I’ve been hatching plans with my friend and fellow artist, Michelle Milburn. Now that I’m back in the studio finding my groove again, I’ve been keeping an open mind to potential direction in which to take the printmaking side of my work. Revisiting the landscape collagraphs I made in the past has been my starting point; making new plates based on some of the iconic landmarks that we have in abundance in Northumberland, the Land of Castles was my next step.
Looking for a project
I’ve been looking for a project, something I could really get my teeth into, but felt a little overwhelmed by the possibilities. Then, a few weeks back, a friend and fellow artist, Michelle Milburn, asked on Facebook if anyone knew how to contact the person who owns/looks after Herterton Gardens, one of the beautiful gardens here in Northumberland. It is my favourite garden and happens to be one of the places I’ve long been thinking about as a potential basis for some new work.
Long story short, Michelle and I had a ‘put off many times’ get together and found many common threads:
- We’ve both been out of the loop for a while looking for something to get us both going creatively
- We had very similar and complimentary ideas
- She is sitting on a gold mine of potential for us both.
Let me explain. When we got together our initial thoughts were to explore the possibility of making work based on some of the many historical gardens in Northumberland. As we talked, Michelle happened to mention what was virtually on her doorstep the wild flowers, the fungi, the bronze age burial chambers, the neolithic settlements, the Roman remains, the wild birds – the list goes on and on. Living as she does, right on the Whin Sill that forms the boundary on which Hadrian’s Wall was built, it is a no brainer that this is where we start.
Even then there is so much there we need to focus further. We got out the ordnance survey map to whittle down the area we are going to concentrate on and try to avoid a scatter gun approach. There will be plenty to explore within an 8 mile radius of Sweethope farm, concentrating on the North East corner which includes not only a variety of ancient settlements, the Whin Sill landscape and the flora and fauna within it of course, but also various historical gardens including Wallington Gardens, Capheaton Hall and Herterton House Gardens.
We meet again next week to make a start – weather permitting – snow being forecast in shedloads for next week. I’ll need a 4 x 4 if that happens.