Remembering the Sussex Prairie Residency year

February 7, 2018

This time last year I was preparing for the exhibition that marked the completion of a residency at Sussex Prairie Garden, Henfield. My frequent visits to the prairie over the previous 12 months took me very close to the garden and its gardener’s. This residency gave me an unique and vital opportunity to explore new ways of working and to engage in subject matter which became extremely important to me. I responded instinctively to the prairie surroundings. Collecting and preserving plant life was continuous and led to research into natural dye processes and the recording of textural and decorative surfaces on paper, cotton and silk fabrics. Outcomes in stitch, print based media and collage reflected a sustained interest in the changes that occur in a garden across a year. My aim was to capture the very essence of the plants, the impressions left through the changing seasons and the warmth and light of the summer sun in an attempt to re-create a sense of the Sussex Prairie Garden. What an amazing opportunity it was to work with colleague and friend Emma Taylor. Many years of working together at Steyning Grammar School forged an easy working relationship which remains full of fun and good humour. It was an absolute joy to be working with Emma again. My thanks go to Pauline and Paul for inviting me to be an artist in residence in their beautiful garden which has given me such a great sense of well-being. I also thank them for introducing me to their world including their fantastic group of staff and volunteers, for letting me roam and collect so freely, for such great friendship and lastly but importantly, for the regular supply of tea and cake!

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