Devon Open Studios

LoveLetters02smallI’m exhibiting during Devon Open Studios on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September at Cockwood Village Hall (near Starcross and Dawlish), Devon. Cockwood is a scenic village on the Exe Estuary and there are two pubs where you can get a nice lunch or afternoon drink. I’m showing my work with watercolorist Tony Bird who paints local scenes as well as Norfolk, Italy and France.

We’ll be serving Fairtrade tea, coffee and homemade cakes, and on Sunday 15th, the Serenoa String Quartet will be playing at 2.00.

coloured small

If you’d like to see our work, do come along and have a chat to find out more about what we do.

Directions to Cockwood Village Hall EX6 8NU: From the A379, turn onto the bridge at Cockwood Harbour, near Starcross. Take the first right before the Anchor Inn. The Village Hall is on the left before the Ship Inn. There is on street parking, and Cockwood is on the No 2 bus route.

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The Art and Soul of Paper

Japanese Anemones paper art

Some of my Japanese Anemones will be shown as part of The Art and Soul of Paper, an exhibition of 21st century paper artworks to embody the essence of the Japanese papermaking heritage.

The event takes place in Norwich from 11 March to 20 April and includes three paper exhibitions, two artist talks and a workshop in Papermaking from Plants.

It is organised by The International Association of Hand Papermakers and Paper Artists to coincide with Washi: the Art of Japanese Papermaking, a symposium hosted by Norwich University College of the Arts.

My work will be exhibited at Mandells Gallery, Elm Hill, Norwich from 11 March to 6 April.

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Japanese Anemones


anemone plus desk

Some time ago, a friend gave me an old Japanese book which had been damaged by insects. She thought it would be something I could use in my work. I kept the book for over a year before I eventually decided what to make with it first. I love the way that Japanese anemones move in the wind and I decided to make something inspired by them, and it suddenly struck me that this old book was the perfect thing to use.

I used one of the flowers  and pulled it apart to see how the petals are formed. Then I made a number of templates so that all the paper flowers would be slightly different. The petals are hand cut and the stamens are laser cut from a hand drawn template.

anemones plus petals

The stamens here are made from gold paper and I’ve also been experimenting with some silver ones.

The final pieces will be framed with polished black frames, hinting at the Japanese style.

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Poppies installation

poppies installationThis installation at the Exeter Northcott is made up of a thousand poppies created from copies of love letters written during World War II.

Some of the letters were written by an aircraft engineer in Southampton to his girlfriend, who later became his wife. He wrote to her two or three times a week for over five years.

Another set of letters was written by an American GI to a WREN but their story didn’t have such a happy ending – a telegram from her father suggests his disapproval of the relationship.

Other letters were kindly loaned by local people in response to a request through the local media. During my Devon Open Studios weekend in September, people brought family letters which helped to create the final installation.

I’ve been creating the work in my head for a long time. It’s made in response to the space at the Northcott specially for the month of November, and inspired by these letters which were written at a time of great uncertainty and heightened emotions.

Putting together the piece was a complicated process. Because it’s so tall (2.7 metres), I had to make it horizontally, and because of the shape of the niche where it’s hanging, the only practical way to construct it was upside down. I’d worked out the curve of the spiral in advance and created a plan for each layer, but my ideas remained fluid and I was constantly tweaking and recalculating as the shape developed.

Rosy Seal was artist’s assistant for this project and assembled lots of the poppies. Several people helped with hanging the work, including the tech crew at the Northcott to whom I’m very grateful.

You can see the installation in the foyer at Exeter Northcott Theatre until the end of November 2012.

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Devon Open Studios

map envelopesI’m taking part in Devon Open Studios on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September. Our exhibition is at Cockwood Village Hall EX6 8NU between 11am and 6pm each day. Also taking part in the exhibition are watercolourist Tony Bird and photographer Jane Hirst. We’ll be serving fairtrade tea & coffee and delicious homemade cakes.

On the Sunday, the Serenoa String Quartet will be playing at 2pm, so do come along to see some art, hear some music and eat some cake.

I’m also inviting people to bring their old love letters! I’d like people who have love letters written when the couple was separated by war or conflict to bring them along as part of a new piece of art I’m making. You can read more here.

Directions: From the A397, turn onto the bridge at Cockwood harbour, near Starcross. Take the first right before the Anchor Inn. The Village Hall is on the left, before the Ship Inn. There is on street parking, and the venue is on the number 2 bus route.

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Seeking love letters

Love lettersWould you be willing to lend me your love letters for a new piece of art?

Much of my work has been inspired by communication. In particular, I’ve been working with two sets of love letters written during World War II – one written by an English aircraft engineer, and the other by an American GI. These beautifully crafted letters written by two ordinary men have inspired me to create several collections of work over the last few years.

Now, I’m looking for love letters written by other people, during times of separation due to war and conflict. I’m planning to use them to create a new piece of work which will be exhibited at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter in the autumn.

Unlike most of my work, I’ll be using copies of the letters, so I don’t need your originals. The letters won’t appear in their entirety, and only snippets of text will be seen.

Letters must be written during times of war or conflict, and I’d like to know something about when the letters were written.

You can send scans of your letters to me at butterflyenvelopes-loveletters(at)

Alternatively, you can bring them along to the exhibition I’m taking part in during Devon Open Studios on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September.

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Theatre programmes

I was commissioned to make a collection of envelopes using these wonderful old theatre programmes. It was an enjoyable challenge selecting the most significant pieces of text from the programmes and then making sure that they were still visible when the envelopes were put together. It takes a surprising amount of paper to make one small envelope.

There were some wonderful details on the programmes, including the lovely corner decorations and illustrations.

I worked closely with the framer to select the mount board which reflects the colour and feel of traditional theatre decor.

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