I am is a visual artist, illustrator and printmaker living and working in Newcastle upon Tyne. Whilst studying fine art at Gray’s School of Art, in my home city of Aberdeen, I became completely enchanted by the art of printmaking, carefully cutting tiles of lino and woodblocks to construct and invent theatrical compositions. Utilising the discipline of print, I began to enjoy telling stories with a personal narrative through means of a traditional craft. Storytelling has remained a significant motivation for my work today.
Living in Edinburgh for two years, I joined Resonate Collective; a cross-disciplinary cooperative connecting printmakers, designer makers and multimedia artists. I began developing my skills in illustration with a focus on drawing and painting, often using written word as part of my work. My practice developed alongside a fascination for folk songs, especially those that tell stories of the sea and people that those that live and work by the sea; the sailor, the whale hunter, the fisher man and fish wife, in addition to myths and tales of mermaids and selkies. My fascination with traditional song has led onto influence new illustrative art work for various contemporary folk artists, such as The Unthanks.
Today, My social and work lives are deeply immersed within a community of traditional dancers, musicians and singers. As a dancer myself, I have an interest in the human relationship with traditional customs and our cultural history. A recent project I took part in involved choreographing clog steps for an adaptation of the play, Bondagers by Sue Glover; a story of female farmworkers in the 17th century Scottish borders. This sparked up an interest in historical rural work life, the profound relationship that these working women had with their natural world and the way in which it motivated traditional music, song and dance.
My work is now rooted in folk tradition, often celebrating the working man and woman, as well as commemorating their skills, crafts and hardship. I am currently working on an exciting new project, with multimedia artist, Anna FC Smith photographer, Bryony Bainbridge exploring the archive and collections of Doc Rowe; a collector and documenter of traditional customs and living traditions. Through the work I create, I endeavour to value and breathe life into the poetic and powerful storytelling that arises from these traditional customs.
Photograph by Bryony Bainbridge