Friday 1 December 2023

summit of win hill - care collaboration commission

Walking to the summit of Win Hill in the footsteps of J. B. Firth and in honour of Hope, Paul and Penny Robinson of Ilkeston.

24th November 2023
Photographs by Clare Logan

gorse & walking skirt - care collaboration commission

On Friday 24th of November I traveled to Hope and walked to the summit of Win Hill with my sister, Clare. J. B. Firth writes on page 206 of The Highways & Byways in Derbyshire, There is no more restful scene on which the eye of man can rest than the Vale of Hope as seen from the summit of Win Hill.

This was the first journey and walk in the skirt inspired by Hope, Paul and Penny Robinson. It was a short but meaningful walk, discovering how the skirt felt, moved and functioned (and how I felt, moved and functioned in it). I was delighted that the yellow ric-rac mirrored gorse, furze or whin, and the blue ribbon matched the cloudless sky! I'd not expected to reflect nature with these gaudy colours. 

Monday 25 September 2023

hope, paul and penny - care collaboration commission

I'm making gentle progress with the Care Collaboration commission, a project within Ruth Singer's Cultures of Care ACE funded project. 

I've visited the Hope Robinson Letters Collection at the Erewash Museum a number of times now. The first visit was to see what resonated within the whole museum, and I was drawn to the room telling the story of Hope Robinson, her husband Paul and their daughter Penny. Paul was a POW in Thailand during WW2 (forced to build the Burma-Thailand Railway) and Hope wrote and published a pamphlet after interviewing two escaped soldiers - this pamphlet led to 5,000 letters arriving at Hope's home in Ilkeston. The letters were from desperate families living in painful limbo, having received only snippets of information and infrequent censored postcards from their loved ones.

What a story!

Within the exhibition are a couple of items that linger in my thoughts, a bamboo covered book: a 1923 edition of the Highways and Byways in Derbyshire that Paul memorised during his captivity, and a dancing skirt, made for Penny by Hope from blackout material decorated with rick-rack. These objects represent how Paul, Hope and Penny endured a horrendous time. How Paul stayed connected to Derbyshire, how Hope sat at her sewing machine transforming blackout fabric and Penny danced with abandon shaking a ribboned tambourine. 

The book/the skirt inspired an interest in stories of endurance, how people endure times of uncertainty and limbo. What strategies, rituals, routines do people practice to survive, possibly thrive during these times?

With this in mind I am making myself a walking skirt based on Penny's dancing skirt. I will read the Highways and Byways of Derbyshire and walk routes around Ilkeston in my ribbon and rick-rack skirt. I'm interested in what may emerge as I make and walk, what conversations and thoughts are sparked. I'll be reaching out for walking companions and stories of endurance too, but all in good time.  

The 1923 edition of Highways and byways in Derbyshire by John Benjamin Firth that Paul kept and memorised while a POW

Penny in her dancing skirt

Text from display in the Letters of Hope exhibition at the Erewash Museum: This skirt was made for Penny by Hope to play dress-up. It is sewn from blackout material.

Blackout material, rick-rack and machine stitch

Wednesday 26 July 2023

care collaboration commission

Thrilled to share that I'm working with Ruth Singer on one of three Care Collaboration commissions within Ruth's new Cultures of Care Arts Council England funded project.

My starting point is the Hope Robinson Letters Collection, on display at Erewash Museum, Ilkeston. I was very moved by particular items in the display and these have sparked ideas that I'm excited to develop.

Detail of Blossom & Thorn, installation by Ruth at the Timber Festival, July 2023

air arts workshops

In March I responded to a call out from air arts and was delighted to be selected to provide lunchtime workshops for staff at Royal Derby Hospital.

I was particularly interested as the brief asked artists to respond to the UHDB Medical Museum collection - a unique archive of over 1000 objects that provides an insight to the history of medicine and Derby and Burton hospitals. The brief also requested that an element of celebration and/or the colour blue be included to mark the 75th Birthday of the NHS on the 5th of July 2023. 

