Friday 30 November 2012

put a sock in it

When knitting I know the basics and invent as I go along, I've also held on to the belief that I CAN'T READ PATTERNS (Yes, the voice in my head does shout). Recently I've challenged this belief and decided the time had come to knit a sock. It wasn't particularly easy, but with trial and error, YouTube videos posted by kindly souls and being prepared to unwind hours of work I got there. Now I can interpret the language of knit and understand st-st, k, p, m1, psso, k2tog, p2tog, p2togtbl, s1, s1p, ssk and make a Kitchener stitch (this particuar stitch requires 100% concentration).

My gravestone cosies are made in my old way, of invention and problem solving and with a pile of wool waiting to be made into a cosy for my Auntie Violet's grave in Clutton I do wonder if my growing knowledge will alter the way I knit. Watch this space.


Thursday 29 November 2012


Last weekend I ran felt making workshops with the amazingly energetic volunteer Hilary at The Hepworth Wakefield (Hilary is a legend). Here I let you into a secret - felt making doesn't interest me much (gasp). This is my own personal attitude that I keep under wraps and again during the weekend I was reminded that my personal feelings are not important one jot. I was carried along by the publics reaction to the process and alchemy of creating a felted fabric using fleece and energy, transforming light and fluffy into a hardwearing and fixed (almost) ‘object’. 

My belief is it’s not always important for the creative practitioner to favour the subject they share. In this case my ‘distance’ from felt making allowed me to cut corners, making this a child friendlily and relatively quick activity. What a creative practitioner does need is joy in process, of clearly staging the learning journey, of encouraging and supporting exploration and learning by the individual at their own pace in their own way. In my own way I give guidance, 'listen’ to body language, and at times I consciously hold back to create a space for the participant to discover by thinking and doing. 

This is the workshop I notice the most heartfelt thanks at the end... it fires up something in people, I’d call it wonder, they really value the gift of the experience.

This little girl was about 6 and was wearing a beaded rainbow headband, her mother told me she loved rainbows. Here her dextrous and careful hands are expertly laying down her design onto the rolling mat. I was struck by the care she took and delicacy of her hand eye coordination. 

We are felt making again on the 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th of December - so come along and work off the Christmas stupor!

Saturday 29 September 2012

consider, discuss, select

The final days of our project, A September To Remember at The Hepworth Wakefield have flown by. Last week we spent a day on the Yorkshire Moors with walk leader Pete, learning about compass readings and taking bearings. This week we've worked in the learning studio with a focus of making, considering and selecting work for exhibition. The consensus is our show is not about an end point, it celebrates how far we have come and hints at continuation. With this in mind the title Until The Far Distance suggests onward momentum and facing the future. During an intensive three weeks we brought together a group of people who had never met before, who were not aware of Richard Long's work and challenged them to create artworks in physical and exciting ways - walking, looking, listening, responding, measuring, making, taking photos, drawing, creating text, discussing. This week we designed and distributed invites, considered curation and marketing, created interpretation text and planned skills sharing workshops led by the young people during the celebration event for the show. Seven participants started and seven remained for the whole process, an amazing journey with learning for all of us, not just the young people.

Until The Far Distance opens in Gallery 6 on 2nd Of October and runs until the 7th October (gallery open 10am-5pm). Join us on the 5th October between 4pm-7pm for a celebration event with refreshments and art activities led by the young artists themselves.

 Getting our bearings

 Recording the landscape

What could go where? Visual thinking for our exhibition

 Word clouds created with Wordle

Flakes of clay fallen from the groups drawings

Working wall - to be exhibited in the picnic area next to the learning studios

Thursday 27 September 2012

until the far distance

I've been working with artists Gillian Brent and Bryony Pritchard engaging an inspiring group of young people with the work of Richard Long at The Hepworth Wakefield. Their show, Until The far Distance, opens in Gallery 6 on October 2nd and runs until October 7th. Join us on the 5th between 4pm-7pm for a celebration event with refreshments and art activities led by the young artists themselves. 

Tuesday 18 September 2012

act, intervene, observe

Our project, A September To Remember at The Hepworth Wakefield is in full swing engaging a dedicated group of young people in making art. These pictures show local explorations, actions in the learning studios and our visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. All interventions, recordings and tweaking's sparked by Richard Long's concepts and methodologies. Ta Richard.

 Exciting intervention in the everyday - but is it art?

 Clay = action, stick = contemplation - moods induced by process

 The artist making her mark

 Walking the line

 Tools for art making

 What could it mean?

 Not us, but I wish it had been

One for me... I'm always drawn to these memorials, and today I learned the story behind this one

Thursday 23 August 2012

young people's project

Myself and colleagues from the Creative Practitioner team at The Hepworth Wakefield are currently planning an intensive three week programme of creativity and experimentation for young people inspired by Richard Long's exhibition in the gallery. Artist Rooms: Richard Long continues until Sunday 14th October 2012.

richard long

On the opening weekend of Richard Long's exhibition I ran drop-in workshops for families using pebbles, cobbles and slate to create spirals, circles and sinuous lines that traversed the learning studio floor. The seriousness with which the children took in decision making, arranging and careful positioning of stone next to stone delighted me and led to interesting conversations with parents sharing our own memories of absorbing childhood play. 

The particularly wet June meant we worked indoors but I dearly hope we can use the marvellous outdoor green space that runs the length of the gallery (near to Long's grass work) in future drop-ins.

Monday 18 June 2012


In the peace and quiet before a workshop I take great pleasure in setting up the workspace, focusing on how to help my group feel welcome and considered within the studio. As I was doing this a colleague walked in and said Oh, your spaces. I like to think of this space as mine, it travels with me and I can make anywhere home for a while.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Sunday 27 May 2012


Enjoyed presenting my talk at the Woolgather show and the questions/comments that arose regarding making work in cemeteries, sharing my practice with my family and the sensitivities around this. Met the whole Woolgather team at last - John, Annie and Chris, and listened to Edwin Li and Dominic Heffer talk eloquently about their work.

Awards night next friday...

Monday 7 May 2012

local paper

Dropped off some Woolgather flyers to the Hepworth staffroom today, and found this pinned on the noticeboard with vote for Karen scrawled next to it in green pen (my favourite colour). Thank you to whoever did that. This must have been in the Wakefield Express, but not sure when... Apologies for scan quality (and blob of jam), did try to find a link to the article online but no luck.

Thursday 3 May 2012

tea and ginger nuts

My work is safely delivered to Leeds for the Woolgather Art Prize 2012. Met the lovely Annie who brought us tea and ginger nuts and gave us a tour of the spaces that will be filled with art. Show opens friday 11th May at 1 Cross York Street. I’m intrigued by how the 25 artists work will be curated and can’t wait to see the show, very pleased to be a part of this.

Monday 30 April 2012

sites in sight - final session

Today was my last session as artist in residence in the Warwick Community Group shop, Knottingley, West Yorkshire. 

The residency was commissioned by The Art House and supported through Wakefield Council’s Creative Partners Grant Scheme and by Wakefield District Housing. 

Monday 23 April 2012

woolgather gathering

You choose the winner

Woolgather Art Prize 2012
Event Opening
May 11th, 18:00-22:00
Open Everyday
May 12th - June 8th, 12:00-18:00
Awards Night
June 1st, 18:00-22:00
1 Cross York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EE
(Formally The Loft and a minute's walk from Leeds Bus Station)

Monday 16 April 2012


During the second week of the easter holidays we welcomed over 1000 participants into my felt making workshops for families at The Hepworth Wakefield. People loved making felt - the alchemy, the magic of transforming materials with their hands. Some adults without little ones popped their heads round the door too, and asked if they could have a go... fantastic... the more the merrier.

Here are some of the children's designs inspired by the collection in Gallery 6: Hepworth & St Ives.

Friday 30 March 2012

woolgather art prize

Received exciting news at the beginning of March that I'd been shortlisted for the Woolgather Art Prize 2012. 25 artists have been selected and the show will open on friday 11th May in a venue yet to be decided in Leeds. In the run up to the prize each artist was asked to make a short film about their dream for the future: here is mine.

sites in sight event

Participants of the Sites in Sight Residency, Mary and Clare came over to The Art House the day before our event and cooked up a storm. Their amazing bakes are on show here and were appreciated by all. We turned a room in The Art House into a mini residency space, asking visitors to swap friendship and food memories in return for a slice of cake. We welcomed a diverse audience on the Wakefield Artwalk and were able to share our project with many new faces.

2d to 3d

A class of Year 2 pupils had fun in The Hepworth Wakefield learning about 2D and 3D, here they are transforming their drawings into sculptures.

Sunday 25 March 2012

puppet making

Great weekend of creating at The Hepworth Wakefield: puppet making workshop for families inspired by Heather and Ivan Morisons's new body of work using objects, performance and puppetry.

 Intervening in a projected Lottie Reiniger film

OHP and spoon puppet play

This drop-in session for families will be repeated on saturday 21st and sunday 22nd April and saturday 9th and sunday 10th of June, 11am-4pm in the Learning Studios, ages 2-13 - all welcome.