Artist & Facilitator

I am a freelance artist based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria in the North West of England. I have worked within the performing and fine arts for 20 years. Initally I worked within the theatre as a performer and on production. Then moving on to a street circus group that performed around the UK. I did my degree BA(hons) Fine Art at Uclan. For fifteen years I have collaborated with local arts organisations, worked on youth community projects and in schools running a variety of creative projects. I am currently a member of North Lonsdale Embroiderers Guild, Blue Tarn, a rural womens artists collective and Trident Textiles, based in Furness. I am always working on a variety of small scale projects including photography, textile and mixed media. Although my favourite thing is meeting and talking to interesting people!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Exhibition Comes Down!

Whilst I was doing my invigilation stints at Artgene I managed to learn a little more about their Design Cafe.  It is really interesting and would love to join them on Sat 11th Dec for their walk, it starts at the cemetery and onto Sandscale Hawes Lousey Point for a meal in one of the black huts!  A few weeks just  before that artist Sophie Mellor will be doing a presentation about how her project in and around Barrow has gone. That is in the cafe itself on Wed 17th November at 7pm.  The concept of the cafe and activities are described in the following link;

However,  we took the exhibition down today.  We packed the photographs away carefully in paper with labels.  They may be going onto another venue.  So watch this space for that.  It is always sad when taking down an exhibition or display that you have been involved in, even when not as an artist.  It marks the end of a period of intense activity which usually was extremely interesting and involved bonding moments!  Although there was problems along the way in regards to my prints and narrative, it does not detract from the enjoyment I had from being involved in the project.  I also had the opportunity to meet new people and strengthen old acquaintances.

On with the new projects now and finishing off little textile projects that have been ongoing at home.  I have to finish off scanning my old 35mm slides onto the computer so I can prove I have done stuff in the past!! I have been asked to give a talk at the college to students about work since my degree.  Scanning the slides take ages and I have so many!!  I wish I could afford to send them off to be done by a company somewhere!  Plus they are a bit dusty despite being packed away quite carefully! I have tried blackmailing Nic, my husband, but he is not having it! 

Oh and nearly forgot we are off to Manchester in two weeks for the weekend and to see Linkin Park in concert.  Looking forward to a baby free weekend!  Oops did I just say that! Bad mother!  Although here is a photo taken by Nic of Alex, 2 years old, on a ride on the pier at Blackpool on Sunday.  As you can see he loved it!! The lights were good but the same as ever!!

Scream if you want to go faster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Article in The Northwest Evening Mail!

Well the exhibition made it into the paper but got my name and Alex's name wrong!  The article written was ok but not quite accurate either.  The photographer who took the photo's spent a long time trying to get pictures of my son pointing at the exhibits!  This is Nic's photo of him doing the same. It was still nice though.  At least he had his favourite 'digger' coat on!!  Plus he was with me on the walk for my project!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Exhibition Narrative

As I could not display my narrative for the exhibition I thought I would put it here for people to read. Thanks to Nic for getting photos of collage at the gallery and of the preview evening.

The Old Line
Artistic Statement

Come rain or shine my mother and I would cycle the old line after work. We would start at Buccleuch Dock and cross the causeway at Cavendish Dock onto the line which is now the Westfield Nature Trail and finish at Roa Island. Along the path we would meet many people cycling, walking the dog, fishing or jogging. Over time we would recognise people and say hello and see new faces discovering the line.

This whole area has been given a new lease of life. Now the path is extended at both ends, the walker or cyclist can find themselves amongst an Industrial landscape with deep rural hills and a stunning shoreline. Seasons come and go and show us what nature has to offer. Sea birds feeding in the marsh, berries on the bushes and bees being busy.

I decided to revisit the path on foot with my camera for this project and look again with fresh eyes. I met many interesting people that were willing to be photographed and chat to me. The collage of portrait, landscape and detail are all connected and give an insight into what the path has to offer and the people who enjoy it.

Photographic Collage Narrative

The fisherman was at Cavendish Dock with two friends and had been there from early morning. They fish there often and know the area well. They catch Carp on a regular basis and told me how they use their bait. They caught a few when I was talking to them. At the point when this fish was caught, the traffic on the road to one side and people walking by all came to a standstill waiting to catch the glimpse of the Carp. Only a small one this time, although I am told the dock does contain carp as big as 30lbs.

I met the cyclist by the gas terminal, his new bike set aside he was sat on a bench he had knocked up, eating bright orange Sea Buckthorn berries he had picked along the path. His hands were stained from berries he so obviously enjoyed. They were everywhere along this stretch, bursting open as they were so ripe, with their sweet citrus aroma filling the air around. He told me how he uses the path every day and likes to sit on his bench and look out across the marsh to the sea. He knew a great deal of the history of the ‘old line’.

I was very lucky to meet the boatman and his dog Alfie. I was on the sand by the Roa Island causeway car park photographing an old skeleton boat, when he appeared from his boat. The tide was out and he had his waders on and his little dog in a bag, saving him from sinking into the muddy sand. Alfie, a Jack Russell is a rescue dog and was a little nervous, he explained to me. The man had bought his boat to do up and eventually sail around the Scottish Isles. He told me how much work he had done so far but that it was taking longer than he anticipated. He works on the boat every day.

Friday, 15 October 2010

TRACES Exhibition at Artgene

Been taking part with Signal Films, as one of 12 people, in a series of digital art photography workshops over the last couple of weeks.  Artist Rebecca Lupton, who is based is Manchester, ran the workshops.  The theme given was Traces with a view to Barrow and regeneration.  I decided to take photos along the 'old line' path that I used to cycle a lot.  The path has now been extended at the Buccleuch Dock end and at the other you can carry on to Roa Island. 

I took photos over 2 days, one day walking with Nic and Alex, using our compact camera, very sunny afternoon too.  The other using Signal Films Slr camera, it was an dull and overcast day with showers.  Photos from both days were used in the final selection for the exhibition.  I met people along the path and asked if I could take their picture and most obliged.  I also took detail shots of foliage and structures.  I liked the cross-over of Industrial and nature on the path and tried to capture that. 

Technically alot of my pictures could have been better with use of a tripod and setting it up better beforehand.  However, I was walking miles with a two year old and I often had to just take the photo quickly so as not to hold people up.  Taking pictures of strangers was new to me!

Back at the office and looking at the photographs for editing was difficult, because I had taken 'snapshot' style photos I ended up with over 800 to select from.  I decided to display portrait along with detail images.  I chose three of my favourite people and associated detail.  Apart from cropping, no photoshop was used on the images.

Displaying my work was always going to be slightly tricky as I had opted to make it into an informal collage using gallery pins.  I wanted the combination to look right and flow for the eye.  I think this affect was achieved in the end.  I would have preferred to have had my narrative displayed with the collage but it was decided that it would have looked out of place alongside the other artists work.  I was pleased overall.

The exhibition preview was Thursday 14th October, it was well attended and people seemed to enjoy the event and the talk by guest artist Miskha Henner.  The exhibition is at Artgene in the Nan Tait building, Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness until the 24th October 2010.  It is free and open to all.

Click here for Traces Blog