With a background in Traditional Craft, tools are naturally an important part of my life. We all have our favourite ones, those that sit well in our hand, shaped through time and use; those that we have learned to control. When it came to drawing, I treated it as an apprenticeship, exploring and practising until my pencils became an extension of my hand. Time disappears when I am drawing.
Looking for a change from intricate, observational recording I began to explore random mark making, searching for "tools" to bring happy accidents. Serendipity through intentional disorder.
These tools were practical rather than aesthetic, put together quickly to test their effects. Several became important to my process, helping me to let go of control.
In September 2022 I spent a second week at Clayhill Arts, absorbed in the landscape. Quite literally laying in the meadow drawing with ink and found materials such as grasses and seedheads, engaging with the sounds of birds, insects and weather. This immersive experience affected me deeply.
This was my starting point for the FAPD course and I continue to explore the magic of drawing in the field, searching for the right materials and places, capturing the fleeting moments that only happen when you are quiet, patient and prepared. A new language has begun to emerge as I relax into the rhythms of nature.
I have always been drawn to Far Eastern Decorative Arts. The combination of beautiful tools, craftsmanship and gentle process leading to spacious, melodic pieces. I considered this to originate in Japan but during a trip to the British Museum I found myself drawn to the Korean exhibits. In particular the exquisite tools used to repair and restore ancient tapestries, all made with the same loving attention to detail and beauty. An artwork in their own right.
I am reminded of William Morris: "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
Balance Rhythm Touch
At Ditchling Museum of Arts and Crafts the displays of tools drew me in. The way we adapt everyday objects to perform, the wear and tear through repetitive use, patination through experience.
And so I reach the end of the course with what feels like a beginning as I combine found natural objects with ancient skills handed down by my parents, using inherited materials from a life once treasured.
Creating, giving perfection to imperfect, impractical and ultimately useless items
Work developed at FAPD Fine Art Practice Development with Samuel Herbert of The Bridge Art School in association with Sevenoaks Visual Arts Forum
On show at Kaleidoscope Gallery, Buckhurst Lane, Sevenoaks TN13 1LQ from 7-17 June 2023
Huge thanks to Sam and the participants - looking forward to next year
When there's something happening in the studio you might like to know.
If you would like irregular email updates for this blog and/or my Nature Diary or FlightPath Project, you can sign up here: