I am currently developing my own practice as an artist and setting up a new enterprise making and selling arts and craft on the theme of British wildlife.
Birds have become a recurrent theme for me over the last few years.
For an adult immersive puppet show about a refugee family, I created aggressive crows. Later as part of a large community arts project in London, I created a staged performance inspired by the Sufi poem The Conference of the Birds, funded by the Arts Council.
For the last two years, I have been concentrating on 2D work, drawing and printing birds taking inspiration from Victorian ornithology prints, paying homage to zoological bird artists of the 19th century such as John Gould and the 18th oodcut engraver John Berwick.
Recently, I have drawn the many threads of the different interests of mine into a narrative exploring ideas of parallel universes and decisions we make in life and where these send us, or could have sent us, with birds playing roles as messengers and guardians. The theatre designer in me works well with a story, and so I have created my own, which I am exploring through 2D images, and 3D costumes, props, and settings.
My own work has often been interwoven in my community arts life.
I was founder member of Kairos, a womens’ art group in Croydon 22 years ago. Now the group spreads from Croydon to East and West Sussex. This group offers support and skill sharing, organising workshops and holding exhibitions. One of our achievements was creating an arts trail through Croydon using empty shop spaces and liaising with businesses to display art work. We support members who put work up in other exhibitions, or have solo exhibitions.
I have held two solo exhibitions at The Croydon Clocktower in 2002 and 2007, and taken part in a Kairos exhibition in 2010 at the Corner gallery in Carshalton Beeches.
Through Kairos I have made connections with a Sussex group of textile artists, and although that is not my specialism, we bounce ideas off each other at weekend workshops held twice a year, led by an invited artist.
I moved to Eastbourne in 2014, and I am excited about discovering and becoming part of the artist community here and developing new community arts projects. Taking part in the community beach hut design competition and becoming one of the three finalists was a brilliant way for me to utilise my skills and get to know the area.
Since moving to Eastbourne my husband and I have joined in the Eastbourne artists open studio events in November 2015 and April 2016, opening our house and showing our work and work by other artists.
My practice as an artist has emerged from my work in theatre design, community arts and as a teacher. I used to think I had to cast off these mantels of designer and educator to be called an artist, but I now challenge that self-imposed prejudice, and embrace my creative skills and abilities that I have developed over the last 25 years as a community artist, teacher, and designer, as I have always striven to produce quality work with integrity.