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Biography

 

I grew up in the 70's in Telford, Shropshire in a council estate surrounded by rolling hills and countryside. I found my passion within clay as a young 7 year old, when I was given some air drying clay by my junior school teacher. I had to make an owl! I found that I was quite competent at pushing and pulling the clay, I enjoyed the feel of it in my hands.

 

As a child I was an outside kid, preferring to be inside my own imagination, in my own world, making dens, playing in mud, climbing trees, exploring the vast woodland surrounding my council estate. I distinctly remember making mud pies on a children's park slide, playing for hours in the sloppy mess. This was preferable to sliding down the apparatus!

As a troubled child I found comfort in the outdoors which was an escape to my home and family life.

 

I was the first person in my family to go to university which was also rare in the estate I grew up in. The majority of my peers were parents at the age of 16. In the 1990's, Telford had the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe. I wanted more and needed to escape. A relentless search for something more than factory work and a need to escape, I turned to education. My school burned down (twice) and I managed to gain enough GCSE's to access college. I found out later on in life that I have an ADHD brain which explains my difficulties in fitting in. My college and University tutors were fantastic. Melanie Brown was a massive influence and much needed support within my last year of my ceramics degree course who helped me to complete my BA. Later Gwen Heeney, David Jones and Mel Brown inspired me to be the artist I have now become. I had some very inspirational and supportive teachers at college and university. I attended the University of Wolverhampton and graduated with a BA (hons) degree in 3D design (ceramics). I had a sell out degree show in The Art in Clay ceramics festival at Hatfield House in '97.

At this time, my work was a direct response to the factory work where I was employed part time at a car parts factory in Telford. This environment was dirty, bleak and physical hard work (12 hour continental shifts) nights and days... But was filled with hard working men who I became fond of. These people became my extended family.

The factory men had a massive impact on how my work developed. The way in which the factory workers behaved towards one another gave a unique insight into how men interacted physically and emotionally within a confined space. This led to a development in my work and a move towards figurative sculpture.

I went on to study a Masters in ceramics and focused on the figure and face with themes of identity. Paintings and studies of working men and women within the working class helped to form the basis of my figures and led to questions within British Society, culture, race and gender.

Between my studies, I started a family of my own and became employed as an Art and Design Lecturer at Telford College of  Arts & Technology. My work as a lecturer and my young family took up most of my time and my artwork fitted in when I had any time to myself. It became an art therapy.

During 2011 I went through a major life change which allowed me to see the world with different eyes. I learned to focus on what was important- family, art and mental wellbeing. At this time, I realised I 'played' at being an artist and now knew that it should be a bigger part of my life. To make art; to paint and sculpt was to become a major part of my life. I yearned for the feel of clay in my hands and to push colour around! I needed it! It was and still is an essential part of my wellbeing. 

I continue to work as a visiting lecturer from time to time in Telford and always give to others less privileged as myself. The learners involved in the Pottery I work at and manage are varied in ability, race, gender and age. I enjoy sharing my art practice with people and find it immensely rewarding.

In 2014 I gave birth to my latest child and now work as a full time sculptor. To be able to work with clay on a daily basis is mind-blowingly brilliant. My search for the essence that makes us human is ever elusive and it will continue to be a fascination and passion for me.

I aspire to educate and introduce art to a wider audience within my community and to continue to search for a deeper meaning within my life through the exploration in clay.

For latest updates of my work and processes please join me on my journey via Facebook and Instagram or pop by and check out  the 'featured work' part of this website.