I work as an artist, both on my own and with others. I develop flexible and responsive processes that allow us to think imaginatively with ourselves and each other, and am particularly interested in working with those who find themselves on the margins.
To see some examples click onto My Work and if you’d like to talk to me about any of it please get in touch via the contact page.
How I got from then to now
(a high-speed life story)
I grew up in the Kent countryside – number 4 out of 6 sisters. We cooked stinging nettle soup over smoky fires, broke bones doing bare backed riding stunts and learnt to drive in an old blue Skoda round the fields.
I went from school to art college but when I got there I felt disappointed at how disconnected it felt from everyday life. One day I skipped college and went to the Outsiders exhibition in London. Even writing this so many years later, I have the same thrill of excitement at what I felt was wild and immediate work. I knew college was not the place for me and so I moved to London and joined the fun happening at Oval House – a buzzing community arts centre. I started doing workshops and performances there and never looked back.
Along the way, I have done many different things and worked with hundreds of great people. I’ve toured street theatre shows to European festivals; I’ve performed as a circus strongwoman, a Thatcherite MP, the Pope, and an ant. I’ve played accordion on a solidarity circus tour of Nicaraguan schools, hospitals, and with the Sandanista army. I’ve taught performance at the original Bristol circus school, and directed theatre, cabaret and circus shows in big tops on windy hillsides.
I paint, draw, make books, maps and animate films which often revolve around ideas of connection and belonging. I’ve had solo shows and been part of group exhibitions. I went back to college to do an MA in Fine Art in Context and toured a little shed full of my artists books. I’ve made art alongside lots of different people including women prisoners, Gypsies and Travelers, children, refugees and asylum seekers, supporting people to express their personal perspectives as part of a shared purpose.
I’ve been Artist in Residence at Speedwell Nursery School and Children’s Centre for over 12 years, working with some of the more vulnerable families there, and my work is part of a community of practice that extends across disciplines. I’ve mentored young artists, done visiting lecturing and presented my work at conferences. I’ve made a hand-drawn animated film in the shed in my backyard, and toured it nationally in an itinerant cinema run by wolves.
I’ve revived a childhood love of making maps, and have become immersed in this again, making maps alongside my writing. I’ve encouraged people to make their own narrative maps of the places that are important to them, and started a process of participatory mapping called the Atlas of Human Kindness.
I began an Education Doctorate at the University of Bristol and unexpectedly discovered that I love writing. I found that I didn’t have enough time to fully embrace academia and make art and had to make a choice and art won. I exited the course with a PgDip in Research and Professional Studies in Education and have just completed The Stinging Nettle Atlas, which I hope brings together some of what I learnt about time, memory and identity in a creative way.
I’ve taken on an allotment and turned it from a bit of a tip into a beautiful space where groups meet to grow, cook and share food. I’ve formed a gang of fruit ninjas to forage fruit for preserves and liqueurs to sell and raise money for women living in refugee camps. Most importantly I’ve been continually motivated by how sharing creative practice has the power to connect, enable and inspire us all.