​Artist Interviews: Winners of The Cambridge Invitational 2022

​Artist Interviews: Winners of The Cambridge Invitational 2022

23rd Dec 2022

Galeria Moderna are the online gallery and organisers of an exciting brand of city-based art contests.

Twelve winning artists are selected by a panel of esteemed judges, each judge a gallery owner/manager from the host city. The selected works from the winning artists will form the 'Invitational Art Exhibition'. Working in association with Castle Fine Art the UK’s leading Commercial art retailer and Cass Art the UK’s leading art supplies retailer, Galeria Moderna endeavour to provide their winning artists the best possible exposure, with a combination of both physical and online exhibitions, including prizes from patrons of the arts.

Below we catch up with the twelve award-winning artists of The Cambridge Invitational 2022

Dave Pinsker – Cass Art Award Winner

Firstly, Dave congratulations on winning the Cass Art award! Can you tell us how your journey into the use of charcoal and Realism started?

Thank you so much! It was actually during the worldwide pandemic in 2020 that I began to draw and paint again after a long hiatus from art. My journey into charcoal began after finding a box of charcoal sticks and pencils I hadn’t touched for 10 years and needed something to focus on during those long days. Around a year later in ‘21 I became inspired to try portraiture again and haven’t looked back since. One thing I really like about the medium is that it’s accessible for everyone.

Can you tell us more about your winning artworks for the Cambridge Invitational?

My artworks submitted for the Cambridge invitational are inspired by those moments where at times we wish we could be elsewhere. These pieces are made in monochrome as I am partially colourblind. Creating this on a large format was something I really enjoyed making and I absolutely love to work on a bigger scale as it allows me to create more depth and realism in my work.

What can we expect to see from you in the future and are there any new concepts you are working on?

Currently, I have been exploring using new mediums, as I feel personally it’s important for me to not limit myself to one way of working and have variety in my work. After coming across work from Chuck Close and Audrey Flack I was inspired to find out more about how to use the airbrush. Oil is something I would like to revisit again too, art has so many approaches that there is always something new to learn.

Can you tell us what products would we find in your studio?

In my studio there is always smooth Hot Press Watercolour paper. For my charcoal work and realistic drawings, I use Cretacolor compressed charcoal and Faber-Castell charcoal pencils. I almost paint with charcoal using firm and soft brushes after grinding it to a powder, which creates a smooth gradient. Staedtler Black pencils are another favourite of mine. I am always trying new materials and mediums to find the effect I am trying to achieve. Cass Art has a great selection where I can always find what I need.

Dario Cavicchioni

Congratulations Dario! We can see from your winning pieces that you use oils on canvas. Can you tell us about your two pieces and when did you first start to enjoy the medium?

My two pieces were swans and a still life of gerberas. My goal was capturing the movement of the swans and their reflection on the water. The feeling, looking at them, is of commitment and loyalty. That’s what I wanted to portray. The sill life was inspired by the colours and form of the flower. Also showing the different configuration of each of them. Also showing the contrast of colours. I started using oil painting when I was 12 years old. But I have worked in a number of different media, like pastel and acrylic, before committing myself to oil painting. My major interests are still lifes and portraits, although I enjoy working across a broad range of artistic disciplines and subject matters.

My paintings have evolved spontaneously thanks to the process of daily work at my studio. I combine layers of transparent colours that create a rich and vibrant result. I understand more about the process of start new painting, the value of colours and composition. I was taught all these tools by the different art teachers I had in the past.

What inspires you?

My inspiration is nature in general. I like painting birds. I felt fascinated just looking at them ever since I was a child. I also enjoy painting portraits and nudes. I am not the kind of artist to stick only with one specific subject matter. I am always learning and experimenting new things. It all depends on what inspires me the most. Sometimes it takes days or weeks deciding what to do next. I enjoy botanical art a lot. Over the last 10 years I have focussed on large and medium-scale oil paintings, highlighting the beauty and intricacy of nature. I have painted many subjects but often find myself drawn by the configurations of the flowers. I find their energy, softness, intensity of colour and ability to hold the observer in the present moment fascinating.

What can we expect to see from you in the future and have you any exciting new work in progress?

You can expect more paintings about birds, landscape and still lifes for sure. At the moment I am working on a piece about the Orinoco river in Venezuela.

Finally, are there any particular brands that you use and would like to recommend?

I normally use oil paint, especially Winsor & Newton and Michael Harding. They are the best for me. They are rich in pigments I get the results I am looking for with them.

Galina Holley

Congratulations Galina! Can you tell us a little about your beginnings in the art world?

I am a self-taught artist who has studied in private art lessons and fine art courses like How to Draw, led by David Brody, Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Washington in Seattle, NY School Portrait course and Theory of Art at Bazanova school. I've always loved to paint. I loved to draw portraits in my teenage years, then I enjoyed 15 years of watercolour art in an art studio and restarted but with oils during the first lockdown in 2020. Lockdown time gave me the opportunity to develop my art skills. I painted every day and after displaying one painting in the lounge of Moorhouse Lodge, where we live, I decided to display one new painting every Monday just to fill these difficult lockdown days with joyful emotions. I've been showing 1 new painting every Monday for 2 years!

Your award-winning work uses oils on canvas with palette knife, what attracts you to that particular medium?

Definitely, my greatest love is oils! I adore painting with a palette knife in oils on canvas, because I am fascinated by the play of colours and the texture of strokes as it makes paintings bright, dynamic and filled with emotions. And the result is always unpredictable! For me, this is real creativity! I think that BRIGHTEN UP YOUR LIFE - this is the main idea of my artworks. I adore bright colours and bright emotions, that is why I love to use oils on canvas with palette knife. My aim is creating artworks which could touch and remind people about pleasant things.

We can see that you love to capture images when on your travels, what location can we expect to see more of your work emerge from?

Nature is one of my favourite subjects. I love walking in the Riverside Park, the paths there are landscaped, but around this - untouched nature! Seeing nature gives me a glorious sense of joy, impending change, a ravishing mood. Day by day, you can see the beauty of nature, amazing trees, first fields of daffodils and tulips, rose gardens in the morning or early evening, when the scent lingers on the walkways... Also, visiting Kew Gardens in London and Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge always inspires me. At the same time beautiful water lilies in Dorset are in my plans as a subject for new artworks. Another amazing place to visit is Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland and I'd like to create paintings of beautiful landscapes there.

Is there a certain brand or product that you use to ensure you achieve the effect you create?

Usually I use Winsor & Newton products and always happy with the result. Winsor & Newton oils are very good for palette knife painting, because of their texture and extraordinary purity of colours. Also I really like to experiment and try something new.

Irina Hoble

Congratulations Irina on winning the inaugural Gonville Hotel Award! Your award-winning work uses acrylics as well as charcoal to create your desired effect. What attracts you to that particular medium and can you tell us about your winning pieces.

‘Slow Growth’ is an acrylic piece with lots of depth achieved by multiple layers, which I can easily resolve as the paint dries so quickly! The depth and the complex textures were what I was aiming to achieve, although it went through many stages before I finally stopped! ‘Here I Am’ was made in the winter months – contrast, colour and organic shapes, using a warm palette. The thin charcoal intervention on this piece allowed me to soften the rather abrupt contrast of colour, shape and intensity that happens on the other side of the piece. I like to explore various art materials, colours and shapes to express my feelings and I find that the combination of acrylics and charcoal/pastel in particular gives me speed when I need it (acrylics) and soft transitional fields between colours which I also need to balance some of the sharper edges of the palette knife.

Are there any new exciting projects you are currently working on that you can share with us?

I have recently become part of an artists’ run gallery in Lewes, which is very exciting news as it allows me to continue on my art journey by having a new audience, whilst also ensuring I continue to do what I like most as we have a new hang every few weeks, which is great!

