Tell us what you do?
I currently work four days a week in a secondary school in West Sussex. I have two roles: 'OutBacc' Lead (working with Subject Leaders in other foundation subjects), and Subject Lead in the Art department. Around five years ago two important things happened that changed my relationship with my job. Firstly, I was seconded to Brighton University to work with PGCE students one day a fortnight. I realised how much I valued sharing skills and knowledge with others and that the reflective nature of learning never stops. Secondly, I joined the Sketchbook Circle! Re-engaging with my own work and joining the Sketchbook Circle community felt like finding the last piece of a jigsaw. I love my 'free' Fridays when I get to make my own work, and I love the impact that this has on other aspects of my life.
How would you describe your work?
Varied! My interests are broad and I draw inspiration from places I visit, exhibitions and galleries, as well as my sketchbook conversations. My current collages are small in scale. Around two years ago a good friend gave me a bag of old postage stamps that had belonged to her father. I started cutting out the motifs on the stamps and creating small scenes by combining them with other materials. I have become a stamp collector (who'd have thought!) as well as a seeker of old atlases, maps, sheet music and books to use in my work. Combining collage, printmaking and drawing I hope to bring new life and meaning to these beautiful, redundant items. More recently I have enjoyed experimenting with different phone apps to move these images on a step further.
What’s your favourite tool or material to work with?
I love all types of printing. My background is in Textiles, although I specialised in Embroidery at University. Before teaching, I owned a clothes shop and t-shirt printing business with a friend in Brighton. I loved the screen-printing process, and since then have enjoyed experimenting with print on different papers, including old dress patterns and maps. Throughout my teaching career, I have learned so many great printmaking techniques which I now use in my own work, with young people in school, and with PGCE students. Different mono-printing techniques, relief printing, rubber stamping, intaglio printing, gelli plate printing... I love it all!
Where do you go to find creative inspiration?
I guess I am an adventurer at heart. When I was young I wanted to be Indiana Jones! I love everything about travel- the maps, the transport, the journey, exploring different places and different cultures. I often return to the sea in my work, and have recently turned my gaze towards the stars and outer space. Do you think I might get to visit the moon in my lifetime?
What’s the first arty thing you can remember making?
I remember mum bought lots of art and craft materials for me when I was small. I have always loved cutting and sticking, so it is funny to think I have returned to this as an artistic pursuit in later life. I liked making animals with play-dough and I loved my fuzzy felts (It was all about the composition if I remember correctly)! We used to make Christmas decorations by cutting out circled from the previous year's cards with pinking shears to form hanging balls. I remember that I particularly loved making plaster of Paris Paddington Bears that came in a kit with a rubbery mould and paints so that you could decorate them.
What are you working on at the moment?
There was a great link that an NSEAD member posted on Facebook recently which re-imagined famous songs as vintage-style book covers of songs such as 'Under Pressure' by Bowie/ Queen. I thought this was such a great direction to take my collages in next. I'm currently writing a list of my favourite songs and trying to make connections to some of the recurring themes in my work, such as the sea and outer space. I'm not there yet, but it's a fun challenge!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given that’s helped you to develop as an artist?
Don't compare yourself to others. Your work is a reflection of who you, embrace it.
Where can we see more of your stuff?