HAARLEM Wirksworth Festival

It was Wirksworth Festival this weekend and I decided to clear out my space and fill it with the contents of my brain. One side, an installation, dedicated to my current thoughts on time; twists and turns of delicate wire and a flash of blue rope. Objects, shapes and natural forms suggested pivotal moments and fragments of words reflected the in betweens of now; the getting from thought to action and then quick reflection. The other side of my space celebrated a colourful medley of framed illustration and ceramic goodies. Being the first port of call for most people, aside from the cake, visitors delighted in the sensory overload with smiles and laughter. Always my favourite part of exhibiting!

As always, the Haarlem gang pulled together to keep the coggs turning, from helping set up to filling tummies with soup and cake, keeping coffee flowing and just supporting each other in whatever way we can. It reminded me that Haarlem is not just a place to work and grow individually, it is a place of collectivism, it is a place of nurture. It is open and it is closed at the same time, like a good hug from a good friend. A happy Haarlem friend.

https://www.instagram.com/haarlemartspace/

https://www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk/

Hello Haarlem!

It’s been a while, but that’s not to say I have not been busy. I have been moving and settling into my new studio. But to say studio is to understate. My new art space, or Haarlem Art Space, is a space of colour and collaboration, a place where cakes are baked and ideas are shared.

Haarlem is nestled amongst the lush green landscape, just shy of Wirksworth town centre in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. A small town with a big, big soul.

Haarlem is special for many reasons, it’s one of those things that doesn’t quite fit into words, but you just feel it when you enter the building. Of course, it is the people that make the building and you can’t help but feel that every person that lives here, (and we do live here) is somehow meant to be here, like imaginary collective bricks that make up the walls, a perfect fit. And every brick has something to bring, some value and purpose to keeps the Haarlem fire burning. And the cakes coming!

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Repetition in Nature

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I’m not sure where the idea for this came from, I feel it must be the forest floor. You can find a lot when you’re scrambling through the woods; nuts, seeds, tracks, breadcrumbs…

I love the detail found in nature, subtle repetition that makes up this natural construction.

I found myself in some kind of meditative trance making these forms. Little pin pricks, piercing the clay with an addictive sound. I’m imagining them in contrasting, unnatural colours, like candy disguised as natural organisms but actually they’re full of E numbers.

OH MYCOLOGY!

Image source: https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/34592/species-id-buckyball-like-fungus

Image source: https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/34592/species-id-buckyball-like-fungus

There is nothing more exciting for me than stumbling upon some interesting fungi. I’ve decided I am going to become an expert and my research begins here. The CLATHRUS RUBER, also known as the latticed stinkhorn. Red in colour, a Saprobic that feeds on decaying plant material. Originally European, though it has been introduced to other areas such as North and South Africa, Asia and South America. What is fascinating about this fun guy, (oh i went there) is that the body initially appears like a whitish "egg" attached to the ground at the base by cords called Rhizomorphs. Clathrus bursts through the egg like some kind of weird alien creature, revealing its true majestic nature to the forest.

As with many fungi species, this is not meant for your tummy. Apparently its quite pongy so I don’t think any mistakes will be made.

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Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrus_ruber#/media/File:Clathrus_ruber_61319.jpg

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrus_ruber#/media/File:Clathrus_ruber_61319.jpg

Empty shop

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You can't walk for two minutes in any city centre without seeing an empty shop. East Street Arts is an amazing organisation based in Leeds that supports artists up and down the country in developing ideas and projects in these forgotten spaces and guess what, they have found the perfect place in little old Derby.

So, I jumped right on board and you can now find me at 2, The Spot, right in the heart of Derby city centre. I will be using the space to develop my own creative ideas and projects, the space will see participatory workshops, installation process, exhibitions, film nights and much more.

Source: https://unfoldarts.yolasite.com/

New Studio

I have finally found a new nest, for a few months at least. You can find me tucked away up a cobbled street in Belper with the lovely Creatii. (www.creartii.co.uk)

After a busy few weeks with crazy sales thanks to the amazing Jealous Curator, I have decided to focus on 'for the hell of it' sculpture for a while. First stop, ceramic totem poles. Can't wait to see these in full colour. 

Experiments with Resin

I've been dreaming of strange, subtle worlds encapsulated in resin for a while. I'm not sure where I am going with this and it has taken a while to begin this process, but boy is it satisfying. Watch this space.

This is normanton

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I was recently commissioned to create an illustration for Fifth Word, as a thank you to all of the lovely people that worked on and volunteered for the 'This is Normanton' project that is now being shown in Pickford House Museum in Derby. 

I wanted to capture the vibrance that is found in this area, looking through the archival visual research that was collected I began to formulate a mixed media collage that I think represents the community spirit of Normanton. 

http://this-is-normanton.fifthword.co.uk/

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A Little Rusty

I haven't done any 'real' drawing for a long time so I am quite happy with where this is going. Just wish I could do what I'm drawing. I could, once, for about five minutes when I was about 14. 

Chai and the City

Very productive morning down at Artcore. Collating research taken from the #LocalStudiesLibrary last week, in order to make a collaborative creative booklet in response the Chai and the City project. Today we focused on the first ever Teas-made, invented by Samuel Rowbottom in 1892.

old found words

Found some old poems the other day. (don't laugh) The memories came flooding right back. Growing up in the North East, going to art college and becoming a mother. The beginning of everything.

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HEMLINGTON

Street parties

Friendly faces

Late for school

Tying laces

Staceys house

Damp and musty

Ice cream van

10p lucies

Growing up

Things changing

Out of hands

Time wasting
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Flush red cheeks and charcoal drawings
Fleetham Street
Corridors and rumours
A chip fork in the road
Blue dress; armhole facings
Half hour bus ride home
Wetsuits on!
Cold red noses
Who’s afraid of sea monsters?
Pink hair; Petty theft
Something naughty, it’s my birthday
Growing up, being mum
Fire on, nails done
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MILLY

First day home, Feeling scared and excited
This precious little thing. What if I can’t do it?

Its snowing outside. I put you in your car seat
Snow falls and lands on your tiny pink face

We drive home with care. Can’t stop looking at you

Home at last. I could shut the world out for a life time
I want you all to myself. Just you and me

People come over. Celebrations begin.
’Go away’ Im thinking, creeping pain in my tummy

I take you away to my room.
Shut the door. Hold you in my arms

My baby. My Milly.

Another Fine Mess

It's only taken me 37 years to learn to put a sheet down. Still get it on my face though! 

Recently started working with oils. I am finding it such a rich experience that I wasn't expecting. I don't know why, but I have always kind of avoided them, maybe it's because it is such a slow process and I've always worked quite quickly.  In fact, it is the slow process that I am enjoying. Like i've finally given myself the chance to really sink into my work and experience every little detail. Maybe I'm finally growing up.

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Scrape and Fold

Really loving working on canvas. I have a real love for texture and mark-making; the pressure and the impact of the paint to the surface and then the fine removal of that. Lay it down, scrub it off. Find new detail. A story told with layers instead of pages. 

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