immediately felt inspired by the architectural details…

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The painting room felt really peaceful; most of the space in the museum is full of exciting artefacts, so the painting room felt like a tranquil spot.

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I was particularly drawn to this photograph and the painting below…..

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something so ordinary, but so beautiful…

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and this painting makes me feel quite dreamy, as if I am sitting on that chair. I was drawn to the printmaking, which inspired a seed of an idea to do a printing workshop for the refugees….I also was really inspired by the Botany collection, so thought the two might link together nicely. There is something very visceral about relief printing, so I thought this might be a way to engage a group, where there will be a lot of barriers to engagement.

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There is also a miniature museum, with wooden people and museum stands to arrange, which I`d played with on visits with my daughter. Even the ceiling imitates the sky and there is a tree, as if in a park! It can`t fail to inspire and hopefully I can use it for other workshops linked with the collections.

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There are such a lot of exciting things to see these were just some of my highlights.