The exhibition of my work from ob•serve, my residency on Skokholm Island, is now on show. I am grateful to Arts Council of Wales, The Wildlife Trust South and West Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Oriel y Parc, Dale Sailing Company and Richard and Giselle, Skokholm Island wardens, for their support of this project.
I am now half way through my month long residency at Oriel y Parc in St. Davids. It is wonderful to have such a beautiful big studio in which to begin to process the material from ob•serve, the project I have been researching over six months at Skokholm Island Bird Observatory. The work I am doing will develop over the winter and will be the basis of an exhibition in The Tower Gallery, St Davids, next summer.
I decided to focus particularly on my sketchbooks and the colour “transect” studies. I chose eight sights around the island which I visited every month from April to September and recorded the colours I could see, this now forms the basis of a series of canvases I am painting in oils.
The residency is teaching me some unexpected things: the benefits of having a studio away from home, of having people around and a context to work in which is less isolated (and has an excellent cafe!), the importance of having clear space and the value of having a routine of going out to work and stopping at 5pm. As a result I have resolved to have a clear-out of my studio and gallery and to reorganise my workspace at home, especially to make space for painting. This means that I will be having a massive sale of work this winter which will (hopefully!) free up space.
I will be giving a public talk about this work at Oriel y Parc on Friday 16th October at 6pm, and also welcome visitors to the studio 4-5pm on Thursdays and Fridays (other times by arrangement). On Saturday 21st November I will be running a one-day painting course focussing on colour at Oriel y Parc. To book phone Oriel y Parc on 01437 720392.
I am immensely grateful to The Arts Council of Wales for funding this project which is allowing me to take the risks necessary to develop my work, to The Wildlife Trust, South and West Wales and the Skokholm Island wardens for giving me the chance to work on the island, and to all the staff at Oriel y Parc and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park for making me so welcome in St. Davids.
As the swallows gather ready for their journey south, I am catching up with myself after a summer spent largely away from my home studio. I have spent five weeks on Skokholm Island gathering material and inspiration for my project, ob•serve.
I have been continuing my colour-collecting transects and have been getting involved in the scientific research that is taking place. This is all part of trying to understand different approaches to observation and to gathering material and inspiration to work with over the winter.
In addition I ran a week-long painting course in August to share my approach and techniques with artists who wished to broaden their experience.
The artists who came and had a thoroughly good time exploring the fantastic landscape and geology of the island and getting to know the place. The light house engine room was our superb studio base and I ran daily workshops in aspects of painting, which were punctuated by sketching trips and dolphin watching from the studio windows! Superb food was provided by Shirley Matthews, a regular islander and fantastic chef. Everyone left the island equipped with plenty of inspiration and ideas to take their work forward in their own studios. Thank you to all my students, everyone entered in to the exploratory nature of the work wholeheartedly.
I am delighted to say that two of my Cyanotypes have been preselected for the Society of Wildlife Artists( SWA) autumn show at Mall Galleries in London. It is part of a joint initiative between the SWA and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), and I have submitted two works which feature bird netting and ringing and aim to promote more understanding of the scientific value of the bird ringing scheme.
Meanwhile my piece, Bonne Maman, has been on show at London Glassblowing Gallery in Bermonsey as part of their Essence exhibition.
I continue to run community workshops, this one was a cyanotype workshop for young people at Narberth Museum, where participants worked with objects from the collection to make stunning cyanotype images.
I am proud to say that I have been selected by The Arts Council of Wales to be a Creative Agent in their Lead Creative Schools Scheme which is about to be rolled out across Wales. The scheme is a major investment by Arts Council and Welsh Government and is designed to support teachers and learners to develop new creative approaches to learning by collaborating with artists. After four days of intensive training in Cardiff I am hoping to be matched with a school soon.
This piece is part of a series of glass “postcards” that I am making as part of my residency at Skokholm Island Bird Observatory. This one depicts the skeleton of a Razorbill chick superimposed on Ronald Lockley’s map of the island, and will be exhibited as part of the Contemporary Glass Society postcard exhibition at the International Festival of Glass.
I have been busy since January preparing for my residency, ob•serve, at Skokholm Island Bird Observatory and on 10th April I went to Skokholm for the first week of this project. As part of the residency I will be spending one week a month on the island for six months through the breeding season. This project is sponsored by the Arts Council of Wales and is supported in-kind by The Wildlife Trust, South and West Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and Dale Sailing Company. I began by identifying locations where I will return each visit to record the changes in colour, weather and habitat.
I was out from dawn to dusk and beyond every day and gathered much inspiration. I borrowed some scientific methods for my colour capture exercises which was an interesting way to observe colour removed from the pull of figuration. I have now returned to my studio ready to begin processing my material and developing new work for this project.
Being on the island gave me the opportunity to be involved in monitoring birds and observe them in the hand.This piece is the first in a series of cast glass pieces I am developing in response to human interaction with birds that takes place during the scientific monitoring on the island.
I am working on some cast glass textures and details from the island. I am developing some jewellery as a collaboration with silversmith, Sara Lloyd Morris.
