Mail art exchange exhibition – I didn’t lick it

I Didn’t Lick It’ @brutoncorrespondenceschool‘s first group exhibition.


I am pleased to be part of the exhibition I Didn’t Lick It, a group exhibition of over 350 artists who have collaborated using mail art with the Bruton Correspondence School over the last twelve months.

The Bruton Correspondence School is a (slow) mail art exchange project established by Chris Roberts and Rebecca McClelland, partly in response to the impact of the worldwide lockdown and their attempt to connect with a broader audience on the most basic and meditative level.

The collection showcases the innate ability of collage to construct a fresh and new visual exchange beyond the two-dimensional into the structural world and craft of visual making. While experimental, each collage is also didactic, layered with hidden messages, reoccurring motifs and shared concerns that speak as an abstract indicator of the surreal times we live in.

This was an excellent opportunity to broaden my own current research and investigations into the collaborative possibilities of drawing and image-making through a shared response to secondary materials and correspondence and annotation. Participating in the project was also a chance to indulge my recent obsession with moiré patterns printed inside envelopes.

The exhibition will be across three sites in Bruton – The Bruton Museum @brutonmuseum / The Old Pharmacy @oldpharmacybruton and the Dovecote Gallery @dovecotegallerybruton

The show will run from 24th July – 25th September 2021, open weekdays 11am-1pm and Saturdays 11am-3pm.

In Session: Publishing Self

Publishing self was a 40 minute discussion around the nature and positioning of the portfolio as a tool and platform.

Creating a progression portfolio can be a mystifying experience. How do you create a compelling narrative about you? This talk brings together Gary Clough, Richard Nash and renowned graphic designer and publisher Tony Brook to discuss their individual practices and parallels between the progression portfolio and art & design publishing. This is an opportunity to join Gary, Richard and Tony in a conversation that draws on aspects of publishing, art direction, editorial design, curation and critical writing. Hear some of their ‘trade secrets’ and then interact with them to ask your own questions.

Sampler series

Rather like the singular activity of drawing in sketchbooks, cross-stitch as activity and pastime has made even more sense during lockdown. The last few months have allowed me to review the Sampler series – a body of stitched works using variegated threads, initially shown in 2018. Lockdown has enabled me the opportunity to experiment with different colour palettes and investigate the potential for further work using cross-stitch and space-dyed thread as a tool for translating ideas around memory and and recoding.

Above: Sampler, work in progress.

Trace Engines – revisited

As we start to see a potential return to international exchange, I have revisited key projects that hinge on international collaboration and dialogue. A model I hope to revisit is Trace Engines, a 5 year-long project bringing together both pedagogic and practice-based research working with universities and galleries in the UK and China. Initiated through a 10-week residency in Guangzhou, China, in partnership with Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art and Arts International Projects. This culminated in a body of work that fuelled a series of exhibitions, workshops, and lectures between 2015 and 2020. I think it is exciting that future projects like this will adapt and transform, incorporating blended approaches with more embedded online and digital forms alongside traditional residency formats.

Lockdown Sketchbook 2020

I’ve continued drawing daily throughout all lockdowns, as I’m sure many other people have too. I’ve also made some changes to this site, with the menu system and content better reflecting my dual roles as artist and educator. It has been a particularly busy and productive time, even during the lockdowns and I will be adding more info on the exhibitions, lectures and workshops I’ve participated in over the last couple of years.

See more sketchbook pages here

Port of Entry – cross stitch journey

Port of Entry opened this week at the Sun Pier House Gallery in Chatham, the work on show is produced in response to travels and research around the nature of visual collecting and transcription from sketchbooks, from cultures and communities as diverse as Shenzhen, Guangzhou, London and Chatham. It looks at the nature of the language of man-made objects as symbols, both recognised and remembered or shared, in terms of agreed knowledge and narrative.

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These initial observations and memories have been translated into a series of drawings which respond to the nature of visual motifs and metaphors commonly associated with home-spun shared knowledge embedded in the decorative nature of ceramics and textiles.

This has culminated in a series of commissioned cross stitch embroideries working with designer maker Linnet Hannan, transcribing the drawings in to a cotton, cross stitch language associated with both traditions of European samplers and rural embroideries from China.

The work will also be shown in October at the Eagle Gallery in Clerkenwell, London as part of Agency, an exhibition showcasing the work of artists who make up The Artists Agency.