“My work investigates synergies between illustration practice and ‘folk’ arts, incorporating decorative and functional modes of image making, traditional skills, and narratives based on communal and personal memories.
“I am interested in the fragmentary and elusive nature of our contemporary understanding of ‘folk’ culture. The term conjures a fuzzy set of connotations in the mind- a lumber room of objects that have been fashioned by an unknown hand for a long forgotten purpose.
“These artworks were often authored by more that one person, and form the antithesis to our modern throw away culture- painstakingly crafted from the scraps and detritus of everyday life, a way of whiling away time during convalescence, or enforced domesticity.
“There is a strong sense that these objects were significant only as the background to people’s everyday lives, enriching the patina of memory of times and places, but not meant to be scrutinised in a gallery or commercial setting. I find this an interesting challenge to contemporary notions of what ‘art’ can be and who can be an artist.
“For me the word ‘folk’ is ultimately an imaginative trigger, conjuring an imaginary place where my love for rural landscapes, the colours and texture of the natural world, nostalgia for lost ways of living, and a sense of magic innate in the world can be explored.
“I am very interested in participatory art practice, and run workshops and skill share sessions – both in my work as a teacher in HE and informally.
“I studied English Literature at Bristol University, and also Graphic Design/Illustration in Liverpool, and have a masters in Illustration from the University of Brighton. I am currently a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University specialising in Illustration, and also teach at Camberwell College of Arts in London. I edit ‘The Journal of Illustration’ and organise conferences and exhibitions on the subject of illustration.”