There are still a couple of places left on my week long painting course on Skokholm Island in August, it will be an amazing opportunity to work on the island and get to grips with some wild landscape, while enjoying fine food in an idyllic setting.
I continue to work with people in the community and recently ran a couple of workshops for Pembrokeshire Young Carers, where people aged 8 to 14 who care for a family member, came together to make glass jewellery and a communal glass quilt. One of these workshops was sponsored by Narberth Rotary Club.
I am excited to be running a mixed media painting course on Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire from August 3-10th this year.
The course is designed for a small group of students and is suitable for both beginners and more experienced artists. There will be a relaxed atmosphere and the aim of the course will be free your technique and explore landscape-based abstraction with mixed media, using things like wax, sand and plaster to get to grips with texture. You will have an immersive experience which will fill you with enthusiasm and skills to take back into your painting at home.
Our studio will be at the lighthouse and the course will involve a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities. Throughout the week on the island we will have workshops every morning from 9.30 to 1pm when you will have the opportunity to explore mixed media painting and develop some work from ideas and influences gathered from the island. Afternoons will be your own to work on your ideas from the morning workshops, relax or spend time exploring the island. There will be some evening presentations and the chance to join in with the nightly bird log.
Skokholm Island is a jewel of the Pembrokeshire Coastal landscape. Once the home of the naturalist, Ronald Lockley, the island is famed for its 90,000 Manx Shearwaters, Storm Petrels nesting in the walls around the buildings, Puffins, cliff nesting seabirds and as the site of Britain’s first Bird Observatory. Located 2.5 miles off shore, the whole island is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a rich visual, archaeological, biological and historical resource. Formed of a rich red sandstone the island has a rich history, its remoteness and the nature of the scientific research which has taken place there over an extended period of time makes it a very special place to stay.
The island was designated as Britain’s first Bird Observatory in 1934 and it has recently regained its certification. Scientific monitoring work has taken place for over 70 years. It involves monitoring habitat, flora and fauna and trapping and ringing birds as part of a long term study into bird migration and behaviour. The work that is undertaken there plays a vital role in providing data which feeds into studies of short and long term environmental trends. In addition to the biological monitoring, the island has a rich history. In early August you can expect to see seals, cetaceans and many birds, including puffins, ravens, peregrines storm petrels and Manx Shearwaters . The island has been inhabited since the Stone Age and is currently the subject of a LIDAR study by the Commission for Ancient Monuments in Wales.
Booking and more details at http://www.linda-norris.com/courses/
I have been pursuing some of the ideas I was developing in Caithness at North Lands Creative Glass in September concerning glass in the landscape, and have been using exploring photography as a medium for this work.
Alongside my studio work I continue to develop an exciting socially engaged practice and this autumn have begun a project in collaboration with Narberth Museum to create a Community Quilt in glass with citizens of Narberth. This project is called ‘Drawn Threads’ and was part of The Big Draw National Drawing Festival.
I have also been voluntarily organising events for an informal artists network based at Narberth Museum. Up-coming events include a Drawing with Wire workshop with Julia Griffiths Jones on February 7th and an iPhoneography Day with the amazing Nettie Edwards on March 14th. It has been lovely to meet some new artists working in the area who are making inspiring work and I look forward to taking part in the workshops.
On a festive note I have been working with 75 pupils of Puncheston School to make Matisse-cut-out-inspired tea light holders
My BIG NEWS for 2015 is that I have succeeded in getting Arts Council of Wales funding for my project, ‘observe’, which will see me spending much of 2015 focussing on developing a new body of work based on research undertaken at Skokholm Island Bird Observatory in Pembrokeshire during the summer season.
I will spend one week a month on the island between April and October undertaking artistic research alongside the biologists, bird ringers and other scientists who work at the observatory. In September/October 2015 I will be Artist in Residence at Oriel y Parc St Davids where I will use the studio facilities to draw together the threads of my research and undertake 3 days of public engagement workshops. I will go on to develop a new body of work which will be exhibited at The Tower Gallery, Oriel y Parc in St. Davids in July/August 2016. Work from this exhibition will tour to Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales headquarters at Parc Slip and Cilgerran later in 2016.
This is a great opportunity for me to undertake a major self-directed project which incorporates several themes which are central to my practice, namely landscape and research. I am interested in how observation is the basis for both scientific and artistic research and in examining the relationship between the two and looking at what each discipline may learn from the practice of the other.
I have spent an inordinate amount of time writing proposals and making funding applications this year to enable me to support myself while developing new work. It is always a dilemma whether to spend months out of the studio writing funding applications, but the process does force me to articulate what it is I want to do and to be clear about how I propose to do it. The application for this project was accepted on its second rewrite, and I am delighted that the Arts Council of Wales are going to support my initiative and am relieved that my persistence has paid off! Writing a proposal is a kind of gestation period, and, like pregnancy, it is just the beginning of the work…I am looking forward to the challenges ahead!
Thanks to the Arts Council of Wales, The Wildlife Trust South and West Wales, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire County Council and Dale Sailing for their support for this project.
