Sandy spent much of her life growing up near Grange over Sands in the Cumbrian Lake District and after moving around here, there and back again, she moved up the hill to Lancaster.
She feels incredibly lucky that her home has a massive bay window that looks out over the city. This panoramic view induces moments of clarity, inspires her and provides materials with which to create.
Sandy collects found objects, picks up feathers, reclaims artefacts, buys interesting components and searches the beach for driftwood and treasure. Many of these ‘finds’ are discovered in places contained within the view her window presents. Myriad objects are dotted around her home waiting to be used within her artworks, Artwear and jewellery. She uses recycled and recyclable materials and seeks out fair trade components where possible.
The devastation caused by Storm Desmond to so many businesses in Lancaster, the knock on effect this had on other business, individuals and her own business just before Christmas 2015 was shattering and disheartening for so many on varying levels. However one very positive thing that shone though during the aftermath of the floods was the abundance of optimistic and productive community spirit, businesses and individuals pulling together helping one another. It was so heart-warming to see and really gave Sandy a faith in the strength the local community.
Two things came to mind; Firstly that her own business should in even a small way aim to build upon and add to the existing business community and that the artwork she produced reflected the ability of the people of community to rise up above the setbacks Storm Desmond had presented. She endeavoured to work with people firstly from Lancaster to produce a high quality product designed and made in the UK.
The new year rolled forward into spring, a time of rebirth and renewal. The vibrant energy, the productive nest building activity of birds during this season and the obvious metaphor of their ability to fly and rise above obstacles was reminiscent to her of the people of Lancaster. These people too were rebuilding their businesses, fixing their homes and investing in the future.
She aspired to connect herself and others with the positive energy of these birds. She explored ideas based on metamorphosis, merging human form and bird. This flat work did not manifest the relationship she sought to generate, the pieces were too detached from the individuals. A solution came to her, take art off the wall to make it a movable extension of the people. This was the beginning of “The Art of Flying”, a collection of Artwear and artwork featuring full arms length intricate wing expanses inspired by birds living in local habitats.
Just as she started looking for a textile printer, per chance she happened to see that Lancaster printers Standfast and Barracks had received delivery of their new digital fabric printer. They had been very heavily hit by Storm Desmond. Their factory on Caton Road had felt the full brunt of the floods but as spring begun they were getting back on their feet. Standfast and Barracks positively responded to Sandy’s motives to work with local businesses and said they in turn are always keen to support and work with local artists and designers.
Having completed two winged scarf designs of British birds, the magpie and barn owl Sandy started to think about her third design. As Lancaster and the North West was rising up above the setbacks caused by the storm she was reminded of the mythical bird the Phoenix.
As one version of the story goes, the phoenix is a bird with plumage of fire that lives up to 100 years. Near the end of its life the bird settles in to its nest, bursts into flames, and the bird and nest turn to ashes. However from those ashes, a new phoenix rises. The rising of the phoenix is said to symbolize that a person has gone through difficult times, beating life’s challenges and has defeated difficult obstacles.
A perfect bird to symbolise the local community getting back on its feet. Some theories suggested that the myth originated from the bright colours of a flying male pheasant bursting out from the hedgerow and so was born her Pheasant Phoenix. A Pheasant Phoenix rising from the ashes… or in this case the Pheasant Phoenix rising from the floods… a mix of fiery reds and watery blue colours.
Sandy says she wouldn’t be in Wonderland without the appreciation of others of the things she creates and finds it touching and deeply moving when people share their stories and memories, evoked by her artwork. These moments she shares clarifies that her work talks in a universal language that she believes comes from the soul of the world or a collective consciousness.
Here at Heart Gallery we are delighted to be selling Sandy’s elegant, luxurious Artwear pieces which are versatile and stylish. They are the perfect adaptable accessory for your evening wear or day wear. The shape, size and beautiful drape of the fabric means the garment can be worn in myriad ways. Wear attractively around your arms and shoulders in the evening, sophisticatedly wrap it around your neck as a scarf or draw on its soft fabric protect your skin from the sun.
Each design begins with a combination of pen and ink line drawings coloured with water colour washes. With the meticulously use of a drawing tablet, fine brush details are added. Each design is completed by digitally combining the hand rendered elements with layered fragments of digital photography and collage.
Sandy’s Artwear is made from a lightweight, breathable 100% high end Tana lawn cotton fabric, chosen for its luxurious smooth soft un-textured feel. The fine weave of this fabric makes it possible to achieve high definition vibrant prints. Her finished design is digitally printed onto one side of the fabric, the high definition design shows through slightly lighter on the reverse side. The piece is finished with a fine rolled over locked hem using a coordinating coloured thread.
We also stock her greetings cards which are mini versions of her incredible artwork.