Our Artists’ Reflections on Landscape
This year’s theme ‘Reflections on Landscape’ has been inspired by over 10 years of art and landscape work Waveney & Blyth Arts has delivered. We asked our artists to consider ideas of scale, perspectives and interaction between wild and cultivated aspects of the landscape. We are living in the context of climate crisis and this, along with broader perspectives on the landscapes we live in and our relationships with it were also suggested ideas to explore.
To see more of each artists’ work, click on their name to be sent to their W&BA profile page.
David Baldry was Froebel educated as a child. He later studied Sculpture at Brighton Polytechnic and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Apart from a year in Rome, he has spent most of his career working education firstly at Harrow School but mostly as Head of Fine Art at the University of Suffolk. He has worked as an advisor for Arts Council and other government bodies both in the UK and the Czech Republic. Throughout this time he has maintained a broad-based practice as an artist with an interest in Drawing, Sculpture, Video, and Architecture.
“We are blessed with a new and extraordinary site close to the East Suffolk coast with its woodland, heath, marsh and of course sky. Art is at its best when pointing to something we don’t always acknowledge or take for granted. This year artists will have every opportunity to think about, engage with and make sculpture in a very special location.”
Grace creates temporary interventions, often located outside a gallery setting. She works across drawing, painting, sculpture and installation, and is particularly interested in our environments; how we build, negotiate and use them. Grace’s work references the objects we buy, the ways we understand landscapes, the everyday; notions of what can be beautiful and where.
Grace proposed ‘Sight Lines’: “The concept is to look out cross the landscape; inland, and out to sea. I want to connect visitors not only to the immediate environment, but through sight lines to a wider place, and to enrich with some contextual information. Each henge invites the viewer in, and their gaze is taken out of the site to far away vistas.”
Since founding Nutmeg Puppet Company in 1979, Meg’s aim is to re-engage people with the natural world. She has worked in Suffolk and Norfolk for over 40 years, making puppet shows inspired by the ecology, plants, animals, social history and folk tales of the area.
In Meg’s proposal, she thought that “it could be fun to place some untidy tree spirits or mad Roses in the formal setting of the gardens, in among the climbing roses; something of the wild reminding us of the origin of the horticultural specimens on show, and what they would like to return to if not tamed and clipped into shape.”
Claire is a multidisciplinary visual artist also known as ‘eyeseethingsdifferently’. She is hugely inspired by nature, and since relocating to Norfolk from Essex, can often be found wandering around the Norfolk coastline and Broads, getting close up to the fascinating displays created naturally and being imbued with energy to create. Claire’s research revolves around assessing our impact on the environment and how the environment affects our mental health.
“My idea will be to produce waves in clay, ranging from small to large to symbolise the effects of rising sea levels caused by global warming. The decoration of the waves will be inspired by the three causes of rising sea levels, thermal expansion, melting glaciers and the decrease of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica.”
Nick developed his artistic practice as a mature student over the past 20 years. He has exhibited his work across the region.
For his work, he said he “would like to make a statement about climate change and the absolute ignorance of some people in our society. I live in the countryside and I propose to collect roadside rubbish from a 5 mile radius to create this piece. I find it incredulous that people litter. I propose to create a large capsule pill, one end will contain cans, the other plastic bottles.”
Norfolk-based artist Kay takes inspiration from working ‘en plein air’ in her practice, particularly in response to the natural environment, as well as architectural structures.
“Taking inspiration from the sea, land and sky taking pleasure in the countryside and the sea. Land and sea is not only beautiful, and calm but vast, complex and dangerous. This relationship between fear and tranquillity are emotions I can identify with. Engaging with nature has helped with my wellbeing and to overcome my recent surgery to remove a brain tumour. I admire an appreciate more so now the beauty found in an individual leaf or a spectacular view.”
James runs Acorn Forge, a small metalwork business based in the heart of rural Suffolk. Over the years James has produced a wide range of items, in particular quality wood burning stoves, firebowls and chimineas, as well as a range of sculptures mainly made from recycled materials.
James pays careful consideration to the materials used as well as the location they sit it: “the butterfly’s wings [are made] from stainless steel using the material’s properties to reflect the colours from the wildflower meadow giving it natural tones and capturing the iridescence of a butterfly in the wild. The body of the butterfly [is] made from my signature material of recycled stainless steel cutlery. The dandelion seed [is] made from stainless steel wire and I aim to capture the delicacy and movement of the subject.”
London-based artist Barbara trained as a sculptor in Germany in the 1990s. Since then, she has exhibited her sculpture, drawing an printmaking work internationally.
“A symbol for our best intentions and attempt to help “to make the trees grow” is the common support structure you find on almost all young urban trees: A young tree strapped in between one or two wooden poles pulled into different directions with straps of rubber. I would like to respond to those through a group of ceramic sculptures strapped into the same contraptions as the young growing trees. These cylinders are still soft and offer no resistance to the pulling force. So instead of being a stabilizing force to hold a tree in place they become a deforming one.”
Tom reconnected with his lifelong interest in Sculpture some years ago. He works from Studios in London and near Blythburgh, Suffolk. His pieces, usually displaying strong mark-making, are executed in clay and are generally figurative.
“My proposal is to place two life sized Heads in strategic positions overlooking the Suffolk landscape. Both Heads are of Barrie Novell, a wonderful model and charming character who died in between the sittings. One head presents a wistful gaze, the other looking up to the heavens; appropriate under the circumstances.”
Ruth’s work responds to her relationship with the environment, typically through the medium of papier mache.
“I am interested in these fractal connections of scale and their implications. I propose to develop this idea of ‘after the flood’ further for ‘Reflections on Landscape’, making a piece a metre square using papier mache, mud, silt, sand and natural pigments showing multiple layers that might be read as patterns in sediment, or as contours on a map/aerial photograph. I am interested in change: reversible and irreversible, natural and caused by human intervention, cyclical and cataclysmic.”
Mike is a sound artist, maker and educator. He utilises technology to enable sound composition in a variety of situations, often installation based and inspired by nature.
“My SoundHide pieces try to capture the essence of a wildlife habitat throughout the seasons and at different times of day and night. The installation takes on the form of a den, now based in a caravan. I love the whole business of getting to know an environment and recording it, editing and making the sound diffusion system and building the Hide. I have been rewarded with such wonderful comments from my previous SoundHides; they clearly touched a lot of people and helped them reflect, relax, remember the past or just enjoy the wonderful sounds.”
Elizabeth is a Suffolk-based artist, creating sculptures with welded steel and adornments. Her 2D work often combines mixed-media approaches.
“I am a sculptor who finds inspiration in the natural world. My work aims to extract the essence of a creature. I try not to create a realistic image, but rather to capture the feeling, movements and appearance of a bird, animal or insect. A moment in time in their life. One of my main themes this year has been herons – which I was going to pursue at Sculpture in the Valley. I have created a heron sculpture from a Bewick print of a heron and another one based on Egyptian paintings of herons, I’ve still got a couple more in me!”
Gen lives in London and creates written, spoken and sung texts and songs, and with field-recordings. In her work, she constructs narratives that are not linear, but suggestive and open to creative interpretation by the viewer/listener, encouraging reflections.
Gen proposed inclusion of an artist’s book, ‘Eros/ion’, and Suffolk song collections. “I was able to do the research and recordings during a residency at Imogen Holst’s house in Aldeburgh, courtesy of the Britten Pears Foundation. The works are responses to particular sites near and on the Suffolk Coast, and deal with the erosion of the land and the erosion of the body. They respond to Covehithe, the Doom painting at Wenhaston, the last grave on Dunwich Cliffs, Orfordness lighthouse, Shingle Street and the little church at Ramsholt, which used to be much nearer the water. All of thee places have been affected by the coastal climate and the changing coastline.”
Special price copy of the limited edition book ‘Eros/ion’, which has photographs and the texts of the sound works and links to listen on Soundcloud. Buy a copy through Gen Doy’s website and quote ‘SitV offer’ to get £3 off. The offer means ‘Eros/ion’ would be £15 + £2 UK postage or £3 EU postage.
‘A Thousand Tides’ (No 2)
This life size bronze figure has travelled far, returning to Suffolk just as its twin starts its final descent into the mudflats at Butley Creek, where it has lain since 2016.
The figure started its life in Laurence Edwards’ studio in Saxmundham, where over one winter and spring it was modelled prone. Not used to horizontal modelling, having only sculpted standing figures up to this point, Edwards was shocked at the empathy he felt with this clay man, which strained to peer down the length of it’s body catching the sculptors eye as he worked on it’s feet, or correcting a chest detail.
This relationship evolved into the summer when, on arriving and uncovering the clay in the mornings, Edwards would involuntarily reach to touch its hand, as if to take a pulse. The figure became a patient more than a sculpture.
Timely too, that this figure looks to be waking, out of some kind of coma, having been dormant for a time, echoes perhaps of what we’ve all been going through these past months.
In searching for peace and contentment in his life, Patrick came across Vipassana Meditation in 1989. Over the years of practising this profound technique it became apparent that a great beneficial change had come about, not only in his daily life but also in his sculpture. In integrating the technique into his life, it was to become the basis for all his work by freeing up the mind allows a natural flow of creativity to occur.
Patrick described his work in poetic form:
“Mirror image, From both sides, Polished stainless, Nowhere to hide
Using scrap, Framed in oak, Shiny metal, So bespoke
Local oak, Charred and dark, Standing tall, Inside the park
Laser holes, Stained in glass, Encased in lead, Sits on the grass
Oak and steel, Coloured glass, Reflecting nature, You shall not pass”
As a sculptural artist currently studying for an MA Fine Art, Emily’s practice explores several avenues including themes around value, heritage, myth and narrative within the context of the object. Her work is often site-specific and uses fragments of memory and ambiguous forms.
In response to the ‘Reflections on Landscape’ brief, Emily intended to create “a large flexible mirror sheet which will be wrapped and fixed around the tree so as to give the impression that the tree itself is broken in two. The reflection of the landscape will be distorted creating a band of alternative interpretation of the surroundings.”
Caroline Gay Way
Caroline is a conceptual artist and poet, particularly drawn site-specific artwork embodied within landscape.
Caroline proposed a site-specific poetry inspired installation: “Changes: Catkins tremble softly stirring winter breeze, Seasons are changing – but not too much as yet, though it is warm for winter here, Are catkins shorter – greyer than remembered, but bravely still adorn the hedgerow, missing now the fullness of birdsong, the hedge is ragged – struggling and flayed, where once a habitat was gently laid”
‘I spend much of my life working outside in a rural environment. In recent years I have focused on an area around the Waveney Valley and especially the five acres in which I work and care for.
Interestingly, this restriction has increased my awareness of the animals and plants that share the area … time has slowed down in a sense and the minute changes take on more significance … I am able to observe more of the web that binds it all together.
I will be exhibiting a stone sculpture made from Ancaster limestone. This stone is made from millions of tiny crustaceans that died millions of years ago.When I think of this and feel the stone being worked I realise how brief our lives are and how this colours our perception … other organisms live very different lives.
To observe and witness is the first step to understanding.’
Pamela is an artist, researcher and educator. Trained in dance,
her practice is informed by phenomenology, the lived body. Installation and theatrical sets/settings, costume, choreography, film, and photography are the end artefacts of her approaches.
Pamela proposed “‘The Body is the Measure’ an installation of two conical tents,15-20 feet tall, sewn from white satin repurposed from a theatre piece on an all women’s expedition in 1978, painted to resemble glacial ice. From the meadow the tents will appear as cairns/markers to walk towards, and on arrival, they become a possible refuge to sit within, reflect and take in the view.”
Rob made inflatable props and scenery for pop concerts over the last 40 years before retiring. Now he enjoys making figurative work in clay fired to stoneware, suitable for garden display.
Rob’s chosen work was from his resin figure series. “The pose represents a flying figure pulling out of a dangerous downward descent. An image of hope for the environment.”
Multidisciplinary visual artist, curator and facilitator Jane celebrates the changing character of nature and climate in her work. She explores growth, change of colours, textures, light and the wildlife in the natural environment to inspire her practice.
In Jane’s proposal she wanted to ““draw” freely and spontaneously with steel, exploring the formation and shape of the cloud. Through the use of carefully chosen angles a suggestion of the digital age and an alternative and current concept of “The Cloud” is referenced. The stainless steel gleams and shimmers making the substance of the sculpture subtle and illusive until it catches the light or creates silhouettes against the sky.”
Spadge is creating on a full-time basis, informed by experience gained during a creative career that involved leadership, product design, the music industry and automotive engineering. Currently he tends to work in 3D using metal.
Spadge wanted to create a new piece which reflects “Potton Hall’s close proximity to Westleton Heath Nature Reserve and RSPB Minsmere, my sculptures will be of two cormorants. These will be laser cut steel, working into to create a shiny and randomly reflective surface. The sculptures have many voids cut ito them which, when naturally back lit create another version of the same bird.”
Mel is a dance artist and life member of the Royal Academy of Dancing. Mel was going to deliver an expressive accessible dance workshop inspired by the sculptural works at Sculpture in the Valley 2020.
“My interest in dance in the landscape and dance as a response to landscape has been one that I have a passion for. I would offer the experience of taking inspiration from the surrounding landscape, the sculptures that have been made and erected on the site. The dances of nature run parallel to us in terms of our rhythms and movement. The outside environment provides stimulus for movement and add to the dance, it invites people to observe sculptures in order to translate them into the body.”
Being somewhat of a rare breed of artists, a founder sculptor, Hudson’s practice is open to endless possibilities unlike few others. Having been through the whole casting process from birth to realisation, allows for a more intimate and creative aspect to his work. Hudson’s sculptures, concerned with the split between people’s interior emotional, psychological and bodily being and their exterior presentation.
“All I can really say about the work that is coming is that is a sculpture of the best mate I ever had. My dog.”
Susie’s work explores the relationships between colours, and form and space. She works in multidisciplinary approaches including painting in acrylic or watercolour, printmaking and sculpture.
In Susie’s proposal, she imagined creating a large installation which responds to the landscape: “possibly involving metal, cement and other materials. I see the reflections in the trees of the Suffolk, and the flow of the rolling landscape.”
Louise describes herself as an innovative fine artist. She often works with photography and creates work inspired by landscape and cityscapes. She is currently an MA Fine Art student.
“Landscape is an open space but a safe space where I can always start from. I find my meaning in its elements whether it is coast, field, wood or hill. Since I have been studying for an MA in Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts, I have been drawn back from the cityscape into a landscape where I can re-discover my primordial instinct within my observations and actions.”
Working largely through self-exploration, Andy’s work is predominantly, although loosely, figurative. Not constrained by major commercial ambitions, his inspirations have led me to work in a range of styles but most commonly in ceramics, such as stoneware pieces suitable for garden settings.
Andy’s proposal was to create a piece “which reflects growth and variation in the surrounding plants and the wider pant kingdom. The work might be taken as a modernist view of flowers and stems. Comprising individually made and coloured or glazed ceramic pieces ‘threaded’ onto metal rod supports. The work would sit well in a garden where the many colours reflect the colour palette of the neighbouring planting and to remind the viewer of the infinite subtlety and variety in the surroundings.”
Jenny creates dyed and painted textiles, designing and making one-off scarves from silk, linen and velvet. She is increasingly engaged with, and influenced by, the Suffolk coastal landscape. In response, she explores the use of mineral and plant dyes and to reference the natural environment in her work, while always being conscious of the need to re-use and recycle.
Jenny’s textile work would connect with the landscape: “I am interested in how the elements – sun, rain, wind – will affect the work. This combination of natural plant dyes and eco-prints will reflect the colours of the surrounding landscape, water and sky. The use of natural dyes and reclaimed materials will convey a concern with environmental issues as well as celebrating the landscape, both wild and cultivated, and the elements.”
Jim initially studied bronze casting at the RCA in London on the foundry route under Richard Rome, he taught bronze as a visiting tutor at Cardiff school of art and demonstrated mould making at Wimbledon. For many years he tutored at the Hong Kong bronze studio and is now working at Butley Mills Studios, Suffolk.
“Bird Alphabet 3 is a mature realisation of the glyphic sculptures commenced in 2017. BA1 debuted at the Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail, since then, the invention of the Bird Alphabet has evolved into a body of work, both poetic and abstract, with many bronze maquettes and paintings. The work takes a bird’s perspective, lifting the eye and piercing the sky, totem pole-like, intriguing and exultant.”
Sara’s practice is defined as conceptual and research-based and consists of several strands.
She combines serious issues with humour and playfulness materials are transformed into simple, quirky, often multi-sensory sculptures and installations. Some works are used as site-specific interventions, ranging from subtle experiences to the more extreme intrusion of public spaces.
Sara’s idea: Coming Soon
“After 17 years they are arriving in Kentucky in May. Now they’re coming to Potton Hall in June to mate!“
Dide is an award-winning multi-disciplinary artist, writer and composer/musician/singer. She currently divides her time between her own creative projects and translating for a company.
Her proposed piece was a “series of micro scale bronze sculptures exploring the relationship between worth and preservation, particularly concerning our relationship with waste and recycling in our effort to counter climate change. Bronze is romantic medium that is meant to preserve in time and acquire value. I have cast items of rubbish in bronze, helping us question our approach to disposable items and engaging in a discussion around these themes.”
Suffolk-based artist Meryem is fascinated by movement and the more intangible aspects of being. Much of her early career was spent as a humanist activist and the freedom that sought informed her arts practice. Her work relates to life experiences, memories, and emotions, through the medium of natural textural substrates.
“Extreme patterns of weather, caused by rising global temperatures are destroying livelihoods and displacing communities from their homes around the world. Scientists clearly shows us we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making. We can see evidence these in our imminent landscape. The lost city of Dunwich is a reminder of the destruction climate change can wreak. The sculpture I am proposing will respond to this.”
Fern, also known as SilverLore, is a mosaic artist who creates bold and dynamic art for the home and garden.
“Whilst working with recycled glass and mirror, I will create a mosaic piece using reclaimed timbers and responsibly-sourced tree trunks. The viewer is encouraged to observe this different perspective of the sky and surroundings but also take time to reflect upon our own impact on deforestation and the loss of ancient woodlands. The piece will continue to evolve and change throughout its time on the trail due to the reflective properties of the materials used.”
Bee has a background in art therapy and creates environmental and site-specific artwork.
“I normally like to work from scratch on the site, using what is available which sings out to me such as twigs, grasses and structures. I envisage a large basket bowl which might embed or wind itself into the triple tree fork, surrounded by some of the grasses and plants. Working within birch – which is the old root word of ‘book’ and of the ancient wisdom of the word – appeals to me. I have three birches in my tiny garden at home, with a variety of peeling bark colours which I would include.”
Born in St Ives, Cornwall in 1940, shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Telfer was brought up within the wartime artistic community of St Ives. After moving to New York in 1962, his practice explored colour, surface, form and scale in painting. In the 1970s, Telfer moved further towards conceptual art in the medium of books. Eventually, the need to physically make work later manifested itself in the form of sculpture, and in particular welded steel.
“I make sculptural objects from metal that I collect from scrap yards. In normal circumstances in the workshop I make these to hang on the wall, so they could be called reliefs, but where the circumstances are different, I react to whatever environment & circumstance is presented to me. I am interested in formal aspects and working up some sort of intervention with bits of metal.”
Laura’s sculptural works take on both a light-hearted and metaphorical view of nature and culture. Beneath the veil of humour her work juxtaposes objects, situations, materials and ideas. Recent sculptures explore the physicality of time, gender roles, and the substance of items – altering their utility, challenging the viewer to consider and reassess the meaning and fabric of both the abstract, and the familiar.
In her proposal, she wanted to create a “woman’s arm- cast from life –into bronze. It will take the form of a sort of bicep curl, attached to the plinth at the elbow. A rugged, rusty anchor will sit at the foot of the plinth- with its chain trailing up the plinth and across the bend of the arm.”
Having spent lot of her time in the rural environment, observing domesticated and non-domesticated animals has informed Bobbie’s sculptural practice. Whilst she has no formal training, she has attended many ceramic courses and has sold and exhibited her work widely.
“Farming is very much part of the landscape as is the wildlife. Everyone loves the small furry animals, that inhabit our fields and woods, but not so many people are as keen on the rodents. They are, after all, part of our landscape and I would like to do a ceramic sculpture incorporating mice and rats, as well as a group of pigs interacting.”
Mary Anne Woolf
Suffolk-based artist Mary Ann has created work about landscape for many years, much of it photographic. She is interested in a critical exploration of landscape and how it is physically shaped by human activity and how our perception of it is shaped by cultural practice.
“I wanted to make something that reflected both the strength and the fragility of the landscape. I would like to make something that makes a minimal and gentle intervention but is still strong enough to engage attention in an outdoor space.”
Cindy Lee Wright
Cindy works with wood and, what she describes as “scary power tools”. Her subject matter is the natural world, in particular animals we are privileged the world share it with. Cindy hopes to bring the wild world closer, to celebrate astonishing beauty, abundance and biodiversity, and also to remind people of our responsibility for it.
“My initial response to this brief was the urge to create something to counteract the sense of despair that the climate emergency invokes in us. I want to talk about ‘abundance’. This isn’t being contradictory or complacent. If we rejoice what we have and cherish that then we are better equipped to deal with the necessary demands. The animals depicted in my proposed piece share ownership of the site with the inhabitants of Potton Hall and I want to express their beauty.”