Hello and welcome to my blog.My name is Becky and I am an artist and teacher living and working in Halifax, West Yorkshire. I thought for my first post I would tell you a little bit more about me and the work I create.
Since I was little I have always had an interest in making things and drawing. Once a week I would visit my Nana’s house and we would spend the afternoon making anything and everything from decoupage, to clothes for my teddy bears, to miniature gardens made from sand, shells and cuttings from the garden! I was forever drawing and making my own toys. I once decided I needed a castle for my My Little Ponies to live in so created one out of toilet paper and sellotape (it was probably hideous but in my mind it was amazing!).
My love of art and making continued throughout school and luckily I appeared to have an aptitude for it! I studied GCSE Art and Design as well as Art Textiles but when choosing my A Levels decided to go down the Fine Art route. I loved creating work with copper and glass and also found a love of painting while studying. My Art teacher once told me while studying A Level that I couldn’t draw so it put me off drawing for many years. I was very lucky to take part in art trips abroad to Florence, Barcelona and New York while I was at school. This inspired my love of travel and exploration that continues to this day!
I struggled when trying to decide which Degree course to choose as I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. In the end I decided to study Fine Art at University of Leeds and then go on to do my teacher training. I remember being confused throughout most of my degree and not really knowing what I was doing. My work developed in a direction that was very different to what I had done previously. I explored the relationship between the mind and body taking scans of my body and placing them behind mirrors. Some of the things were much more conceptual than I have done before and since. I also explored darkroom photography, book making and screen printing which although I didn’t work with much at the time I have definitely gone back to since and wish I had explored more. It was at uni that I also explored working with text and images and the relationship between the two. This is probably the one thing that has always run though my work, as it is something that really interests me (lately I’ve really got into typography). Looking back I think I chose the wrong course. I enjoyed the freedom to explore my own ideas and learning about Art History but I think I would have preferred to learn more skills and explore more pattern and design based material. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
After University I moved back to Cheshire and then up to Preston. I didn’t do much Art. I kept a sketchbook and played around in Photoshop while I struggled to find a job (graduating in 2008 in the middle of a recession is not great!) but I didn’t really put myself out there. In truth I think I had had enough of the Art world from my time at Uni and wanted a break from it all. I focused on teaching instead and after a year working as a teaching assistant went and trained to become an Art teacher at Manchester Met.
I eventually landed a job at a lovely school in Halifax where I still work now and is what brought me back to Yorkshire. I love living in this county. There is some stunning scenery and I love the buildings (I love that they all are made from the same colour stone – its so satisfying!).
This area and the fact I have moved about 10 times in 8 years is where I get my love of and inspiration to draw houses. Architecture is very interesting to me and I love looking at all the details of buildings. Whenever I visit a city I always look up when walking down a street as above the busy shop windows you will usually find some gorgeous architecture. My holiday photos are usually full of photos of buildings!
Being an Art teacher is good in that I spend most of my day being creative but it can have its draw backs. I find that constantly giving students ideas and creating resources can drain away some of my own ideas and desire to make my own Art. But what got me back into making was the chance to take part in the Silent Auction that my school runs as part of our annual Showcase of the Arts. It drove me to make some Art for myself (as apposed to a teaching resource!). I fell in love with creating collages (I think I must have been making them as part of a project) and have been creating them since.
I went to the Cyprus College of Art Summer school for a few weeks a couple of years ago and loved spending my mornings in the studio making collages and drawing (then wandering to the beach in the afternoon!). It was where I first developed my ‘Home Sweet Home’ collection and I feel that I really started to develop my style of illustration.
I have to admit that one of the benefits of being a teacher is the holidays and I have tried to take full advantage of that, trying to squeeze in a trip away whenever possible. I love to travel and my current aim is to visit 30 countries by the time I’m 30. I’m currently up to 25 with a year and a half to go. And I love to photograph my travels. Photography is something that is quickly becoming a real passion of mine. I started teaching it a few years ago and as my knowledge increases so does my desire to do it! I love my Diana mini and have just bought a Polaroid which is great fun! They go on all my trips and help me capture some great memories. It was while in Prague that I visited the Mucha Gallery and fell in love with just about every single piece in there. It inspired me to try my hand at my own Art Nouveau style pieces. I feel that I am constantly learning and developing as an artist and it is the experiences I have and the things I see that really informs my work.
I opened my Etsy shop this year after being fairly successful at a couple of craft fairs and wanting to explore the possibilities that selling on Etsy could offer. I love having the shop. I have found that I am more inspired and am really enjoying having a reason to create new work.