I wake up every morning thinking about art. My earliest memories are of making, drawing and painting things using any materials I could get my hands on! My eclectic way of working was reinforced as a teacher of art and design for over 20 years where I regularly researched new ideas and techniques to support the work of my students, a process I loved.
Many things inspire my artwork; stories, textures, colours, places of significance, and as a result I work in a range of media and techniques. I love photography and the freedom allowed by digital technology. I can record anything and everything that catches my eye. I regularly return to the landscape as a main inspiration during my travels around Britain (but especially Leicestershire and the Lake District). My work looks at our connections to significant places – our environment, nature, people, stories, hidden histories; the interaction, evolution and resilience of these. Certain places have particular significance to me and I aim to explore not only their physical beauty but the energy, stories and human connection contained within them. I am drawn to the relationship we have to the earth and nature.
I am currently working predominately in print and photography, incorporating a range of media to create ‘layers’ within an image. My more recent digital work was sparked by visits to Swithland Woods and surrounding areas (my escape after work and everyday life). In addition to the ‘smorgasbord’ of visual imagery on show at any time of year I was fascinated by the history beneath the earth, about the area; the ‘layers’ beneath the surface.
The ‘energy’ of a site appeals to me; the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or forest bathing is said to physically reduce symptoms of stress in addition to improving overall feelings of wellbeing and I hope to capture a sense of power of nature, or ‘earth energy’ in this series, and the positive effect it has on my spirit.
I take hundreds of photos of an area throughout the year – a bit like a magpie my eye is easily caught! I combine these with drawings, rubbings and different ways of recording a place, layering all using Photoshop.
I love to be able to record many things about a place. One of my series of work is based on a visit to Haweswater, a reservoir in the Lake District, a visit to which was recommended during an impromptu visit to a hairdressers in whilst visiting family in Penrith. The hairdresser was suggesting places where I could take photos and told me about her grandfather who lived in the village that was flooded to create the reservoir to feed the cities of Liverpool and Manchester. Subsequent visits and research resulted in a body of work that explored the many layers and ripples linked to the site.
I have several projects ‘on the go’ ranging from illustrative designs linked to poetry, to textile pieces using print, applique and embroidery. I utilise whatever materials I feel will help me communicate my ideas. Having said that, my work never turns out as I first imagine or picture it. I used to think this was a problem but now I just embrace the fun of finding out what will emerge as I go along! It really is a joy, a meditation, a passion. I work full time as a teacher, therefore my house is my ‘studio’ and is overrun by art materials, materials and objects that inspire and make me happy. As I approach fifty I have given up the hope of ever living in a tidy space!
Contact me at https://www.facebook.com/SueCleggFlyingheartDesigns/