Welcome to my new website and blog. Here I hope to share my work and inspiration, along with news of exhibitions, new work, workshops and news.
It’s been a long and winding path I’ve taken through this ancient landscape, through magical valleys and along hidden coastal pathways. Years of looking and listening to the landscape that surrounds my home, and learning my way through the hedgerows and thickets, deep into a place lost to modern life, a place where the sacred landscape comes alive and where deer and foxes lead you down a myriad of pathways into the green remembering hillsides and woodlands.
I used to live a very different life, one of mortgage, and a bricks and mortar house, supported by a job that sucked at my soul until it nearly dried up and died of hunger. One day I decided to jump, and be brave. I left my old life behind, left my job and my home, and drove away in my car, which was to become my home for the next three months. I met my now husband Phil who was working as a forester, planting large woodlands all over Wiltshire, Hampshire and Berkshire. I decided to do some work with him to clear my head of offices and the corporate world, and to start to deepen my relationship with the landscape.
One of my first jobs with Phil was planting trees and hedgerows in the fields overlooking Avebury and West Kennet Long Barrow, up early mornings in the frost and snow of January and February, the planting season. We worked high up on the hills that looked down on Avebury and Silbury, often shrouded in the dawn mist as we arrived and unloaded hundreds of tree saplings to plant. l used to wrap myself in so many layers of clothing I could barely walk, but the clear frosty air felt fresh and healing in my lungs and working outside started the slow recovery I so desperately needed. I still love to drive
over to Avebury and West Kennet occasionally, and see the trees and shrubs maturing as they grow ever stronger and bigger, it feels as if they’ve mirrored my own journey from those early days of tiny shoots of possibility, to now, strong and green and able to withstand the storms life blows in.
We live together on an old organic farm, tucked away hidden from view and next to an ancient apple orchard. The orchard and fields that surround us are full of animals and birds. As I lie in bed I can hear owls calling to each other from the gnarled apple trees, back and forth in their conversation. Deer come very close to our home, stepping silently out of the trees and warily helping themselves to anything we try to grow in the garden. Ravens live in the tops of the enormous redwood trees, planted by the landowners grandfather, and now the tallest trees on the farm. Foxes call and badgers dig... in the next field to us is a huge old badger set that stretches along the hedgerow for at least two hundred feet. Hares crouch in the fields and I’ve sometimes found leverets hiding in the long grass. I’m so lucky to live so close to the things that inspire my work, hares, badgers, owls, foxes, deer, squirrels, hedgehogs and much more. We have buzzards and red kites, goshawks and yellowhammers, and even, occasionally, we have sea eagles fly in and stop over for a week or two before they journey onward to their destination.
I love to paint these creatures in my images, usually under a night sky, with moonlit landscape. I am drawn to the night as a quiet time, when humans have mostly slowed down, their endless noise reducing in volume and their doors closed against the outside world as they sit in brightly lit rooms, blind to the nocturnal activities and landscape that comes alive at dusk.
My inspiration also comes from the history of the landscape, folktale and folk ballad, and our rich Celtic mythology. I try to instill in my work a sense of otherworldliness, of a connection back in time to a quieter place of earthly wisdom, and into the magical worlds imagined by our ancestors.
And now, eighteen years later I now have a beautiful studio in a nearby village where I craft my jewellery and paint my images. Phil, having given up forestry, now occupies the opposite studio, and he looks after the growing business of selling my cards and prints. He produces all our prints in his studio, making the box canvases and working with our lovely assistant Annika. She packs all our cards and prints and works tirelessly putting up with Phil’s appalling sense of humour!