New Drawing from Hungate Dig

spout of a roman mortarium, 75x75cm, watercolour pencil on paper. first draft.

During the summer I have been escaping and volunteering one day a week at an archaeological dig in York. The area is called Hungate and being developed over the next few years. You can find information on I have found it fascinating, taking a glimpse at how archaeology works, how to read the soil, about finds, about context and about the people who work and volunteer in a very interesting community.
Last week we found a piece of a mortarium, an roman food processor bowl, like a pestle and mortar, and it was so interesting that I had a strong urge to draw it, follow the curves of the spout and rim we found, the colours and markings of age, but the incredible strenght and its cool pottery feel that survived 2 millenia. It is broken, so it was rubbish to the romans because unusable and found in an infill trench, but it is a treasure to me. So this is the first draft after the first day drawing and it feels absolutely wonderful to be drawing again. Slept the best in ages.

Design for dinner service

These photographs of Japanese trees were taken this spring when I had the good fortune to go to Kyoto, Japan. I love trees especially the ones with twisting branches. Close to my house there are oak trees with contorting limbs. I enjoy watching the changes over the seasons.

These photos were used as an inspiration when I was commissioned by my uni to produce some dinner set designs based on the uni logo, a connected bud and leaf. The project is now in its final stages. The brief requested an oriental feel to the design, which is when I thought of using these photographs.

I wanted the final design to convey what it felt like to be at uni, running against the wind, holding on to course structure and especially fellow students, working to grow from bud to leaf and eventually let go and flow your own path.

Soup plate with guide.

I really enjoyed doing this project, working with people who were clear about their expectation, open to suggestions and respectful of creativity. It felt good to be an artist (or at least an art student). Especially since I didn't manage to steal enough time away from family to endulge much in creative work apart from cooking!

Prints and Drawing for Ryedale Open, 2007

Potential, Print, from Thread of life series

Three small works have been selected to be in the Ryedale Open Exhibition, grandly named RA, which is held at the Milton Rooms in Malton from 21st July to 28th July (not sundays) from 10 to 4 pm. This will allow me to meet artists who live and work in my area of Yorkshire, Ryedale looking beyond York.

Thread of life, print, from thread of life series

Tools of life, Print, from Thread of life series.
My study of green smoke, SOLD

Drawings from Summer Exhibition: Thread of Life

Individual drawings from Thread of Life. Constraint or potential... before the thread unravels - watercolour pencil on translucent paper, 75 x 120 cm
Tools of life, necessary to sew with thread, but sharp and possible painful , 35 x 120 cm watercolour pencil on translucent paper
Hooks or hang on, joins together, 35 x 120 cm, watercolour on translucent paper

Sewing hands, we have an active part to play in our destiny... watercolour pencil on translucent paper, 200 x 75 cm

Thread of Life, continuously unravelling, knotted and looped ... watercolour pencil on translucent paper, 200 x 75 cm

Winding Thread drawings

Installation, Winding thread, 2007
York St John University

Drawing composed of 5 different layers.
watercolour pencil and graphite on translucent paper. pearl head pins

Two hand printed, hand made books
(Ink, thread, translucent paper, watercolour paper and scrim)

The inspiration for my work is drawn from ordinary objects, gestures and glimpses of daily life. The sewing implements I concentrated on belonged to a woman called Frances, who was the great aunt of a friend. These simple sewing materials have little pecuniary value, yet are cherished objects that may be read as indicators of her life and times.

Spanning thousands of years, from the classical Greek to Norse mythology, there are stories concerned with thread and weaving, metaphors for human existence. Famous in western culture is the story of the Fates, referred to as the ‘Wyrd Sisters’ in Anglo-Saxon mythology, who spun the thread of one’s life and measured its extent. Needlework used as a metaphor for social, personal and cultural narrative. Unused bobbins are pristine, full of potential, with the thread still constrained. Needles are tools, life’s lessons; they are sharp but necessary for development. We need fastenings and hooks to hang on to and make bonds in relationships. The hands reference human conscious required to give direction and meaning.

My work as an artist is intimately bound up with my attention toward the tactile, material world; the quality and grain of paper, the scratching of the dry-point surface or the raised edge of a stitched line In making books my intention is that the viewer will share in this tactile experience; they are invited to handle the books, both to experience a deeper physical relationship to the work and to imprint something of themselves upon it leaving unintentional residue which then becomes part of the work’s history, its own life.

Although this work may be read as ‘feminine’ because of its subject matter my hope is that it resists gender specificity. Needlework has always been a process performed by, and of course essential to, both men and women. Not until the creation of the Medieval Guilds was the separation between male commercial and female domestic work begun*.

My intention is that this work should be quiet and attentive, as peaceful and serene as a Dutch interior, a homage to a domestic tranquillity that is the antithesis of the loudness, coarseness, information overload and sensational headlines that characterise much of our current culture; it asks us to retune to a quiet sensitivity that listens to the inner voice of our humanity.
*Rozsika Parker, ‘The Subversive Stitch’, 1984.

Shoe Drawings from Drawing works Exhibition, 2005

Self-portrait. 2005
Watercolour pencil on translucent paper,
750mm x 520 mm,
private collection

Portrait of a hard working man, 2005
Watercolour Pencil on translucent paper,
750 mm x 520 mm

Portrait of a young rugby player, 2005
Watercolour Pencil on translucent paper,
750 mm x 540 mm