For the last week or two, aside from healing from endometriosis surgery no1, I've been prepping the little studio in the cottage to receive visitors - It's sort of a test run for the overall aim which is to have a much larger studio-gallery here in the lake district where I can show the amazing artworks, jewellery & ceramics my friends & associates make as well as my own. So it's a little update & chat this time...

...Part of setting up the cottage & studio has been enjoying foraging in our semi-wild garden for my vases & I've been inspired by Athena Calderone, so, so much. Her ritual daily enjoyment & arrangement of her home & the sentiments of self care in her cookery & home design are pure joy. In this, I also took some time to incorporate learning from the amazingly wise A.F Nutrition & applying her incredibly thoughtful dietary support for life with endometriosis in to my day. It's been lovely to know everything that I'm eating & drinking is helping back up my body & the intricacies of healing, truly healing, not putting a bandaid over a problem with chemical meds which almost always adds a new nasty side effect to the repertoire, ( see @af_nutrition on Instagram for her incredibly helpful & kind hearted services )

I also took my drawing sessions out in to the Spring sunshine to sit & draw the lambs just outside the cottage, I've loved watching them play (had to release one from behind a gate, you think cats are curious, just watch a field of lambs for a hour) ...I'm listing my sketches from around the lakes here in the web shop along with my first print releases, starting this week. I'll also be open to studio visits for anyone wanting to view / collect a piece (safely) from 17th of May & as I've already mentioned in some of my posts, I'll be starting out donating 5% of profits to The Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the more I sell the more I can donate - With a little luck I can bump it up to 10% before the next few months pass...

The Cumbria Wildlife Trust are one in a small set of brilliant conservation workers here in the lakes. Their work & their approach is fantastic, they want people to be aware of the serious issues we all face, in a positive way which encourages people to stay connected to the joy & beauty of the countryside - the very same sentiment in my work. I recommend their Instagram page (@cumbriawildlifetrust) it's an excellent dose of 'nature-dopamine' as well as an informative connective place to learn. I can't wait to get to know them better & spread the joy as the world opens back up for exhibitions & the countryside to (caring) visitors...

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My 'Interior' artworks began with the idea of a giant print where everything I study & discuss could convene, a representation of digital spaces & human behaviours within them.

This was inspired by my passion for the tiny temple-like structures built for Roman & Greek Votives to live in called Larariums. Votives or specifically, 'Lares' (hence, Lararium) were tiny prayer figures which represented each prayer or request to the gods & the Larariums ended up resembling modern day doll houses once filled with these figures.

The Lararium could be seated on anything from a simple shelf or alcove, to far grander displays a-top wooden cabinets which could contain more votives for other household gods (such as Vesta, goddess of the hearth) & a store of offering ingredients. The Lararium itself would be filled with appropriate votive figures & offerings in tiny vials & dishes & the figures arranged according to the prayers of the moment alongside a flame kept lit for the Lares & the Penates (the gods of the pantry) & then this arrangement would be tended to & worshipped through different points in the day.

It's likely no surprise that as this has built over the last year & a half of working & designing the collection, I have come to love it like a child loves a doll house... & more so.

It's been a sort of strange experimental archaeology & a sigilistic practice to add to it, each time feeling the themes & sentiments of choosing what to add & how to speak through a set of figures, furnishings & objects. The resulting work comes forward in an illustrative language which has become the most delightful & truest way I can in fact discuss anything.

Above - Work on my Lararium print / An example of a Laraium

I'm nearing completion of the first print run, each limited edition run of 100 prints will have a different set of rooms, figures & objects & a small inventory certificate for them.

Right - Wooden Lararium, discovered wonderfully preserved at Herculaneum.

#experimentalarcheology #neoclassical #ancientways #artistsblog #dollhouse #artandhistory #contemporaryart #classicalart

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We all surely must - regardless of personal taste, acknowledge Gainsborough's skill & of course, his passion for painting fine fabrics & the English landscape, if nothing more. The son of a silk merchant, he seemed to use his artistic abilities to bring justice from an early age. As a child, he apparently witnessed a man stealing pears straight from a neighbours tree & because of his execution of a sketch of the man, helped identify the thief. But leap forwards to adult Gainsborough & a much more conscious & subtle rebellion with injustice was trying to speak....

People forget so quickly the injustices that us regular folk had to get used to through history. Art is often there to remind us. I find myself often reminding people of the the Inclosures Act. The common land, off which many of the poor lived, began being fully closed off & by the 1780's the wealthy who claimed it put extreme penalties on hunting or foraging from it. Mr & Mrs Andrews, the subject of this Gainsborough painting, were a prime example of such an overfed wealth at this time. I always felt unsettled by their expressions, this isn't a pleasant painting & the answer to that it seems, is in the unfinished patch in Mrs Andrews lap, or rather, in Gainsborough's morals. People are not sure why it was unfinished & left with the family until so recently, especially when at the time a Gainsborough portrait was so sought after. He depicted them, it seems, as they truly were. An unpleasant example of the people inflicting the horrors of the inclosure acts, whilst sitting proudly boasting a thus unpainted pheasant or some such bird, (which they would not have caught themselves) Not only this, but it seems a direct reflection of the Dutch influences Gainsborough took inspiration from, often depicting women almost violently clutching a pun in the form of a bird. Mrs Andrews hasn't been out hunting, not in this fine gown, her husband has done that work & what viewers do not see, if how close to the site of the portrait their manor house is, she hasn't ventured far, to claim her prize cock. They likely threw a wobbler with Gainsborough, when they realised what he was saying about them with his brush.

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Collection Creation Blog

Well hello there... welcome. My blog follows both the creative process of my work & some personal experiences & insights as I go along my way. I explore the themes in my work in more direct discussion, keep exhibition diaries & generally nerd out about things like 18th century ways to bleach your whites - beware.