About The Sculptures
The unique characters present in the animal kingdom always have and continues to provide endless fascination for me and with this a rich and unlimited source of inspiration. It was whilst at university and living on a farm that I first started incorporating canines into my work ... I became fascinated with their (often absurd) individual personalities and since then on I have become intent on capturing this in my work.
Although dogs remain at the forefront of my work I am particularly drawn to the less loved and ostracised members of the animal community and relish the chance of bringing these into my work - for instance the rats I produced for Operation Jumpsuit were inspired by my own pet rat of the time Glen. The installation 'Libre les Grenouilles' intended to highlight the plight of froggies in the French restaurant trade. Marabou storks are also a particular favourite - I can spend hours watching their antics at the zoo, whilst listening to passers by commenting on their uglyness. In 2010 I created a series of paintings and 3D work based on these studies. Capturing the essence of these creatures is paramount in each piece I produce.
Painting for me is as important as the actual sculptures themselves - I enjoy working in different media as for me it keeps the work fresh. Sketching and painting allow me a better understanding of form but more importantly I enjoy the freedom paint offers - away from all the technical constraints associated with handbuilding clay.
Each sculpture is completely made and finished by hand, no moulds whatsoever are used. Initially a frame is made to support the clay during the making process, I then use slab building techniques to create the piece using a smooth black clay which contains a fine grog giving a close texture and a fine surface to the finished sculpture.
Once dry each sculpture is slowly fired to 1100 degrees. It is then painted by hand using a series of washes to create the desired depth of colour and accuracy essential for commissioned pieces. First the base or root colour is applied, then while stil wet, further washes of lighter colours are added to form shade and pattern. The final details are then added with finer and more delicate brush work.
As my sculptures have grown in popularity demand has outstripped my capability to keep up and it became apparant I needed to train someone up to take over the finishing side of the sculptures. Luckily my husband who has a degree in ceramics stepped in and is now my full time assistant.
Reggie's Roller Palace
A large scale installation featuring over 100 Handmade sculptures, film, music and graphics. It commented on the culture of celebrity and the mass marketing that surrounds it. The show toured from 2010-2013, venues included The Centre for Applied Arts, Ruthin, Stockport Art Gallery, Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford, Park Gallery, Falkirk, Salford Art Gallery.
Solo show of oil paintings and multi media sculpture based on studies of Marabou Storks. Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax 2010
An Installation featuring 500 handmade rats, crows and a cat. Operation Jumpsuit commented on the decline of manufacturing and drew parallels with the conflicts between art and craft. It was commissioned by MIMA, Middlesborough in 2003
Elvis the Whippet's Salon
An installation commenting on the absurdities of the beauty industry which was commissioned by the City Gallery in Leicester, 2001. Elvis the Whippet’s salon was my first solo show and it toured the country for 2 years
A group exhibition of fellow animal sculptors held at the Cedar Farm Galleries based on drawing expeditions to the Zoo, Nov 2017