I had a very busy year 2022, as it was the first time I started exhibiting my artwork. I am working on improving my website (which has been somehow neglected) and generally I am looking for various other opportunities. At school I was known for being very good at free-hand drawings, so I am going to try and amalgamate more lines into my art (I know, it’s going to bring me closer and closer to what I do for living, as an Architect), which will be challenging!

You mentioned that forest walks in lockdown inspired one of your pieces, what usually inspires you?

The walks during lockdown have a very special place in my heart, somehow it made me realise how connected I am to nature. So I am continuously being inspired by nature, be it that very often I like to deliberately distort it so that I can filter it the way I wish whilst gently moving away from representational art. Dreams are the other source of inspiration. I very often close my eyes and I see paintings that I have never seen before, my ‘dream-paintings’ that I aim to achieve, in a similar way that an Architect would dream for a ‘dream-house’. And the last but not least source of inspiration is my inner self, my emotions, my state of mind, coupled with a visit (or two) to an art gallery. Fred Cuming RA is one of my all-time favourite artists (after Turner)…

Finally, is there a certain brand or product that you use to ensure you achieve the effect you create?

I don’t have a particular brand I use, and I certainly know there are art materials on the market with better results than the ones I currently use; however, as I am still at the beginning of my artistic journey, I am trying to keep my expenses low. I like to paint on wood in particular, because it has a natural grain which I sometimes leave on show with a very thin paint layer to create the desired effect of depth and natural environment. I also like to visit building construction stores such as Wickes or B&Q as they have excellent mark making tools such as trowels, filler knives etc.

Jenny Ebdy

Congratulations Jenny! Can you tell us about your award-winning pieces submitted for the contest?

These pieces were part of a collection of work exploring how surface decoration and subtle colour changes can alter the character of a simple shape and how it can affect people’s response to the work.

Both your submissions utilise everyday objects, namely disposable plastic dishes. What was it that inspired you in this direction?

I used these dishes because they are everyday, commonplace and recognisable. These single-use plastic shapes, used all the time as packing for food, are so much part of our shopping experience we don’t think about them. This anonymity is the ideal basis for work which concentrates on surface rather than form.

Are there any new exciting projects you are currently working on that you can share with us?

I have applied for funding to create a new body of work, inspired by this collection. This work is intended to initiate productive conversations around wasteful packaging through the medium of clay.

Finally Jenny, do you have any advice for emerging artists?

It is hard work being an artist, usually underfunded and underappreciated. But if you believe in your work, have a passion to create, keep going because it is worth it!

Lisa Zaman

Congratulations Lisa! Can you tell us how and when you became interested in the medium of charcoal portrait art?

I’ve been drawing since I was small. My scribbles always seemed to focus on family and people, so gravitating towards portraits was a natural transition in my formative years. I’ve been working with Charcoal predominantly since 2020. I made the switch when I realised that graphite wasn’t giving me the dark and matte finish I wanted from my portraits. I find they give me the depth I need. I’ve tried digital art, but I find I cannot connect mentally and physically to the work without feeling a pencil in my hand.

Can you tell us about your award-winning pieces and the thought process when creating these?

Essentially I was horrendous at drawing hands, so the pieces from my first collection, 2 of which are award-winning were part of 14 portraits that were originally practice. I still wanted to incorporate the faces and this was a perfect combination. Just as the face comes in all shapes, sizes, and hues, as do hands. The hands supported, masked, and complimented the faces. Without context, the mood, the moment captured is open to the audience’s interpretation. Each portrait having a different meaning to the viewer.

Are there any projects you are currently working on that you can share with us, like your exhibition in New York?

As soon as I had completed the 2nd part of my hand collection, which was created for Agora Gallery in New York, I knew there would be a third and final set. So work has begun on that. I’m also focusing on extreme emotions for another collection, and a third that is more mixed media. As much as I love working on popular culture, which suits social media well, I realised that it’s hard to keep up with the influx of faces “on trend”. New York was something of a dream that I had been working on since the end of 2021, and it was my tenacity and positivity that achieved the goal of exhibiting internationally

Are there any particular products you use to help you achieve the effect you create?

