Sarah Burgess Derbyshire, United Kingdom
I taught in further and higher art education for 20+years, exhibited widely in UK and Europe, taught freelance on degree courses and now work with groups and individual students. I have an MA ADD from Manchester School of Art. I live and work near woods and water, involved in environmental woodland management and industrial archaeology. I work with drawing, found objects, print and stitch.
Looking, making, drawing, collecting, thinking and writing all make me feel alive and a fully conscious human being with ideas about the world. I don't want to make work which feels trivial to me, there has to be a meaning, a deeper, broader conversation to be had; an imagining of possibilities.
I trained in embroidery and stitch is often important in my work as a way of making a different type of drawn mark, but print on opaque and semi-transparent paper and fabric surfaces also allow me to create layers of marks and veils of colour. The drawn line using mono-type printing adds an important element of risk. Each mark is unique, never totally predictable and provokes a response allowing me to move forward.
I look for contrast within my design work; differing weights of materials, thickness of thread, areas of dark and light, the placing of drawn marks and lines and the importance of the space between. I usually work in series; there may be multiple elements within a piece of work which indicate time passing or movement using repeated imagery which gradually changes across the sequence. I also frequently investigate a subject using a range of methods across different points of view. This allows me to explore at greater depth and might result in, a collection of print drawings, several stitched collages of paper and fabric, a layered installation hanging and the placing of objects buried in stitch.
My subject matter usually relates to landscape and the environment. Found objects and detritus prompt ideas of other lives and I have worked extensively with ceramic fragments from an old rubbish tip, investigating touch, loss and re-finding. I live a long way from the sea and our fragile coastline but the urgency of our increasingly unpredictable climate is undeniable. The power of water to sculpt the land, washing away earth in one place to reform the sediment where the water slows down is right on my doorstep. Over the last few years I have attempted to find ways of making some of the threats of the climate emergency visible through my work. Risk and disruption are important elements; the risks to the earth’s environment, the disruption to humanity of our failure to act to prevent this crisis and protect vulnerable communities. I try to bring risk into my own work by allowing unpredictable elements to disrupt both in the studio during the making process and within the gallery space.
Teaching is also important to me in adding a different stimulus to my ideas and I find conversations with students during mentoring and tutorials very rewarding, helping me to open up my own ideas.