In August 2015 I will be running a one week art course on the island, this is suitable for artists with all levels of experience and is intended to give participants the chance to immerse themselves intensively in the landscape, learn some new techniques and enjoy a relaxing time on one of the UK’s most spectacular islands which is home to Britain’s first Bird Observatory.
Meanwhile, my studio gallery is open daily until January 4th showing new work. Do call in for a glass of mulled wine!
I have been very busy making new work, hanging a summer exhibition and building a new website which will go live next week and have neglected my blog somewhat, so apologies for that.
My gallery in Pembrokeshire is open every day in August from 10am to 6pm.
I have also been working on a new series of work called ‘Hiraeth’, which is based on the stories of Welsh people who emigrated to The States in the 18th and 19th Centuries. This work has been researched in Pembrokeshire Archives and online, and five of the resulting pieces have been selected for an exhibition by Elysium Gallery, Swansea which will tour to Colorado in September this year.
In addition I have been working with Rachel Phillips on a commission for Bro Preseli, a sheltered housing scheme in Crymych. This commission is due to be installed later this week and consists of 8 double glazed panels which form an internal wall in the building.
There are still a few places left on my painting course from the 22nd to 29th September on the fabulous Skokholm Island, Pembrokeshire. This course is suitable for both beginners and experienced artists and is a unique opportunity to spend an intensive time working with me and exploring the colours and textures of the island. Skokholm is a wonderful place to stay and as the island is a Bird Observatory there will also be opportunities to study birds in the hand, see Manx Shearwaters close-up and have a night time visit to the Storm Petrel colony. For more information and to book please email me.
I am just back from the celebration of Skokholm Island’s reinstatement as a Bird Observatory. Skokholm was Britain’s first Bird Observatory, established by Ronald Lockley in 1933, and has just celebrated its reinstatement as an active bird ringing station. Rachel Phillips and I have made a window for the island toilet (the only place we could persuade the ornithologists that maybe privacy was more important than bird-watching!). The window is inspired by the history of the island from its days as a medieval rabbit warren through to the early naturalist years of Ronald Lockley to the present day, and celebrates the unique flora and fauna found there.
Time on the island researching the window last year has opened up many ideas in my work and has inspired me to compile a proposal for future work on the island. Once again, working with Rachel was a fabulous experience.
This video documents the making process. Thanks to Ceri Owen Jones for kind permission to use his music on the video.
Apologies for not posting since September, but I have been head down in the studio working on a new body of work courtesy of winning the Adrian Henri Poetry in Art Prize. Apart from being a huge boost to morale, the award has enabled me to buy a new kiln, sand blaster and grinder and has given me 5 months in my studio.
Apart from this I have been working on a window for Skokholm Island with Rachel Phillips. We will be installing the window at Easter in time for a grand opening of the Island Bird Observatory at the end of April. I would love to develop some of my Skokholm ideas more fully and am currently researching the feasibility of undertaking a more in-depth project on the island.
I continue to develop my work with children and recently worked with pupils of Ysgol y Frenni in Crymych. I am committed to the value of drawing as a learning tool. The importance of offering creative observational experiences was brought home to me recently when a primary school teacher told me how she has noticed in the last five years that increasing numbers of children are coming into school unable to actually look at anything that is not moving on a screen in front of them.
This year the gallery will be open by arrangement to enable me to devote more time to developing new work. If you would like to visit please email me or phone to make an appointment.
Her House is Air, cast, blown and engraved glass, peregrine falcon feather and pen nib.
Photo by Toril Brancher
I am delighted to announce that I have just won the inaugural £10,000 Adrian Henri Poetry in Art Prize at Much Wenlock Poetry Festival for my piece, Her House Is Air.
I will be spending my prize money buying a new kiln and other studio equipment and giving myself some time this autumn to develop new work in my studio.
I am just back from Skokholm Island off the Pembrokeshire Coast where I have spent a week developing ideas for new work. I went with Rachel Phillips, Rachel and I are designing a stained glass window for the island and spent the week sketching, absorbing the place and delving through old bird books and scientific data in the library, which the wardens kindly allowed us to use as our studio.
Skokholm is the neighbouring island to Skomer and is an island I have visited over the past 20 years, it has recently been purchased by the Wildlife Trust south and West Wales and will soon be re-established as a bird observatory for the monitoring and recording of bird life. It is exciting to see it with its newly restored accommodation (there is now electricity and even occassional wifi!), most of the considerable renovation work has been carried out on a shoestring with volunteer labour. The new wardens, Richard and Giselle, will soon be taking up residence in the lighthouse. If you are interested in birds, take a look at their blog.
The lighthouse on Skokholm.
There is so much that inspires me about the Pembrokeshire Islands, they have everything that grabs my imagination, including birds, research, archaeology, history, dramatic weather, isolation…I have come back to my mainland studio with masses of ideas and inspiration for new work.
I have been busy preparing for my trip to the US in May. I will be giving a paper about our Conwy Castle windows and running a glass workshop for the American Glass Guild Conference in Florida, then going to the National Glass Museum at Corning and on to New York.