Charcoal pencils are my absolute number one, they give me the control and the fine detail that I achieve. However, since mid 2022, I’ve been working with Pan Pastels combined with my pencils and it gives a perfect layer to my portraits I think. Make up brushes were a great alternative for fingers when it comes to blending! I’m not one for gadgets when it comes to my work. I like to have a variety of tools, and as I progress as an artist, I make mistakes and I learn what to use for what area, but a decent sharpener and a clean eraser can take you far!

Martin Southwood

Congratulations on winning the Lawrence Coulson Art Award Martin! Can you tell us about your two winning artworks for the Cambridge Invitational?

Peak’s Pond lies in the shadow of Guildford Castle, and the month is November. The water lilies have grown so vigorously that their leaves have been forced upwards, like tectonic plates. At the edges of the clump, the leaves have almost entirely deliquesced, while at the centre there are still flowers and buds. The focus of the painting is the three fish, that have surfaced to gulp air. It is a painting about the life, death, and the struggle in between. The Bather is about what is now called ‘wild swimming’. The model is tentative: is she concerned about her footing, or concerned about pollution? In the eroticism of the subject, and the hesitancy of her movement, there is a conscious reference to Rembrandt’s ‘A Woman bathing in a Stream’. The conifers on the hill are a commentary on monoculture. The hill itself resembles a titan awaking from slumber.

How and when did you start painting and what was your inspiration?

My father was a talented painter and sculptor, but he did his best to put me off any of the careers I considered, including becoming an artist. I got accepted to art school, but I couldn’t get a grant - and that was almost that. I didn’t pick up a paintbrush again for well over thirty years and it really took a lot of grief and pain for my creative side to come out of hiding. Even now, I’m not sure if I belong to the ‘art world’, or even what that is. I bounce between the opposites of not thinking that I’m good enough and wanting to be seen. My inspiration is the natural world, but I’m attracted to the curious and macabre – I just haven’t found a place for it yet!

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future and do you have any advice for emerging artists?

I’m trying to find ways of developing my practice. In respect of painting, I would like to eventually produce a book about ‘weeds’ and other plants that are reviled. I’m also considering what I might do with clay, and three-dimensional forms. I think a lot about how I might make art that is more directly subversive. To anyone just starting out, I would say this: listen to your heart. Make or paint or draw what you have feeling for, and it will resonate with someone else. The other day I had a bruising encounter with someone who told me that I wasn’t an artist. To him, and to anyone else who feels competent to pass judgment, I would argue that everyone is born an artist. School and work push out creativity and it can be a struggle to access it. Any person who works creatively with care and love is an artist.

We are aware of your interests in writing and automaton can you tell us a bit about these interests?

I haven’t been writing much lately. I have an essay brewing about the mass psychosis of cars, and the inklings of a screenplay. I’m much consumed by the thought that a good piece of fiction (or art) only needs one idea, and that idea has already been had – so all anyone needs to do is find a new spin. I sometimes think that automata may be the finest expression of art. Paul Spooner (perhaps the greatest living exponent of automata) produces work that I admire enormously: such simplicity, whimsy, and wit. Like Alexander Calder, Spooner understands that the delight one discovers in discovering the action of a piece by turning a handle is transformative.

Peter Partner

Congratulations on winning the Scudomore’s Art Award! Can you tell us how your journey into art started?

As far back as I can remember I always had a pencil in my hand. From a very young age I would sit in the back of my parents’ shop drawing away until it was time for the drive to our home. At that time the drawings came from my imagination based around things seen on TV, movies etc., usually adventure and figurative based, inventing my own scenarios that I would lose myself in. A friend of the family sometimes gave me art books for Christmas which made me aware of the artistic greats from Durer to Monet to Rothko. Confusing, but I could take something from all of them. Later at secondary school my art teacher (Frank Cross) suggested I go to life drawing classes run by a tutor from Colchester Art School (Philip Ardizzoni), a shock at 15 but invaluable artistically. I owe a lot to those who have guided and encouraged me over the years.

