About Me

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Arlesey, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom
I am a cut paper artist and I live in Arlesey, Bedfordshire. I am originally from Wiltshire, from a very long village called Winterslow, just outside Salisbury. I make my work by drawing into a black piece of paper and then layering colours from behind which I cut into again. This makes very delicate and intricate paper pieces that are inspired by my love of the landscape and the natural world about me.

Monday, 12 June 2017

At the end of April I  was asked to run a drop in event for the Spring Celebration happening at Howard Park in Letchworth, an event run by Friends of Howard Park and North Herts District Council. I was there as an artist to help children and adults of all ages to make clay faces out of air drying clay, stuck onto the grand old oak that grows in the park. It was such a lovely day and really wonderful to run a workshop with such natural materials. I went foraging the previous day to look for interesting leaves and twigs and its was the best bit of workshop prep that I have had to do! Birds singing and the sound of the wind, it was pretty blissful.

One the day we kept it really simple. We laid out a tarpaulin with all the materials on and I cut fist sized pieces of clay for each person. They needed to be solidly pushed onto the tree to stick, it helped that the tree was very textured! Little children tended to be helped by their parents and grandparents - the hardest bit was fashioning a nose from the clay, though many children used stones to make the features. Some children started off tentatively, making small features. as they got used to the clay they let their hair down and pushed in all sorts of branches and stones and the clay faces got more and more flamboyant. They were magic, they really were. The whole day was a great success. Spring crowns with willow, wooden boats to sail in the paddling pool and all sorts of other games went on. A lovely local day of coming together.

What was particularly lovely was the adults that took part and got completely absorbed! I think adults don't get the chance to use clay very often and its such an elemental material. It goes back to our earliest beginnings I think, it feels of deep time. The adults that took part got the chance to PLAY, and to see that was completely magical.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Willow pattern plate collages and linking artists work.......

I ran another Family Art Studio workshop at the Broadway Gallery in Letchworth last Sunday. We had a really busy time with ages through from little 2 yr old toddlers up to full grown ups. The workshop was making paper collages by using sheets of Willow Pattern examples and sheets of my original Letchworth images translated into blue and white. Working from my images as well seemed a perfect fit as the workshop was to be linked to the last day of "Hidden Agenda" a touring Crafts Council exhibition that looked at craft and social comment. In particular I thought a piece by the artist Paul Scott was really interesting and to link transfer ware to my work and then translate again to paper collage seemed like a wonderful connection and expansion of an idea.

Above are the couple of mock-ups I made before the workshop. You can see the sheets I prepped of my black and white images into blue and white. Its was so exciting to see! and its really made me want to go off on a tangent and explore just blue and white paper. 

That's one of the real pleasures of running workshops... they are a fertile bed not just for the people attending to be creative and make something thats theirs and unique, it fertilises me as an artist too with the conversations and chatter had through the time.

Small pieces cut and ready to be arranged and stuck.....

Two approaches... random shape collages and more arranged and regular arrangements!

I drew this little cat for a little girl. Fab to see she stuck in place on her plate.... a hidden pussums!

A family of plate collages. This really shows learning and enjoyment of the arts across all the ages.....

Simple techniques of papier mache layers with pva glue.

Drawing combined with collage.....

Some where very gluey! but they would soon dry and leave a lovely shiny surface!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Paper weaving and intersection collages family workshop at Broadway Gallery, Letchworth, Hertfordshire

I ran a family drop in workshop yesterday at the Broadway Gallery in Letchworth. After its relaunch and refurbishment, the gallery has started to run these weekend workshops and having taught many workshops there, it was great to be back in a familiar but sort of new space! For the workshop I designed an activity that would link to Richard Smith's current exhibition there. In his work there is a theme of interweaving shapes and pattern as well as architectural paper cutting and folding. I thought paper weaving would work really well especially if  had prepped up some sheets with textured colour to work on. it worked really well as you can see form the work made below! I think definite echoes of Kandinsky! It was great to see so much bright and vibrant colour spread across the table.

