In many a walk…..
The above quotation is a line from the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, and his words have provided a recurring theme in my own work. In many a walk was, in fact, 25 years ago, the title of my degree show and today I am surprised at how I am still inspired to create art in this way.
I am an artist and designer primarily inspired by nature. I grew up in rural Norfolk and now live in Carshalton Beeches, suburban South London. Being a country girl I don’t always find this easy, but am thankful to live in the greenest borough of London (Sutton) and to have some great parks and countryside on my doorstep. I love to go for a walk every day with my dog Tilly and ‘in many a walk’ I see scenes and natural forms that inspire me. I always take my camera and regularly take pictures and gather a natural form or two that has caught my eye and bring them home or to my studio in Oaks Park. I have always done this. As a child, I filled up my mum and dad’s garage with shells and leaves and seed-heads and am amazed that I am still doing it now.
I graduated with a degree in printed textile design in 1992. My degree show was formed of works that showed my favourite walk in Norfolk from my parents’ home through the countryside to my grandparent’s home in the neighbouring village. My research for my designs show paintings en route, and I also created nature collages. My screen-printed fabric lengths showed dogs and people walking ‘my walk’ and a design based on my grandparents’ house.
Many of my current paintings and botanical prints of local scenes are to be exhibited at Honeywood Museum in Carshalton in the Spring (currently postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic). It shows many of my paintings of favourite scenes that were inspired on my walks in the surrounding area where I live: Queen Mary’s Woods and park, Oaks Park, Nonsuch park and Beddington Park.
Just as I was for my degree show, I remain fascinated by the beauty of colours and shapes and patterns in nature, even the weeds. But instead of making collages, I have now embraced the digital era and create digitally manipulated images which I call my ‘modern botanical prints.’ I have recently transferred these to fabric and turned them into cushions and lampshades.
I am also a self-employed teacher and run Budding Artists, art classes for children and adults and Art in the Park, monthly workshops. I also run CATS Club, STEAM classes for primary school children.
Alongside the exhibition I am running workshops where I hope to inspire others to enjoy walks in the countryside, see the beauty on our doorstep and take up creative pursuits.
I really hope you pop into to see the free exhibition and it inspires you to take a walk and be creative. Both activities are really good for you.
For more info: www.jo-sharpe.co.uk