Shining an artistic light on nature

‘Absolutely amazing!’

That is how MA Creative Practice student, Hannah Alderson, is feeling after her work was selected for a major exhibition.

Hannah and one of our graduates, Lisa Lundqvist, are among the artists taking part in the The Secret Life of Hedgerows display at Danby Lodge National Park Centre.

The pair’s paintings, prints and other works have already been viewed by thousands of visitors and will remain on show until Monday 6 November.

Lisa and Hannah were invited to get involved after exhibition curator Sally-Ann Smith had seen examples of their work at the British Craft Trade Fair, and was impressed.

Hannah, who is on course to complete her degree this year, is exhibiting a mixture of nature-themed collagraph prints and watercolour paintings.

Relishing an incredible opportunity – and course

She said: “My three watercolours are of thistles, which I love as they provide an excellent source of food and shelter for insects and birds along our hedgerows.

“It feels absolutely amazing to have my work exhibited and sold at such a beautiful gallery, surrounded by the stunning North York Moors.”

Reflecting on her course, she added: “The MA has been an incredible experience and I have gained so much confidence in myself, my work and as an artist. I focused mainly on ‘wellbeing through art’, in particular through using clay, and the course has enabled me to explore something that otherwise I’d not have been able to do.”

Artist Lisa Lundqvist with her paintings in The Secret Life of Hedgerows exhibition at Danby Lodge National Park Centre

Lisa, who graduated a couple of years ago, was also hand-picked for the Danby Lodge exhibition. She said: “Sally-Ann felt my organic, semi-abstract art suited the subject matter and she particularly liked the textural qualities I achieved by painting in oil mixed with cold wax medium.

“All of the artists were invited to a study day where we were given a guided tour of the farms, fields and hedgerows in the North York Moors National Park.

“It was exciting meeting the other participants and then seeing the results of all our hard work come to fruition. The differing artistic interpretations, mediums and styles makes for a fascinating and engaging exhibition.”

‘Just rewards’ for talented students

MA Creative Practice Programme Manager, Dr Annabel Smith, has been delighted to watch the progress of both artists.

She said: “This is exactly the kind of opportunity we love to see our students securing before and after graduation.

“It is a testament to Hannah and Lisa’s talent that their works are being featured in a high-profile display, alongside those of seven other skilled artists, like this.

“The exhibition will be seen by so many visitors who can admire both the quality and the scope of the work, which includes ceramics, textiles and print.”

The Secret Life of Hedgerows exhibition is free and can be viewed at Danby Lodge National Park Centre’s Inspired by… gallery.

Inspired to create – new artworks exhibition

Our MA Creative Practice students are preparing to share some impressive new work with the public.

Paintings, sculptures, ceramics, printmaking, textiles and more will go on show when we welcome visitors to our North Yorkshire Open Studios (NYOS) exhibition in June.

Running over two weekends, the event will be a chance for people to view and purchase pieces by a diverse collection of artists. Our current MA Creative Practice students are a diverse group of learners who have enjoyed careers in everything from the armed forces to psychotherapy and teaching.

For some, such as landscape artist Andrew Stratford – who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2021, as he describes at  – taking on the Master’s degree has been a form of rehabilitation.

‘Never too late to embrace creativity’

For others like art psychotherapist Anthea Hendry, who is in her late seventies, it has been a way to really explore her artistic side in later life.

She said: “I was uncertain when I finally made space in my life to apply to do a Creative Practice MA in 2022. Had I left it too late?

“Now, having completed the first few terms, I have no doubts that I made the right decision. It’s never too late to follow a path to a lifelong belief in the power of creativity, to explore what it means to be human.”

Fellow student Melanie Benn, meanwhile, is a ceramicist whose recent creations – inspired by the course – have included paper clay versions of Prototaxites: tree trunk-like, ancient fungi.

The NYOS exhibition’s first weekend takes place on Saturday June 3 and Sunday 4, while the second is on Saturday June 10 and Sunday June 11. Viewing will be available from 10am to 5pm on all days.

A chance to see some outstanding work

Programme manager in MA Creative Practice, Dr Annabel Smith, said: “Our MA students come from all walks of life and are often retiring or looking at switching direction and wanting to build on previous artist practice.

“This degree offers them a great way to change pathways and perhaps launch a new career, or just focus totally on their creative practice.

“The overriding motivation seems to be to grasp the chance of a new start by setting off in a really creative direction.

“The students consistently impress us by the quality of the art they produce, across so many mediums – and we can’t wait for the public to come and see some of their outstanding work at this exhibition.”