Upon graduating from an honours degree in Woods, Metals and Plastics in 2002, I was awarded the British Crafts Council "Next Move" Award, which involved a placement within a University Metal department. I moved to Liverpool to join the faculty of Design at Liverpool Hope University. Stimulating conversations with lecturers in sculpture, silversmithing, and ceramics departments enriched my practice. I began developing the forms I made at college, experimenting with scale, form and surface, exhibiting the pieces nationally and also in Europe.
As the two year residency ended, I was offered a studio space at Bridewell Studios in Liverpool City Centre; a 19th Century Police Station, used by the local police force until the 1970 when it was purchased by a group of local artists. It has remained a co-operatively run studio group to the present day. In 2006 I was awarded the British Crafts Council Development Award to fund the full equipment of my metalwork and etching studio.
Studying a variety of materials at college, rather than purely metal, has had a profound effect on my work. Slab-building and the use of surface transfer patterns in the ceramics department influenced the approach I took to building 3D forms in metal, and to the techniques I used to adorn the forms surface. A spell in the printmaking department fuelled a love for the process of acid-etching, which allowed me to explore my love of drawing, in the medium of metal. It is the solidity, and permanence of metal that initially attracted me, and its versatility that has continued to fuel my passion for the material.
Imagery from both the built and the natural environment influence the marks, patterns and textures I apply to metal. I am attracted to repetitive motifs; endless identical windows on a skyscraper, a neatly ploughed field, tide marks on a beach. Equally influential are scarred and eroded architectural facades; peeling wallpaper revealing patterns of mould and mildew, the remains of a staircase on a half-demolished building, protruding pipes and electricity wires. The paintings of Antoni Tapies and Ben Nicholson, and the jeweller Manfred Bishcoff have also influenced my work.
My starting point in the translation from imagery to metal is to draw and to make prints. These works on paper, and subsequently the sculptural forms, explore a sense of proportion; of space, pattern and line. Studying buildings from varying viewpoints, I became interested in form, and perception of form on a large scale. In response to these ideas, the sculptural forms twist and distort, deceiving the eye.
In 2004 I began to make wall mounted pieces. In contrast to the controlled nature of creating the Vessels, the wall pieces allowed a more expressive approach. I developed an extended slate of etching metal colouring techniques in order to be more spontaneous in the act of drawing into metal. I am currently developing these wall pieces on a larger scale.