Canterbury Cathedral

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One of the highlights of 2012 was being shortlisted for the Garfield Weston Foundation Canterbury Cathedral Competition run by the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust. Simply being considered for the role of creating a one-off designed window in Canterbury Cathedral, where many of the original windows are still going strong some 800 years after they were crafted, was a huge privilege. And with a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site the whole experience was a wonderful adventure.

My ideas for the design in the cloister centred around the daily lives of the Benedictine monastic community and their coming together to eat. I used contemporary photographic images of parsley, rosemary, chives and mint, layering them to suggest a ‘living garden’, as the cloisters area would once have been. By combining traditional lead work and contemporary photographic imagery I aimed to bridge the historical and present day.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bathroom window – Houston Texas

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Today I’m packing a bathroom window ready for shipping to Houston, Texas! It’s my first international commission so I’m pretty excited about it. The client came to my studio this weekend to see it for the first time and was suitably pleased. Phew! These photos of the window panel propped up in my studio show how it changes under different lighting conditions. This is a quality that is central to my work. I strive to create artworks that are constantly changing with the varying lighting conditions, whether that be natural sunlight or artificial. The window is made from a single sheet of mirror with sandblasting front and back to create the tree silhouette imagery.

 

Areas of clear glass glint and reflect the light from the studio window.

 

Back-lit by daylight the silver mirror branches appear silhouetted. Sandblasted branches on the front glass surface create a layer of subtle grey tone.

Front sandblasting over the silhouetted mirror branch creates a soft blurry image. Crisp sections are visible through branch shapes left as clear shiny glass.

The glass against a dark wall simulates a night-time view. The piece does a light to dark reversal. The silver mirror branch now reflects internal light and appears white on a dark background.

Thanks to Jason from Sign Experience, Scarborough, for help with the vinyl sandblasting masks.

 

 

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North Yorkshire Open Studios

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This weekend my studio is open to the public as part of North Yorkshire Open Studios. I have small wall panels, tiles, prints and drawings for sale and you can also see commissions in progress and samples showing the techniques I use in my larger pieces. Past projects and commissions are documented in my portfolio of images.

Please do come along for a chat, a nosey at what I’m up to artistically and a cuppa with biscuits – it would be great to see you!
I’ll be there 10.30am – 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday. Call to arrange an appointment if you’d like to come at a diferent time.

 

 

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York West Offices – public art – maps

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I’m frantically designing artworks for a fab public art project in York. The City of York Council are moving offices – to a great building on the site of the original ‘old’ railway station, just inside the city walls from the current ‘new’ station. The new West Offices development is part renovation of the original station buildings and part new build including a canopy over where the railway lines were. The plans look great, it’s going to be a stunning building. I’m making a large glass screen which will be part of a wall in the main customer services area. I’m also making a whole series smaller glass artworks which will be bonded to the main entrance doors to function as ‘manifestation lines’ – the things that stop people bumping into glass walls and doors.

My artworks are all based round maps of the area, linking to the history of the site. I’ve been researching the area and finding old maps which are fascinating. I’ll be adding bits and bobs about my research, but thought I’d start by sharing some of the images I’m finding and hoping to use in the artworks. Here’s a few images extracted from the 1851 OS map of the area at the whopping scale of 5ft : 1 mile which I’m now so familiar with I think I could draw it freehand with my eyes closed! I think this map is fantastic looked at from a visual rather than an information focus, although the information on there is fascinating too.

This one was part of Seebohm Rowntree’s survey of poverty in York. His first survey was conducted in 1899. Thanks to the Rowntree Society for their assistance!

 

 

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Goedereede Arts Week, The Netherlands

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I recently exhibited in ‘Mothers and Daughters’  alongside Jan Bee Brown (who also curated the show), Stef Mitchell and Franka Wurzer. The exhibition, one of several in private houses opened for the duration of the festival, included work from the ‘Woodend’ series of window hangings, and glass wall panels. An exchange/collaboration with Coastival (Scarborough) and the Goedereede Arts Week festival is being researched for 2013, so watch this space for further details!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art in Action

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Art in Action is fabulous! A four day art fair where over 200 artists demonstrate as well as exhibit. I demonstrated for the first time this July, and had immense fun. Non stop talking to a constant flow of visitors for 4 days! Sold like hot cakes too. Hurray! Brilliant atmosphere and lovely people, tons to see and do, fab food, and in the beautiful surroundings of Waterperry House and Gardens, Oxfordshire. I thoroughly recommend it, for both visitors and artists!

The light in the marquees was quite flat, so in the photo below I’m shining a light behind the artwork to show how it interacts with sunlight.

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The Studio Gallery, Scarborough

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I was commissioned recently to make windows for the door and porch of The Studio Gallery, Scarborough. I was pleased that my contemporary style windows worked well within the Victorian architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gallery is run by mixed media artist  Helen Birmingham and is a great addition to Scarborough’s art scene, functioning as gallery, meeting place and flexible use space, with lovely studio flat available too. The gallery’s website has a ‘Scarborough Based Artists’ page, where I am very pleased to be listed.

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Playing at Art + Play

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I recently took my daughter to have a look at the Art + play exhibition. I was happy to see that our artwork worked! She loved running and  walking through it, wafting and swirling the fabric around. I was also happy to see that the white ring reinforcements, as well as sticking to the silk, were also now dotted around the floor in true ‘snowflake’ style! Not sure the gallery staff will be quite so happy when it comes to removing them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a few shots of other artworks in the show – Jason Taylor makes wonderful humorous artworks using everyday objects. Lucy Fergus has made a lovely tactile wall sculpture from rubber offcuts. Linda Arkley made a great kaleidoscope using film footage of plastic bottles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Art + Play

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Art + Play is a touring exhibition initiated by 20:21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe. For this project I collaborated with Kathryn Welford – my sister. This has been our first collaboration of this kind, and it’s been great fun working together. Six artists in total were commissioned to make an artwork that was targeted at under 5′s and allowed that age group to interact or ‘play’ with it. Making something that could be grown-up art as well as  a play object for small children was pretty tricky!

Part of the project involved spending time in a nursery and a reception class, which proved immensely useful and enjoyable (a post of the process and pictures will follow). We were excited by the research focus of the project and the opportunity to watch how children imagine, invent, explore and create, and to create new work in response to this.  We really liked the open-endedness of the brief, and the challenge of bringing together ‘Art’ and ‘Play’ as equal components within the creative process.

We became interested in how materials or environments affect how children behave; how certain ‘stimuli’ encourage careful, curious moments and how children behave in uncharacteristic or a-typical ways because of the materials or environments they are given to explore.  We wanted to challenge preconceptions of play and of what young children are believed to like or enjoy.  So, instead of creating something that was robust and solid, we created a delicate installation using sheets of silk chiffon and white ring reinforcements. We positioned the artwork thoughtfully to make it more likely that children explored it in a slow and careful way. We also provided sheets of white ring reinforcements so that children (and grown-ups) could spend time peeling and sticking stickers onto the chiffon, which requires careful concentration.

Titled ‘Uh-uh! A snowstorm! A swirling, whirling snowstorm.’ the artwork was developed taking the book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ by Michael Rosen as a starting point. It uses light and translucency to create depth and a sense of being engulfed in gentle snowfall. The chiffon is responsive to even slight air currents and almost appears to breath as one walks past.

 

 

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