We can see you used your time well in lockdown with some inspired art produced. Where do you normally get your inspiration from?

I live close to the Essex coast with Dedham and Suffolk not far away, and am inspired by the rivers, beaches, creeks and saltmarshes found there. The Galeria Moderna works and other recent pieces were completed from easy trips from my home to the River Colne, Mersea Island and Southwold as Covid restrictions allowed. Most landscape can inspire me, it could be a tree or coastline or the urban environment. I have to walk in the environment rather than being stationary so tend to take a series of photographs to record the changing scene, hopefully from an interesting angle or viewpoint. I would then work on drawings in my workshop based on these images and hopefully get a painting out at the end. It’s the strangeness and beauty in the ordinary I’m interested in.

What can we expect to see from you in the future Peter?

Currently I am finishing a harbour scene with some very interesting reflections in the water that morph into slightly unnatural surface colour. A trip to Yorkshire last year has led to some more dramatic and slightly abstract landscape ideas that could come to fruition soon. Over time I have been working on some colour sketches for some urban landscapes including a couple of night scenes with street lighting that changes the shapes and forms giving a stagey, spooky look. Not sure on the handling of these as yet but we’ll see. I am always looking to develop what I’m doing and sometimes I can be dissatisfied with a finished piece, usually feeling it could have been more loosely painted or less detailed. With that in mind, assuming my core interests stay the same, maybe a simpler approach to composition and increase the use of texture and movement?

Finally, are there any specific products you use to enable you to create such vibrant work?

I do like to use a good quality prepared canvas, something like the Cass Art Artists cotton used for the Cambridge invitational works or Winsor & Newton. My medium of choice is oil usually and have been using Winsor & Newton for years but often use acrylics for roughing out and underpainting as they dry quickly and the colours can be very zingy.

Radek Walachnia

Congratulations on winning the Oak Bistro Award! When did your journey into art begin, and when did you start off using watercolours?

I started my art journey when I was a little boy and progressed very slowly from that point. And I must admit that I’m still learning a lot, every time I draw or paint! Watercolours are quite a recent discovery for me. For the last two years I was experimenting again with traditional mediums (after years and years of creating digital illustrations for video games) I tried most modern painting mediums and painting surfaces and I’ve decided on watercolours for ‘Cambridge Fantastic’ as the best match. Since then I have experimented even more this time within the watercolour realm - trying on various paper types, brushes, paints, inks, pens, pencils, masking fluids. I could talk for hours about my discoveries there.
Of course on top of that I also had to decide on the art style, time period, colour palette, etc. There were so many decisions to be made.

Your winning pieces are of Cambridge yet have a surreal edge to them. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration comes in different forms and shapes. For example I’m a big fan of science fiction books and European comic books, and I’m sure those had a massive influence on my art in general. ‘Cambridge Fantastic’ itself was also inspired by various artists painting fantastical and traditional architecture. Because of limited storage in our house and the fact we’re trying to be more frugal, I’m not a big book collector. Saying that, I’m trying to hold on to some illustration books. What I’m after is a particular style or a technique I want to master, if I find it in a book - no matter what - it stays with me. Speaking of inspiration and being creative I also work as a concept artist in a video game company in Cambridge and that requires quite a good imagination to create fantastical worlds and characters every day.

What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future and do you have any advice for emerging artists?

I’ll continue expanding the ‘Cambridge Fantastic’ collection. I’ve got many new ideas for paintings, the problem is finding enough time to bring them out of my head into the ‘paper reality’. I’m planning to create many sub-series portraying Cambridge’s beautiful colleges, churches and parks. There’s River Cam that I need to incorporate into some of my artwork. Lastly I was thinking about expanding further out of Cambridge and illustrating local picturesque towns and villages (Ely, St.Ives, Hemmingford, etc). Advice for beginners is quite straightforward. Practise a lot, experiment and have fun with art. Nowadays you can learn a lot, many times for free, from the internet. Recently I studied by watching other artists on Youtube, doing online courses, finding reference pictures and inspiration using online search engines. I reckon modern technology could be a friend of traditional artists after all.

