Meet Linda Southwell here at Heart Gallery for Christmas 2018:
As a child Linda had the freedom of growing up on a dairy farm. She was always outside and was very connected to the land and nature: she respected it and never tired of its beauty. Her Mum passed on her knowledge of plants and wildlife to the family, so as an adult Linda finds that experiencing nature makes her feel calm and connected and she wants her work to allow people an opportunity to stop and to contemplate as one does on a walk or in a garden. She identifies heavily with the English romantic poets, such as Wordsworth, who celebrated the English landscape with an almost ‘religious’ awe. We all need to value our environment more.
Linda ‘invents’ her sculptural, floral ceramics from memories of real plants. In developing her own gardens over the years she has a good understanding of plants and their forms. She is always at a National Trust garden and spends a huge amount of time walking round Renishaw Hall’s gardens as it’s only a walk away from her home.
In her studio there is very little ‘equipment’ and every element of her work is made by hand, including the application of each individual petal, which all bear her fingerprints. Her hands are her most important tool and she is in constant contact with the clay. There is a rawness to the unglazed surface that she has really responded to.
Linda used to glaze her work but it obscures some of the intricate details. Glazing was also another step in the process which was risky and often disappointing so to add colour into the clay and therefore not have to worry about another stage makes her more relaxed during the making process.
Her current work focuses on making larger-scale pieces that are complicated and risky to create but when successful create a huge statement in the room.
She loves her garden and through the dark winter months yearns to be outside, these sculptures are a way of bringing the outside in and giving a permanence to otherwise ephemeral natural forms.
Follow Linda Southwell on Instagram and pop in to see her sculptural forms in Heart Gallery soon.