The ages ranges from 4 up to adults. Mums and dads cam and made art with their children, and even felt really happy to make one themselves, so that was wonderful to see. The usual magic of workshops happened again.... about an hour in the tables were full and the room quiet with everyone concentrating.

 Its always a precious magical moment!

Scroll through the images below to see what was made. I brought with me the coloured sheets, strips of paper made from fadeless display paper and A4 white and coloured sheets. I had precut shapes too for people to just cut and stick.

Prepped sheets painted with water soluble pencils and water

A washing line of vibrancy!

Simple paper weaving....

Tonal work and making a scene - this was the sea and the twinkling light of the stars....

A table full of colour and paper

Beautiful, measured collage made from the prepped painted sheets......Miss. Kemp aged 10

A very intricate and precise collage made. All these pieces were cut individually to fit together.

Stunning collage made by one of the mums. oven papers, collage and refined placement. 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Thinking on my feet! - wearable bracelet thingies......

With a bit of extra time to play with, I needed to think on my feet! I thought it would be great for the pupils to have something to hold, but in their hands would be no good as they wouldn't be able to drum. So I thought about safety pins... no good for H&S! So we just used masking tape as its re- positionable and can be stuck and stuck again. The children made these wearable collage bracelets. They worked so well! The children loved them as they were more colour to wear, and they had the freedom again to make something either personal or just plain bold. It was fab to see and even fabber to see them keeping hold of them as they left school to be picked up by mums and dads.

#bodyadornment    #brazilianheaddresses

Paper headdress workshop with littlies! Brazilian carnival day at a Surrey Infant School.....

Just recently I has the lovely experience of going back into the Primary school world and ran a set of workshops with really little ones at the wonderful St. Peter and St. Paul's C of E Infant School in Chaldon, Surrey. I was there as part of a carnival day, where the 87 pupils would be working with me making headdresses out of simple paper components, and with a drummer and dancer too. The whole day would culminate in a kind of performance and all the children would have the chance to experience a taste of Carnival!! Reception Year 1, and Year 2 were all involved, as were the TA's and the class teachers. We had about an hour with each class, so it was pretty full on to get the headdresses made.

The day was based on a rotating carousel of activities, so it meant that each child worked with each practitioner. I designed things that would be simple to customise and put together. You can see examples of what was made below......

You can see above some of the headdresses the children made. I supplied precut shapes and bands and then the children were able to customise and design their own headdress. The older ones in Yr 2 used the pipe cleaners, ensuring that their headdresses really did jiggle and wiggle when hey dance and played the percussion instruments.

Fantastic to see the teachers get really involved......

Headdresses with animals......

Headdresses as crowns.........

And headdresses that show a rain forest and the animals!

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

"Cutting the Curve" - adult workshop at the Museum of Classical Archaeology

Last Saturday 20th Feb, I had the real pleasure of doing another adult workshop at the Museum of Classical Archaeology. This time it was themed in with my exhibition "Cutting the Curve - Crafting the Classical Body". Its been a very well received exhibition, both by the public and critically and it was great to have an event where adults not used to working with cut paper were able to come and have a go at the art of paper cutting and reverse layered collage. One thing was made very clear

There is a magic to paper cutting and its this.......you have to be completely present in the now.

To use the craft knife and concentrate, you have to really focus and you find you forget about everything else like eating, drinking or even going to the loo. Its very absorbing! As you cut away you get results straight away, so its very addictive too.....and yet very settling and calming.

The sound of the creative hush of people cutting and working.....

Coloured paper being cut and fitted......

Everyone working away.....

I prepped up some traceable templates for people to use. I designed these specifically so that they could be kept as they are or tweaked and customisable. I never know who is going to come to a workshop and what ability they are, so I always do careful planning to ensure that everyone goes home with a great outcome. Adults can feel a bit vulnerable and scared if plonked in front of a plain piece of paper and these tracings just give everyone enough of a hook to grasp and get into that kind of thinking zone.

The template tracings.....

Look what was made! by ages from 14 to mid 70's!

And some lovely feedback too.......