Are there any specific brands that you could recommend for artists using your medium?

I’d say to try them all and see what works for your technique. Saying that, I’d recommend high quality materials. In my opinion it’s better to buy three primary colours from a respected producer (and professional quality) than a cheap 36 colour set. The same goes with paper and brushes. Less is, in that instance, more. Personally, for bigger watercolours (A3+) where I need to cover larger areas and not worry about paper ‘fighting’ against me, I’d highly recommend the ‘Arches’ brand. Cold press, hot press - that depends on the amount of details I need to paint - the smoother the surface - the finer the details. As for the paints - I’m using ‘Schminke’ and ‘Winsor & Newton’ brands from a professional line-up.

Rikki Morgan-Tamosunas

Congratulations Rikki! We can see from your winning artworks, that you love to capture images when on your travels. Can you tell us a bit about your winning artworks and what location can we expect to see more of your work emerge from?

These paintings were inspired by time spent in Spain and Latin America, exploring ancient backstreets, taking in colours, sounds, smells and textures. I am fascinated by those crumbling walls, worn surfaces and peeling paintwork that so visibly bear the traces and echoes of past lives and stories. I have tried to convey that sense of the layered histories of these timeworn streets through layering and mark-making, working with mixed media and found and hand-painted collage. I recently completed a large series - Ebb and Flow – that explores the shifting relationship between land, water and light that defines the mysterious atmosphere of East Anglia’s threatened fenlands near my home. I am now working on two small series - one evoking the remote, rugged mountains of Galicia in north west Spain; the other inspired by a particularly haunting Mexican novel.

You work in mixed media, can you tell us about the materials you use and process to create your incredible work?

For me, the physical process of inscribing marks, echoes of the past and glimpsed associations into my artwork reflects the way in which the history and essence of the places that interest me have accumulated over time. It is also a way of exploring and understanding my own response to these spaces and sealing that into the texture of the artwork. Layering and mark-making are intrinsic to that process and to the fabric of the finished pieces. They give a semi-abstract character to the paintings which I hope reflects something of the enigmatic qualities of these places. I work mainly in acrylics, drawing expressively on colour, line, and composition to convey mood and drama. I frequently incorporate fragments of found or hand-painted collage, text and other materials – often gathered or ‘foraged’ at the time from the places that inspire the work. I use a variety brushes, palette knives, rags and drawing materials (especially graphite, charcoal and pastels) and an array of improvised ‘tools’ – twigs, feathers, nails and other objects – to apply paint, draw, scratch and make marks.

What usually inspires you with your work?

My artwork is usually inspired by places with a particular meaning and resonance for me. I am especially drawn to the haunting atmosphere of places marked by the passage of time and change. I try to embed those associations within the visual texture of the work to create a palpable sense of time and place. Time spent living and travelling in Spain and Latin America, and an academic background in Hispanic Studies, inform much of my work (e.g. my Recordando Mexico series). I am also passionate about nature and the environment and exploring wild and isolated spaces – especially forests, mountains and watery places that embody a sense of both constance and fragility amid the passing of time (e.g. my Ancares and Ebb and Flow series). My artwork tries to make visible the layers and marks of time - vestiges of past lives, stories, events and associations we merely glimpse or sense, but which nuance the mood and atmosphere of the place and moment as we experience it.

How did you first find your love for art?

As a child I was fascinated by an exquisite pencil drawing of a nest of birds at the top of the stairs in my grandmother’s house – it had been painted by her brother who was apprenticed to become a bird painter for the local porcelain works. It fascinated and amazed me to realise how such a beautiful image, so real and full of life, could be created from something as simple as a pencil. For as long as I can remember, I have loved drawing, painting and making things – and the magic of making something new and meaningful appear from simple materials continues to amaze and delight me!

