Working with colour from the coal mines

Mixing watercolour paint from Six Bells Burnt Ochre

I have been lucky enough to have a lovely little commission during lockdown, engaging with a fascinating project ‘Colour from the Coal Mines’, exploring the ochre pigment developed by Onya McCausland; turning the sludge from mine water treatment sites into stunning pigments. Four pigments, Bideford Black and Ochre from two of the South Wales mine water treatment sites have been made into watercolour paints for the community around the Six Bells site in Abertillery to use and explore over the coming months via an online tutorial and set of guidelines. 
This project is supported by Slade School of fine art @ucl, The Coal Authority and The Leverhulme Trust.
More info at: https://turninglandscapeintocolour
#coalmines #industrialwaste #regeneration #earthpigments #artresearch #process #studiotime #communityengagement #remotelearning

Six Bells Burnt Ochre

A reflective diary on setting up an art collective

I was hoping to keep this blog private but after experimenting with tumblr for a long time I have concluded the format simply does not work with the privacy settings on. So here it is, made public, a reflective diary style blog about setting up the SHEBANG collective. There is a lot of waffle and it is rather inward looking, I could have not told anyone it was out there, but as I am a fan of processes and transparency I have figured it may be of interest to someone.

Recent work from A MAkers Dozen exhibition

Work exhibited as part of my masters research in art, health & wellbeing. Drawings made from hand gathered ochre’s from the Forest of Dean and charcoal made in the Fire, Earth, Art workshops.

The exhibition showcased work from 12 women artists all studying on the masters degree, exhibited at West Wharf gallery in Cardiff.



Twt Beech wood craft fair

A fun time was spent wood block printing and stamping at the Twt Beech wood craft fair. A lovely project to be involved with celebrating the life of a 240 year old Beech tree, much loved by the community in Cowbridge, South Wales. The tree needed to be taken down from Twt Park due to disease and so a community project has been born to follow what happens to the 20 tonnes of Beech wood.

The wood craft fair involved spoon carving, puppet making, pole lathe, pencil making, and I was wood block printing and stamping on wooden discs, all on Twt Beech wood.

The project will continue as the wood seasons and more can be made with the wood, culminating in an exhibition in a year or so.

Follow the Twt Beech project:
Facebook- The Twt Beech project



Ochre hunting in the Forest

It has been very exciting to discover I can dig up natural earth pigments in my local landscape and turn them into useful paints and printing inks. This is something I have thought about for years, the idea of embedding place into prints and making work that is made directly from the land, transformed through processes but still retaining that sense of place and connection.

The raw natural state of ochre pigments is very beautiful, I think it has something to do with refracting light, there is a deep rich feel to ochre that resonates with print techniques like etching and lithography that give a rich feel to the ink.

This research has led me to hearing stories about Clearwell Caves and the underground world of the Forest, taken me on missions of discovery and tuned my eye to the subtleties of noticing ochre pigment seams in a rock face.