Those of you who follow regularly, will know that our Artist in Residence scheme in Huddersfield, funded through Creative Minds, is thriving, Pauline Gill took her foraged wildlife project away after working with us through January and February, however, March brought us Petra Evison. Petra has been a supporter of the Packhorse Gallery project since its early days so it’s a pleasure to offer her this opportunity
Here’s what Petra has to say, in her own words –
I was brought up doodling. My dad used to always have pens in his pocket and doodle wherever we went. This definitely had a big influence on what I do. I also spent quite a lot of time at his work, looking down microscopes, which might be one of the reasons I love colour and pattern so much. I have dabbled in all kinds of creative process, with photography having been a lifelong hobby. I still remember my first camera, which was older than me, the kind you looked down into to view the image. I have made and sold various different works throughout my adult years, including glass painting, metal jewellery, photography, textiles, collage and mixed media. More recently I have mostly made small ceramic works.
My first interactions with S2R were through accessing their mental health support services 3/4 years ago. I went to various classes including relaxation and Tai chi. It was one of my safe places whilst recovering from a particularly deep bout of poor mental health. I got more involved through the Packhorse Gallery as my art has always been an integral part of my well-being and I love what the gallery represents
I find inspiration in my surroundings, both out in nature and in the built environment. Although I am currently mostly working with ceramics I also have a lot of passion for textiles, mixed media, print and collage. I like to use up or recycle waste product and rubbish wherever possible which is how I developed my love of collage. Many of my mixed media/collage pieces are made from leftovers of other work or the paper underneath to catch the dribbles.
My creativity and my mental health are intrinsically entwined. My allotment is another type of creativity and helps me stay grounded. Having my hands in the soil has helped me through some of the darkest times in my life. When I am not able to create my own work I can still put my hands in the soil and grow plants. For me there is a close connection between this and creating work with clay. Both feel earthy and grounding.
Throughout my life I feel like my mental health has mostly made difficulties and closed doors for me. At the easiest points I’ve simply not fitted in. At the hardest I have pretty much opted out and withdrawn. Almost ten years ago, whilst recovering from an operation I fell into a deep depression and became reluctant to leave the house or socialise. However this turned into a great opportunity when I went to Highfield’s and studied art for the first time since I was at school. Having some excellent teaching, good resources and being in a creative environment really helped me flourish. Two years later I finished my foundation course with many more skills and a real confidence in myself and my work. I suddenly realised I could call myself an artist, which though it can still make me feel uncomfortable at times (as if I am claiming a title I don’t deserve) I always do my best to say with a smile and really own that title
So! What more can I say, Petra has put in to words perfectly, what being involved with S2R, The Packhorse Gallery and Create Space means, all that’s left for me to say, is thank you for getting involved Petra, you indeed are a wonderful artist! And to anyone else reading, if you’d like to know more, check out http://www.s2r.org.uk – thank you