I have always drawn and painted but my mind opened up to exciting possibilities in 2014 when I studied contemporary art at OVADA, The Oxford Visual Arts Development Agency. I was immediately and lastingly taken out of my comfort zone and I understood that almost anything is possible with the right people to help and a willingness to explore new paths.
My work continues to involve drawing and painting but I also use many different media if a piece demands it, for example cutting and soldering copper, etching or nålebinding.
I have a tiny garden shed-studio in Oxford and a long, narrow painting studio, nicknamed The Sliver, at Wilcote Art in Oxfordshire. I regularly work in the Scottish Highlands and on the seashore in North Finistère. The frequently wild weather systems in both of these places are strong influences.
Equally our purposefully neglected garden on the boundary of Oxford City has given me many reasons to work and I have recently begun to harvest wild plants for their dyes. I colour cotton, paper and wool. This activity provides the materials for installations and sculpture. I make recordings, audio and video, of birdsong and other sounds (in Oxford this includes manmade sounds of roads, house renovation and gardening machines). I then listen to notate the sounds and include the resulting marks in drawings or paintings.
My work is frequently rule-based and one piece of work can take years to complete. One example is a series of 130 drawn feathers, The Company of Others. Each feather has been lost by the bird, either intentionally or with violence. The feathers are often tatty and dull and I have drawn these with especial care. The collection originally contained 130 drawings, all on the same paper found as I cleared my father’s study. The materials were limited and they are framed identically. The feather drawings echo feelings of loss, of our human need for companionship, with others of our kind and with the other species which share our environment.