FEATURED November 2010
I am an illustrator, a clockmaker and a taleteller living and working in a small village on the edge of Dartmoor. My paintings (which sometimes tell the time too) are made with oil paints on found slices of wood and with watercolour on paper… I love best of all to knot words up with my images, and I think my painted world is located on the edge of an old folktale, somewhere where Scandinavia ends and Russia begins. It’s the place just beyond what you see from the corner of the eye, a fond memory forgotten and then remembered. Sometimes I make stop motion animations, and write stories. I graduated in 2003 with a degree in Book Arts & Crafts from the London College of Printing, and since then have lived and travelled, for a time in a hand built wooden house on wheels which brought me here to the wonderful wilds of Dartmoor. One of these days I will make beautiful books to keep all the tales in.
Sunday Brunch is a long morning, unrushed, full to the brim with good breakfast: homemade toast, honey and boiled eggs and steam from the coffee jug, loved ones, sunlight through the kitchen window, washing hung out and the day’s plans percolated.
I’m very much a one for avoiding fashion I must say, though I love beautiful clothes, and rummaging around in second hand shops for unusual and affordable rags! But, that said, I enjoy immensely browsing the Gudrun Sjödén catalogue when it arrives in the post, for its beautiful photography, landscapes and design as well as the delightful folky clothes.
I love to wear things in peasanty layers of muted earth colours, ox blood reds, heavy boots and headscarves. My favourite dress I think is an old Indian smock type thing, found in a market long ago, dark red with tiny printed folky fleur-de-lys motifs and an embroidered neckline.. the hem has been torn and restitched over the years of my wearing it, it is soot-stained and threadbare, but it has somehow become me, and I wear it over and under things often.
I am inspired by stories and by people, especially those on the periphery: the outcasts and the oddities. I surround myself with rich imagery to feed my work, and find word-weaving a great delight. Music inspires me unendingly, both hearing it and playing it… especially when accordions and clarinets and melancholic minor keys are involved. And nature: I could not survive without the trees and the sounds and smells and quiets of the wilderness around me.
You can follow my story further at intothehermitage.blogspot.com, see (and hear) my handmade clocks at onceuponoclock.com and buy prints of my work at thehermitage.etsy.com and if you are not worn out by then, I also have a website: the-hermitage.org.uk