Perhaps we are all exiles, to some degree, each carrying an idea of home within us.
‘Home can be a place where we live but it is also an idea, a multi-layered spatial imaginary, where a multiplicity of memories, experiences and stories are simultaneously available ‘ (Mantel 2003).
I seek to evoke the simultaneous experiences of places and moments, saturated with often ambiguous layers of meanings, none of which are fixed. Art not only evokes times and places but can also become a place maker, a landmark.
With a background in sculpture, drawing, woven tapestry, installation, theatre and artists books my work is multi sensory and multi layered, referencing patterns in nature, elemental forces, music, time and cultures.
I work to public and private commission, recently creating a series of stainless steel leaping and running hares that took the form of joyous three dimensional stainless steel rod drawings in space bounding across a public green space on a new Persimmon Homes development in Salisbury, Wiltshire. I am not bound by one material or way of working, but gather inspiration and ideas from across disciplines, thinking sideways and seeking out unexpected connections. I particularly relish interdiscilinary collaborations, such as my ongoing creative project with The Piano Shop in Bath, responding to music through sculptural installations using recycled pianos. We were delighted to extend this collaboration through recent commissions for the band Coldplay, making handcrafted pianos for performance and bringing together antique textiles and textile metods from across cultures for the set dressings.
I have extensive experience as an artist educator, lecturer and module leader, devising and leading projects in schools, museums, theatres and through socially engaged practice. I am also Head of Education at Roche Court Educational Trust near Salisbury, Wiltshire where aim to empower disadvantaged children, young people and vulnerable adults through art http://rochecourteducationaltrust.co.uk/meet-the-team/
I recently co-authored a published paper Geography and Art: Encountering place across disciplines outlining the findings of an interdisciplinary, multi media, creative learning research project that I co-devised and led with professor Owain Jones and Dr. Rebecca Schaaf at Bath Spa University. The project, entitled Lines of Desire, involved academics and students from across the disciplines of Art, Environmental Humanities, Creative Writing, Film and Creative Media working with the artists Richard Long, Sue Lawty and Richard White in collaboration with the Education Department at the Arnolfini Gallery. Together we explored ways of mapping journeys and places with our bodies, using natural and found materials and through digital sound maps.
Here's a short film made by some of the participants about the project:
Lines of Desire film
I am fascinated by the composite and sometimes fictionalised notion of home that we each carry deep within us and how to embody this. Work in this series includes Why Beauty Matters, 15 small houses made out of iron wire and ethically sourced butterfly wings and a kinetic installation, Swarm,. Seemingly unrelated yet parallel research informs this work: Nabakov's migration theories of the Polyommatus Blue butterfly, the historic and current flight of refugees, patterns found in flocking, murmurations, snowfall and music composition.
In Reflections on Exile (1984) critic Edward Said offers insight into living in exile, of the plurality of vision that gives rise to an awareness of simultaneous dimensions, likening it to the musical theory of contrapuntal motion where two or more independent melodic lines occur simultaneously. In my work I take a similarly multilayered approach, drawing inspiration from place, materiality, music, history, story and nature, weaving together the known, the fictional and the intuited. Referencing the complexity, patterns and fleeting cycles in nature, the long distance migration of butterflies and swallows, concepts around chance, critical play, interdisciplinary mapping and translating.
I am currently playing with the possibilities of temporary, pop up and portable environments, objects and installations - a tangible version of that nebulus personal notion of 'home'. I am seeking to create my own version of the Nomads rug, at different scales and with differing materials and means, such as in my inflatable drawings and miniature, fragile tokens.