Sue Walker

Congratulations on winning the Mayor’s Choice Award Sue! Can you tell us about your award-winning pieces and how you became interested in painting?

I have been painting and drawing for as long as I can remember. I have no formal art qualifications beyond A Level but have enjoyed painting courses and continue to experiment. "Blustery Day" was the result of an exercise to use a more limited palette than normal to indicate atmosphere whereas "After the Storm" relies on the amazing colours of a Mediterranean sunrise. Both these pieces were inspired by locations that I know well and have returned to many times - one in Norfolk and the other is the French Mediterranean coast.

Your winning work was inspired by the Norfolk beaches. What attracts you to your individual pieces?

That’s a difficult question to answer. Some paintings seem to take on a life of their own and paint themselves whereas others are a struggle to resolve. "Blustery Day" was a piece that resolved itself quite easily. "After the Storm" needed more time. My work is often about a strong feeling of place and the experience of immersing myself in the landscape - the weather, light and atmosphere. If I feel I have achieved this I am satisfied with the result.

Are there any exciting new projects you are currently working on that you can share with us?

I am currently experimenting with a looser more abstract approach using a combination of acrylic and collage.

Are there any specific products you use to help you achieve the effect you create?

I have bought a daylight lamp for the dark evenings. I like to use both canvas and board for my work. I give the board several coatings of gesso and sometimes add texture. I use professional quality acrylic with the occasional addition of acrylic ink. I apply acrylic paint with a mixture of brushes, palette knives, bits of mount board and kitchen roll!

Teresa Munn

Congratulations Teresa! Can you tell us where your passion for art stemmed from?

Thank you – I was delighted to be selected for the Cambridge event! I always found joy in making. I love the tactile nature of the clay surface, and the slow, thoughtful process of hand-building. Walking through landscape evokes memories of stories embedded there – both personal memories of people and conversations, and collective memories of past events. I wanted to capture those feelings in clay, using a textured clay surface, where touch as well as sight would release the memory, in the way that we pick up and hold a pebble on a walk.

Can you tell us a about your award-winning pieces submitted for the contest?

‘I’ll Walk’ is made from stained, fired porcelain script and part glazed. It is mounted over a background of acrylic ink and framed. The text is from a Bronte poem and includes the lines 'I'll walk, but not in old heroic traces...I'll walk where my own nature would be leading'. ‘Coracles’ are small ‘poem vessels’ which I write with stained, liquid clay inside a former. Each piece is fired porcelain script. The texts are extracts from the Matthew Arnold poem 'Dover Beach'. The shapes stemmed from thoughts of refugees, who cannot return to the landscapes of their pasts, but whose stories wrap around and travel with them. The pieces are small enough to hold in the hand.

Your intricate clay work is stunning; can you tell us how you became involved in such detailed work and your use of poems in your work?

I love the shapes and shadows cast by 3-dimensional script – the words have a physicality we can hold as well as read. I wished to use my own handwriting to express memories and feelings evoked by walking in landscape. Shadows moving with the light reflect our shifting memories. My process evolved from slip-trailing script onto clay vessels to writing with slip in a way that the piece could be fired and remain as one piece, so text becomes the form. Poetry has the ability, within a few short lines, to transport us to another time and place and was the natural choice for the scripts. I especially like Owen Sheers’ poem ‘There are places that speak, Telling the stories of us and them’

Are there any projects you are currently working on that you can share with us?

I was invited to produce work this year in response to Danebury Iron Age Hillfort, for an exhibition with Hampshire Cultural Trust, entitled ‘Past and Present Footprints’. My current research goes even further back to ancient times, looking at hieroglyphs and symbols. I am also fascinated by where the words and works of contemporary artists will be found in the future, and how those future generations will interpret it. I imagine my scripted pieces washed upon the shore, embedded in rough surfaced clay vessels, perhaps revealing glossy, shell – like interiors.

Thanks everyone!

Feeling inspired?

To find out more about the winning artists and future contests visit: galeria-moderna.com