Below are the items I picked from the collection. I've developed a lunchtime mono-print drawing and block-printing activity that I really hope staff will enjoy.

Derbyshire General Infirmary
Birds eye view of the proposed new buildings - architectural blueprint
Bloomsbury & Young Architects 1891

Rubber stamps with wooden handles: Elastoplast, Hypertensive, Penicillin, Septrin, Diabetic, Asthmatic, Angina 
Lincoln Rubber Stamps 20th Century

Maddox Cheiroscope with picture cards
London Clemment Clarke Ltd 1960's

draw derby - april/may/june 🙂

My Draw Derby gatherings are simple and complex all at once. DD provides a time and space to meet and draw together and draw together: in friendship, gentle support and in building confidence.

We meet by the Waterfall Sculpture in the Market Place (shown in first image) at 10.30am on the last Saturday of each month and draw for two hours. Here's a link for the July gathering, please see eventbrite for all 2023 dates - all welcome, don't let believing you can't draw put you off.

April - Market Place Derby

Selection of April drawings

May - Derby Cathedral

Selection of May drawings

June - Bridge by the Museum of Making

Selection of June drawings

Wednesday 29 March 2023

experimental drawing with horizons 6th form

My Tuesday mornings are rather exciting as I'm running experimental drawing sessions with fabulous students from Horizons 6th from at Derby QUAD. 

We had our third session this Tuesday, hardly ever take photos (no time!) BUT managed to take these beauties this week. Last week we went on a gathering walk near the river by the Museum of Making, we also took photographs along the route. This week we made drawing tools from the natural materials gathered and the photographs inspired mark-making and drawing.

To keep the DIY ethos going, the group used pestle and mortars to create 'paint' from turmeric, spinach, blueberries, beetroot, coffee, charcoal and soil! Amazing and sometimes unexpected colours were released.

Jamie captured his beautiful river photograph with the leaf drawing tool and charcoal 'ink' 🖤

for wilfred

In early 2022 I had the privilege of working on a very special commemorative commission. I pieced together vintage linen (much repaired, hemmed, some monogrammed, tea towel sized) to create a two meter hanging.

The piece was commissioned by a granddaughter in memory of her grandfather Wilfred. My heart warmed towards Wilfred while looking at documents from his life and reading a handwritten note of thanks to his son and daughter-in-law (the commissioners parents). Precious echos from which to create from and this writing became central to the piece.

I love working with repaired fabric and these textiles were skilfully mended, showing their value, that thrift and longevity were important. I added another layer, working in collaboration with the unknown sewer, connected for a time and couldn't help but wonder about their life too.

Goodbye, Hurriedly, Dear Both

Monday 27 March 2023

play nicely

2022 was a particularly tough one.

This February I moved into a roomy one-bed rental flat in Langley Mill, Derbyshire with my cat Cilla. Unable to find affordable accommodation along the Derwent Valley I made the difficult decision to leave Haarlem Artspace in Wirksworth and the familiar people/surroundings that I love - hopefully I'll return one day.

I'm grateful for my own space and being reunited with my darling cat. Have set up a studio in the living room and am planning to take time to reengage with my art practice, pick up unfinished work and consider next steps. There is a neglected garden here and I've purchased a selection of interesting heritage seeds and plan to sew a small patch of flax.

I'm currently working as a creative practitioner for Derby QUAD, the Museum of Making (Midlands Maker Challenge) and Artcore.

Draw Derby is going from strength to strength: word of mouth and DD's Instagram is calling in the drawing kin - as I'd hoped. A regular attendee took me aside at the March gathering and said Draw Derby had changed her life, giving her confidence and the opportunity to meet likeminded, Kindly people - WOW! For more information and to book a free Eventbrite ticket see here!

Watch this space! Come on 2023 - play nicely!