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inspirations and ethos
“Any natural place contains an infinite reservoir of
information, and therefore the potential for inexhaustible new
Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv.
I’m driven by working through collaborative projects which enable people to creatively explore their own ideas, imaginations and expressions. I am especially interested in the relationship between different art forms and in exploring and expanding this through projects; linking visual and tactile art with music, dance, movement, words and performance. I relish working on projects with other artists / art forms and for years have regularly worked in this way and have a number of partnerships with artists and organisations which have been developed over the past 22 years.
I’m driven by a love of the natural world and many projects I work on seek to explore this and to collaborate with educationalists and others.
Since I was very young I’ve loved woodland, meadows, hedgerows, streams and shore - and the names and stories of the flora and fauna found there. I adore the endless landscapes to be found amongst moss and lichen, the patterns on leaves and bark, the structure of
tiny wild flowers, the sounds of woodland at dawn and the shapes in the clouds…
The UK has wondrous flora and fauna with so many histories, stories and folk names associated with it; I feel strongly about finding ways to explore and connect with this. It’s all too easy to overlook the preciousness of the hedgerow outside your front door. I’m so inspired by the ways young children are fascinated with small creatures such as worms, earwigs, snails and woodlice and how they will study them for hours if they are given the opportunity to do so.
I’m interested in exploring the relationship between people and places, working on projects which explore and record impressions of landscapes and buildings and the stories and histories associated with them. I’m fascinated by tales, words and narratives – real and imagined – and how these can be described visually and the shadows and traces people leave on their journeys.
I’m also passionate about the quirks of human nature – by the way we collect, arrange, select, explore, create stories and make things. Often human creativity and ingenious ideas can be hidden – it’s a delight
to come across slightly eccentric playful things that others have left on their journeys. I love the creative curiosities to be found in allotments, sheds and on the beach after people have spent the day there.
I’m deeply inspired by the groups I work with – it’s the energy, enthusiasm and ideas that groups come up with which is contagious and so special. I find that young children especially are able to tap into a wealth of ideas, questions and thoughts that are filled with creative enquiry. Very often with projects the key things is setting up the right
environment for this enquiry to thrive – which means both the physical and emotional space need to nurture children’s creativity.
I use many different techniques and resources and I love to test out and explore new ways of using materials. I work with natural materials wherever possible and I’m really inspired by the work of artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Chris Drury and Richard Long. I love to explore colour and texture through mediums such as paint, print, collage, felt-making and paper-making. I adore working with light and use shadows, projections, illuminations and layers of translucent materials frequently.
Photography is one of my main passions (see photography page), especially because it is a way of documenting so many of the things I’m drawn to; it becomes a means of slowing down and looking closely at the world.
I’m inspired by objects that tell stories and I love hunting and discovering treasures in charity shops and second hand book shops.
"Learning to see… being attentive to things, seeing familiar things anew, seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary… learning to see – with all the senses – is the starting point for learning about the world, the starting point for making things…”
“Time to stop and stare, to touch and listen,
time to explore and make choices, and time to just be, is essential. A heightened sense of awareness may grow slowly or it may come in a flash. But unhurried and unstructured time to perceive things – through all the senses – is vital if we are to find magic and mystery in things with children.”
Some kids don’t want to be organised all the time. They want to let their imaginations run; they want to see where a stream
of water takes them…”
Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv.