A bit about me
I was born in Kintore, a small village near Aberdeen, and in 1962 went to Grays
School of Art Aberdeen. My degree was in Textiles and Embroidery, and I then won
the at the end of the course I, and couple of hundred other art students, entered the
national Cinzano Award which allowed me, for 9 months, to work and study in
fashion houses in Milan, Florence and Paris. I had thought before this, I would be
either a freelance designer or work in a design house.
These 9 months showed me this wasn’t what I wanted to do and so I became a
teacher. After a year teaching in secondary and primary schools in Aberdeen I
applied for, and got, a post at Falmouth School of Art.
I then taught for 25 years in various art schools from Falmouth to Salford and
finished as Head of School of Art in Burnley.
Whilst at Shrewsbury School of Art, the technician, Cliff, found some old boxes of
chisels which he was going to throw out. I took one and, after it sat in my studio for
about 6 months, I decided I should try using them.
The first wood for my carvings was old shelves in my studio, as I wasn’t going to pay
out money for wood and discover I hated carving. The initial carvings were more
assemblages than anything else, but as I progressed, I started realising what you
could do in relief carving.
I have exhibited widely from the Saatchi Gallery, Centrespace Bristol, Fitzrovia
Gallery, London Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Brewhouse Art Centre,
Taunton Royal Cambrian Academy, Portico Gallery Manchester, 44AD Bath, Weston
Park Shropshire, Grain Gallery Sherbourne, Cartwright Gallery Bradford, Tricycle
Theatre, London, Salford Art Gallery, Castle Cary Art Gallery, Ikon Gallery amongst
many others. I was also recently awarded the John Doubleday Award at the Oxford
International Art Contest 20
A bit about my work
I have been producing art for over 60 years and the common thread to all my work is
that the pieces are stories around my life. The places I have lived – Kintore,
Aberdeenshire, (my home village), my time in Italy, my recent move to South West
England; memories of my childhood, looking out my bedroom window in a small
Scottish village hoping for a different life; being a student in the 60s in Aberdeen;
working in fashion houses in Italy. Also the people from my life, my parents, my
family, and artists who have influenced me. All these jumbled thoughts become a
slightly surreal narrative.
Ideas for my work come from exploring a journey which moves through past and
present, with recurring themes such as the window as a frame for memories (but
also an escape/route to another life); objects from my life are often presented on the
black and white checkerboard marble floor of Aberdeen Art Gallery – now my own
When I moved to the South West I was taken with the standing stones and the chalk
figures on hillsides which made me go back to North East Scotland, particularly the
region from Aberdeenshire down to Perthshire to look at the Pictish decorated
standing stones which are peculiar to that region. I actually, as a child, lived about 20
yards from a Pictish stone in the village graveyard, but at the time it meant very little
to me. These Pictish stones have influenced a lot of my recent carvings.
My work owes a great debt to early Renaissance painters who often used different
rooms / areas / views through windows in the same picture to tell different aspects of
their story; also, to the Surrealist artists who have allowed my imagination to roam
freely through my life, from my childhood in North East Scotland to now living in
South West England. The images are easily recognised, but what is the story they
are telling? What is the relationship between these various images from different
places, different times?