Wednesday, 6 March 2019


My work tends towards the time consuming end of the spectrum... at times ridiculously so. Last year I completed and photographed an acid yellow 'gravestone cosy' for my Uncle George's headstone in Slough. The images were perfect.

A couple of months later my MacBook Pro expired, having not backed up these photographs were lost. The following August I relocated from London to Derbyshire, making traveling to Slough a bigger challenge. In December 2018 I took the trip, photographing the work on a sunny winter day... The sun revealed a deep crease in the knitting (having been folded during my relocation) that I just couldn't remove by pulling the knit into shape. The shadow was so obvious on a majority of the images that the trip was in vain.

This week I traveled again to Slough, having washed and gently ironed the knit. I'd checked the weather forecast daily, hoping for an evenly cloudy day and I got it! Placing the knit on the headstone my heart sank - it had grown by inches and no longer fitted the stone. It turns out you can't wash these knits!

Today I ordered five balls of acid yellow wool and will reknit the work and at some point travel to Slough and photograph for the final time... 

Audiences don't witness this side of an artists process and in my exasperation felt the need to share my frustration. This is the third knit in the series that I've re-knitted, the firsts not fitting as intended. There are many hidden hours within this work, each stitch made by hand, using the first stitch my mother taught me.

I back up once a month. Lesson learnt.  

George (crease not visible)

Tuesday, 5 March 2019


Family lore is that my maternal grandfather was buried in a communal grave. Mum was 9 years old when he died in 1945 and I wonder if she ever visited her fathers burial place, I imagine not.

My intention is that Close Knit comes to a end this year, a decade after I began hand knitting 'gravestone cosies' for my ancestors. I've been searching for the site of my grandfathers burial, wondering if there may be a distinct area, a marker. Unable to find any record and with the end of my tether fast approaching I enlisted the help of a friend who's brain works in a distinctly different way to mine - she is the most un-dyslexic person I know!

The evening of the day I asked for help an email appeared with information that led to the discovery that my grandfather had a grave! Grave 360 in area Y6 at St Pancras and Islington Cemetery. 

74 years after his death I found a forest, undulating with burials without marker or headstone. Checking the backs of the headstones framing the forest I attempted to understand the sites layout, wondering if I could get near to where grave 360 might be... It was impossible, the passing of time erasing any order.

Maybe it is appropriate that my grandfather rests in a forest, my dear forest. Canopied in green, amongst his London contemporaries.   


Sunday, 10 February 2019

derbyshire hedgelaying

This weekend I learned basic hedgelaying. We learned the Derbyshire and Midland style of laying at Carsington Water in Derbyshire. It was great working outdoors and using tools such as bill hook, axe and hand saw to pleach small trees and lay and stake a hedgerow.

This experience deepens my understanding of the local hedgerows and I wonder how this will inform my drawing and print.

 Clearing away outward facing branches

 Pleached hazel and hawthorn

 Left to right, working along the row of small trees


Staked hedge 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

the first cut is the deepest - limited edition linocuts

It's all about the boundaries...

Since moving to Derbyshire last Autumn I've become fascinated by the dry stone wall and hawthorn hedgerows that delineate the landscape. Within my current AA2A (artists access to art colleges) residency at Derby University I'm re-exploring linocut and print as I consider these edges/boundaries and what they represent to me personally. 

My linocuts received such a positive response on social media that I decided to offer them as a limited edition... If you would like to buy either a dry stone wall or hawthorn hedgerow print please email me at 

There is a choice of paper, white gives a bright contrast to the black print, soft white is actually a pale cream colour and echos the faded paper of my childhood fairy tale book (see below).
Price per print: £40

Prints are supplied unmounted & unframed, each print is backed with cardboard & wrapped in cellophane

P&P within the UK: £6 (first class signed for)

Edition: 25 of each linocut on either white or soft white paper (please choose)

Print size: 15.2cm x 20.3cm

Paper size: 28.5cm x 37.5cm (a touch under A3)

Paper: Somerset Satin 100% cotton 300gsm

Ink: Dense black

Hand printed in Derbyshire on an 1886 Albion press

Somerset soft white (pale cream)

 Somerset white

Somerset soft white (pale cream)

 Somerset white
Alison Uttley was born in Cromford, Derbyshire in 1884. I loved this Fairy Tales book as a child and still do. I'm hoping, within my linocuts to echo the illustrations by Ann Strugnell, they had a deep effect on little Karen and set me up to see the magic and wonder within the everyday and familiar.

The Bird of Time

The Field that Didn't Wish for Company

One-Strand River

Thursday, 17 January 2019

testing testing 1 2 3...

The world of linocut is opening up to me... Was thrilled with the print quality from my first two linocuts below. I'm learning about papers, rolling out ink, inking the lino and registering the print. There are simple tricks to help with this and the t'internet provided fruitful search results - particularly Nick Morley at Linocut Boy. I'm now coveting a set of Pfeil tools plus this little beauty and will be borrowing Linocut for Artists and Designers by Nick from Derby Universities library.

I've been using such basic tools, I wonder at what could be achieved with grown up tools!

This Monday (21st Jan) I'll be in the printmaking studio at Derby University bright and early to hand print a limited edition of 25 of each lino on lovely, heavyweight Somerset satin paper. I've had a positive response on social media, so I'll see if this turns into sales. 

It's all about the boundaries...

Dry stone wall (A5)

 Hawthorn hedgerow (A5)

 1st print on newsprint

Varied papers

 1st print on newsprint

 Varied papers

Saturday, 29 December 2018

lino cut

Unexpectedly, I'm beginning to explore printmaking rather than screen printing on my AA2A residency. The field and farm boundaries of hedge and stone wall lend themselves to lino. I'm using my finest carving tool to capture graphic, linear qualities, echoing the illustrations in the fairytale books of my childhood. 

Last night I finished carving my stone wall lino, when I get back to Derby University after the Christmas break I'll print and reflect upon the outcome. It's nerve racking spending many hours carving, not knowing if it will give me the result I desire... but, it's the only way to progress. I'm using this residency to learn and develop new skills, so sitting with the 'unknown' is companion to that. Exciting! 

Monday, 26 November 2018

edges and boundaries

I'm trying to resist rushing into my AA2A project at Derby University and have allowed myself until the turn of the year to sit with and consider my developing ideas. I've spent a number of enjoyable and chilly hours drawing and photographing hedgerows and pathways, and photographing stone walls to draw later. 

Today I visited Alison Uttley's birthplace for the third time, drawing and redrawing a pathway by the boundary of the farm, I spent time walking the hawthorn hedgerows and stone walls near the farm house. Drawing allows time to pause, think, to look, notice and understand these boundaries that inspire me. The notion of boundary is important within my evolving ideas, a physical barrier representing safety and respect.

 Overgrown hawthorn hedge near Bakewell

 Hedgerow near Bakewell

 Hedgerow drawings

 Stone wall boundary Castle Top Farm

 Wall and path boundary at castle Top Farm

Stone wall Castle Top Farm