I have been a practising artist since 2012 and am based in Cornwall with a studio at Trewidden Gardens, Penzance. I am a painter and work in oils: my subject matter crosses between the figurative and the landscape. The ideas behind my work are informed through travel and research into social history.
I am a storyteller.
In My Mother's Footsteps, 2016/2017
My Mum, Elspeth, was born in 1926 on Vancover Island, Canada where she lived until the family moved to the Cornwall in 1933. Recently I found an envelope of negatives, which I had developed, the photographs showed the early days of the life on a smallholding the family owned at the foothill of Tzouhalem mountain and the childhood idle of Elspeth and her brother, Grenville.
Elspeth is now 90, she has dementia, these photographs are memories of a precious and distant time that she remembers with amazing clarity. They prompt conversations, laughter and tears which I have been recording, and every time we look at these together, another recollection like names of the dogs, people and their significance in Elspeth’s early childhood days.
These photographs have also given me a rich source of inspiration for a series of paintings, these are my imaginings of the colour and world where Mum lived. They are between reality and a dream place, they are the past which I am trying to rekindle so Mum can remember.
“Memories are the loveliest thing, they last from day to day.
They can’t get lost, they don’t wear out, and can’t be given away” Anonymous
The Pilchard Project, 2015
The Pilchard Project came about from researching the origins of Huers, their huts, the cellars and stores, and the history behind this amazingly lucarative Cornish industry until early 20th Century.
The fish merchants employed the Huers to search the sea for the arrival of the pilchards, this was announced by the shouting Hevva, Hevva through a trumpet from vantage points on the cliffs. They then guided the seine with a form of semaphore made from gorse dipped in white wash or covered in calico.
Some amazing facts about this extraordinary industry, which still exists today but is a shadow of its former glory.
· The shoals of pilchards were so vast that when they arrived at Lands End, the land split the shoal, half going North and half South.
· They arrived usually at the end of July – Corn up in shock, Fish into Rock
· The sea turned a dark red/purple, this was the first sign of their arrival
· St Ives had over 45 different fish merchants
· Salted pilchards were exported to Italy and as far as the Caribean
· St. Ives employed one third of its population in the pilchard industry
· Pilchards were a source of food, light (fish oil) and money, hence the phrase
· Meat, Money & Light – All in One Night!