We are thrilled to introduce our first-ever Artist in Residence, Lou Tonkin, a celebrated artist and printmaker from Cornwall.
Often found enjoying walks in the countryside with her dog, Moth, Lou’s inspiration is taken almost exclusively from her local, Cornish environment and she creates captivating artwork which is beloved around the world.
Over the course of the residency, Lou will create a body of work inspired by the sites we care for which will be used in a wide variety of ways to inspire people to see these iconic places in a new light.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
“I’m a printmaker and I work with lino block print. It’s all very traditional, very old-fashioned – old tools and hessian-backed lino that is entirely biodegradable and doesn’t give off toxins when it degrades. Not that I throw them away. They sit in a big stack in the corner of my studio. I think you can’t love our heritage sites and the natural world without caring about your impact on it.”
What inspires you?
“The natural world inspires me but also the elements. So that’s striking environments or details of the natural world, but it could also be the wind that triggers something else in you which is inspiring. I’m from Cornwall, so feel very connected to this landscape. I feel very much like it’s in my blood. I easily connect to the south-westerly wind-blown hawthorn trees. I feel like it’s the same shaping when you’re born here and you grow up here.”
As the first step in her creative process, Lou has begun visiting our collection of ancient monuments and historic places with our Sites Officer, Dick Cole, as her guide.
What are you looking forward to?
“The idea for me is that I will go to these amazing sites… and be able to learn what happened there. The history, the dates, the myths and legends, and that brings a richness to any print idea that I couldn’t possibly have without that background information – it brings a whole new depth. Whether it’s the Hurler’s or a quoit or one of the hillforts, it’s those ancient places which are really exciting to me and a lot of that excitement comes from the elemental as well. When you feel that wind on your face it just inspires you on another level. It’s amazing!”
Our Artist in Residence programme is a brand-new initiative and we are incredibly excited to be collaborating with Lou and to watch her creative process unfold. Watch this space!
Photo credits: Danny North (www.dannynorth.co)