1) How would you describe your current practice (e.g. materials, techniques, themes, key questions, approach)?
My key passion is working with Printmaking and mixed media but I also love Photography and Painting and in the past year I’ve been working more with a wider range of media to extend and develop my work. The starting points to my work are very varied. It might be a found object such as pages of a book or it might be an idea to do with something or somewhere I’ve been. The process of making will often involve Historical research. For instance the group of pieces I made for the Wetherspoons space in Hitchin are inspired by three of the town’s past literary figures including George Orwell and Emily Davies. Davies was particularly fascinating to discover as she led the founding of Britain’s first women’s college that was sited in Hitchin.
2) What are you working on at the moment (forthcoming exhibitions, events, workshops etc)?
I’m currently in the midst of making a series of mixed media prints for a group Exhibition titled ‘Shifting States’ , to be held at The Espacio Gallery in Bethnal Green, London. The show, to be held at the end of November and start of December, will also feature the work of 14 other selected artists. I was invited to take part in this by Alison Lumb, whose work I really like, after she saw my work in the Mall Galleries. We’ve had some group conversations and It will be interesting to see what everyone has made for the show. Although everyone’s work is quite different, Alison and Erika have chosen artists whose work reveals a common interest.
3) What are your plans for the coming year?
I’m also really delighted to be working with the Artist Helen Terry on a collaborative project based around Wicken Fen, a National Trust reserve in Cambridgeshire. Helen makes wonderful large Textile based pieces which incorporate dyed, printed and stitched surfaces and although we work with fairly different media the experience of cross collaboration is very rewarding. We are currently at the stage of deciding on venues for the work which we plan to exhibit next year in the spring or summer. I’ve especially enjoyed the our field trips to the reserve and I am currently making drawn and mixed media responses to the photos and drawings collected at the site. It’s a magical place full of history and atmosphere.
I have also just moved into a larger studio on Waterhall Farm in Whitwell and looking forward to working on the larger scaled work. Being based in a more rural setting is very rejuvenating and I won’t be surprised if the presence of the landscape all around me, as well as the life on the farm, has an influence on future work.
4) What is the question you get asked most about your work and how do you answer it?
I do tend to get asked lots of questions about my process but its really tricky to answer as my practice is fairly multidisciplinary. At the moment I am working with Dry Point plates and combining Dry Point processes with Monoprint mark making. The final works will involve the addition of collaged and stitched surfaces. For the Wicken Fen project I intend to make some work which utilises the use of Solar Plates combined with photographic imagery. I’m really drawn to the idea of involving my photography more in my responses.
5) What or who inspired you to be an artist and why?
Thinking back It seems like I was always obsessively making Art. Family Life was incredibly creative and we were surrounded by a culture that fostered artistic expression whether it was my Dad’s passion for Photography and films or my mum’s exquisite paintings. The Foundation Course I studied on at the St. Albans Art college was great and moving to Nottingham to study Fine Art was a life changing experience. The tutors there were incredibly supportive ( and slightly crazy) and there were 2 tutors in particular who would regularly drive a handful of us in a minibus to the depths of Derbyshire for a field trip, so we could to set up our canvases alongside a stone wall. I just can’t imagine that happening now in our current culture of Risk assessments and Health and Safety.
6) Which artist do you most admire and why?
There are so many inspirational artists that it’s easier to mention some exhibitions that were fairly pivotal for me in the way I have developed as an artist. Seeing the Eva Hesse retrospective at the Tate Modern and more recently Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy, also Morgan Doyle’s show at Bankside Gallery. These shows stand out the most.
7) How has your relationship with Digswell Arts Trust strengthened your practice as an artist?
I’ve been part of the Printmakers group at Digswell Arts since around 2009 and in that time worked with so many interesting artists, some of whom I studied with on the MA at Herts Uni. Taking part in group Critiques in both formal and informal situations has been an added bonus and just being amongst creative people is a vital aspect of being an artist. Working with our large etching press at the ‘Forge’ Studios has very much shaped and transformed my work too. Before I had just been using smaller presses that didn’t produce adequate pressure needed to make the kinds of marks I can achieve now.