Mixed Media on Board
20cm x 15cmSee her website here.
It’s interesting that you’ve only recently started working as an artist. Did you practise at all in your spare time before studying it as a mature student?
I returned to college in 2001 to study an access course in art and design as I had always regretted not going to University in my teens I enjoyed it so much I carried on through to the degree course. I had always dabbled in arts and crafts of various forms. The course I took was very experimental encouraging you to work with nontraditional materials and it was at this point I began melting anything from wax crayons to plastic carrier bags, the work I do now is just a natural progression.
Using beeswax in your collage sounds difficult! How does it work? Is it something you discovered experimentally or a taught technique?
The idea of using beeswax is not a new one and the Egyptians used it in their paintings, but I use it more as a preservative for the collage as well as the nostalgic quality it gives rather than a painting medium.
Your wire sculptures look like such a natural progression of your 2d pieces, like you’re drawing with the wire. Where did the idea for these come from?
I have always been interested in sculpture and the wire figures came along as a ‘happy accident’ while I was waiting for a clay sculpture to dry off.
How long does the average piece of work take you to finish? (for example, the pieces in the ‘gallery’ page of your website)
Time wise it’s difficult to say, sometimes if everything goes well I can finish one in 2-3 days others can take much longer. Some days it’s difficult to get inspired and others you can’t stop yourself. I also spend a lot of time sourcing old books.
Your work is obviously very personal and has a great relevance to you and your family history. Although it is quite illustrative in appearance (like childrens’ book illustrations) my tutors might describe you as an ‘authorstrator’ as you generate your own content. In this sense, how do you see yourself- do you class yourself as a fine artist? Do you think you could adapt your style to less personal work? (I ask because, as an illustration student, I find it easiest to respond to a brief when I can find a personal connection to the idea, and I worry that this may limit my ability to work as well commercially, for editorial commissions etc.)
My initial work was very personal but post degree I had to separate myself from the work once I began to sell, you can become too attached to it otherwise which makes it difficult to let it go, that said I still find I get much more pleasure from having a personal connection with the work. ‘Authorstrator’ I’ve never heard of that description but I like it, I would title myself as a collage artist, the use of mixed media is very important to me.
Your collages seem never-ending- like you’re never going to run out of ideas for the pictures! Do you always use the same books and old family belongings for the inspiration? What else has inspired/influenced your art?
I can be influenced by so many things from a book title to a colour although when faced with completing a dozen pieces for an exhibition It can be quite daunting.
(And finally!) You described making Joseph Cornell style boxes before you began working on your collages. What made you decide to make the shift to 2d work instead? Are these displayed anywhere? I would be very interested to see them if at all possible.
The Cornell style boxes were made in my final degree year and I would describe then as transitional pieces the only place they are displayed is on the wall of my studio.