CV & Education
2016 MFA Bath Spa University
2013 PGCE Greenwich University
Further & Higher Education
1987 B.A (Hons) Edinburgh College of Art. Edinburgh University
Drawing, Tapestry & Structures
1989 - present freelance artist and educator
2012 - present, associate lecturer Bath Spa University, Bath School of Art & Design. Creative Arts and Contemporary Arts Practice BA courses
2016 - 2017 Acting Subject leader Mixed Media Textiles, Contemporary Arts Practice BA, Creative Arts BA, Bath Spa University
2017 - present Head of Education, Roche Court Educational Trust, New Art Centre, Wiltshire
2014-15 Theo Moorman Award (Tapestry)
2006 Southern Arts Individual Artist Award (to create new sculptures for a solo show)
2002 Southern Arts International Travel Award (International Performing Arts,Kerala, India)
2000 Arts Council Year of the Artist Award (Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and BBC Springwatch)
1989 Yorkshire Arts Individual Artist Award
1989 Crafts Council Setting Up Award (now known as Hothouse)
1986 Andrew Grant Travel Award, Edinburgh College of Art (Paris)
Selected Recent Commissions, Exhibitions and Projects
2019-2020 The Salisbury Museum. Redesigning the Fashion Gallery with involvement of a group of local young people and in collaboration with heritage, design, theatre, sound and digital professionals
2019 Coldplay, Everyday Life live album launch Amman, Jordan and internationally. Lead artist with the team at The Piano Shop Bath, creating pianos for performance and textile set dressing for the band Coldplay- theme repair, kintsugi, mending, textile techniques from across cultures.
2019 The Piano Shop Bath, Joyful Sound: In the Pink
2018 The Piano Shop Bath, Joyful Sound: weaving light
2017 The Piano Shop Bath, 'Joyful Sound' sculptural installation visualising sound.
2017 Persimmon Homes. A series of 4 stainless steel tube, scribbly hare sculptures. Public sculpture commission, Salisbury.
2017 Home: The Poetics of Space. Dark Matter group pop up exhibition for Fringe Arts Bath FaB17.
2016-17 Renaissance Menagerie, exhibition at Lane House Arts, Bath with painter Leslie Glenn Damhus
2016 Chanel. Series of sculptural woven rattan forms and contemporary rattan Christmas trees for Christmas displays. Chanel New Bond Street, Selfridges Oxford Street, Harrods and Heathrow Terminal 5, London. Also Selfridges Manchester and Dublin.
2016 MFA Degree Show. Bath School of Art & Design.
2015 Lines of Desire, interdisciplinary Art & Geography research project with Richard Long, Sue Lawty, Dr Rebecca Schaaf and Professor Owain Jones, Bath Spa University and Arnolfini Bristol.
2015 Dark Matters. Group exhibition at Bath Artist Studios
2014 The Children’s Museum of Denver, USA, 3 large willow, wire and steel mice sculptures on a 5m diameter suspended steel ring for permanent exhibit.
2012 The Conran Shop. 50 suspended wire sculptures for Spring window installation. Michelin House, Chelsea.
2012 Boxford Masques, Welford Park outdoor theatre production. Set & costume design.
2011 Basingstoke Council, Beggarwood Park. Letter cut green oak sculptural signposts and waymarkers in collaboration with Gary Breeze.
2010 Watermill Theatre, Bullets and Beetroot Lips. Set and costume design.
2009 RHS Gardens Hyde Hall. Installation of 6 wire hare sculptures in the grounds.
2008 Cotswold Water Park. 3m tall Laser cut steel Bittern gateway sculptures and smaller waymarkers.
2008 David Wilson Homes, Basingstoke. Public Newt mosaic plaza.
2008 Daylesford Organic. Kinetic willow and linen scarecrow for show garden at Chelsea Flower Show (Silver Gilt).
2007 Watermill Theatre, River of Dreams. West Berkshire Federation of Schools set and costume design and outreach art project with 6 primary schools.
2006 The Romance of the Rose. Environmental art and sculpture installation in the grounds of The Watermill Theatre, Newbury.
2005 Carnival. Solo exhibition n the grounds of the Watermilll Theatre, Newbury
2005 Kneehigh Theatre Co. Techno wings for Wagstaffe the Wind Up Boy.
1997 Lead Artist, V&A, International Museums Education Conference: The Raphael Cartoons.
1996 Tapestry artist in residence Victoria & Albert Museum, London http://www.vam.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/177693/4115_file.pdf