THE HANDWORKERS | Exhibition at Ryedale Folk Museum |North Yorkshire Moors Photographer

The hands of a woman in a blue dress using tools to cut willow for basket making

A celebration of the heritage skills of Ryedale, The Handworkers is now on show at The Ryedale Folk Museum

Rooted in historic handskills handed down through generations, the series documents the people keeping traditional rural skills and handcrafts alive in the 21st century helping to preserve their past and cement their future.

A celebration of the creativity of the region and the preservation of traditional workmanship in a time where mechanised processes have often superseded the heritage skills of generations. Working with traditional materials, methods and crafts, each handworker’s personal touch is embedded in their work, honouring techniques that have been handed down through the ages, often with a strong environmental concern using the materials of the land and the locality. 

A ceramicist who uses clay dug from the land at Kirkham Priory, mixed with plant fibres foraged from the locality along the banks of the River Derwent, handcrafted and fired in a traditional fire pit in her back garden – a technique used since Roman times; a thatcher concerned with preserving the Yorkshire heritage of thatching with straw so that the traditions and skills of wheat straw husbandry are not lost; a blacksmith adapting to modern times with an induction forge while preserving traditional skills with ancient recipes for linseed oil paint for wrought iron gates and railings, hand-forged that will last hundred of years; a basket-maker bringing back to life the design of a nineteenth century handmade laundry basket; juice-makers keeping traditions alive with a hand apple press for Yorkshire orchards and fruiteries; a weaver using a traditional hand loom to create beautiful modern designs for the home; an eco-printer using the land’s resources to make ecologically-sustainable botanical textile prints.

a lady's hands remove leaves and flowers from a bright yellow piece of fabric revealing the colours and shapes they have left behind

The Handworkers honours the craftsmanship and skills of the generations that came before to hand on to those that follow.

The exhibition runs from Monday 20th March through to Sunday 30th April in the gallery space at The Ryedale Folk Museum.

You can see more from the series here as well as watch a short film about each subject.

white woman in blue dress standing outside her workshop with two bent pieces of willow with her willow steamer in background
a white man and woman stand outside a green wooden shed with pink buckets and a sack filled with apples
A white middle aged woman in a pale jumper with a botanical print chiffon scarf and shoulder length grey hair stands with a colander and a pair of scissors beside some pea climber frames in her kitchen garden
white male thatcher with grey hair standing beside a large thatched roof carrying a bundle of reeds with a ladder in background
Blacksmith working at an anvil with glowing red sparks flying off
A young woman in a white t-shirt with dark curly hair standing at a traditional style loom
woman with long purple and dark hair crouched outside her pottery studio mixing wet clay on a screenprinting board as a sieve over a bucket, wearing rubber gloves


Lies A Calm Along The Deep explores my connection to the vast empty space of the seascape as a place of solace and solitude.

I suffer from misophonia, an auditory processing disorder in which layers of noise compete for attention, intruding on my internal monologue. Facing the horizon of the vast empty seascape, and immersion in the enveloping hold of the waves, a stillness is invited in, calming the internal chatter.

Here the sounds are soothing and meditative, calming the cacophony, evoking an inner quiet: a place to ‘just be’, alone with my thoughts until they too drift away into insignificance with the lapping of the waves. The vast is a place where my mind is freed of its claustrophobic constraints to expand into the moment and reconnect with the ‘out there’ beyond the confines of the physical body.

Immersing in the sea allows me to shed the ego of ‘the self’ and to reconnect with something bigger than myself – to find a liminal space where, as Solnit states, “the inside and outside are more intertwined than the usual distinctions allow.” (2017:119).

William Burroughs said that nothing exists unless it is observed. Lies A Calm Along The Deep however challenges this self-centred perspective as humans. The vast out there continues regardless of our gaze. Through immersion in the vast – or the sublime – the metaphorical barriers we construct between ourselves and the beyond, and the illusory frames through which we view the landscape as an object, dissolve and evaporate. Here we reconnect, reposition, recognise our place in the universe: acknowledging the paradox of our insignificance and yet our inextricable interconnectivity.

While we are unable to remain permanently in this state of being – to do so would be to recede from the world as we know it – we carry these experiences within us, in our memories and recollections, fragments layering upon layer, melding with cultural reference points, disintegrating, morphing and dissipating over time, until the pull to the sea calls us again, to quieten the discord and once again invite the stillness in, to be at one with our vast beyond.

Lies A Calm Along The Deep is a multi-media visual song and immersive reflection on my experiences of being in, connecting with, and recollection of the sea.

FRAGMENTS: An exploration of the abstracted nature of memories and associations of the sea

“Fragments tremble at the threshold between wholeness and partialness; the fragment engages the mind in imaginative reconstruction … [they] exist not only at the spatial threshold, but also temporally.” (Bowring 2017: 109)

Fragments is a photographic sculptural book exploring the abstracted nature of memories and associations of the seascape, mapping the time and space of the internal mindscape, unrestricted by geographic boundaries or temporal chronology.

It considers the metamorphic affect of time, memory and nostalgia on our relationship to, and experience of, the seascape.

Using objects scavenged from the strandline, with a recurring motif of rocks – symbolic as fragments of space and time and the paradox of constancy and flux – the series examines notions of abstracted memories and the threshold between the internal sense of the world and the external physicality. The series creates new, fragmented and reconstructed, otherworldly landscapes as a metaphor for the internal mindscape, mapping the transition from durational experience to deep-seated nostalgic associations.

Evoking an essence of remembered and half-recalled experiences and sense of place, abstract and semi-abstract imagery embeds the sea itself through the use of seawater in the process, leaving its imprint on the final image. Exposed negatives, negative photograms and polaroid images are soaked in seawater, documenting a process of distortion and deterioration as a metaphor for the impact of time on memories, peeling away the layers of emulsion, leaving only fragments of the original. The traces remaining in the final image map the conversation with time and the threshold between external experience and internal reconstructed memory.

Punctuating the ethereal quality of the colourful abstract imagery, seaweed developed black and white images of artefacts from the seascape act as totemic signifiers, their alienation from the natural environment underlined through the absence of colour. These solitary still life objects “invested with something of the inner experience” (Townsend 2016: 209) are interspersed with self-portraits incorporating the artefacts, performatively obscuring or revealing the face, symbolically referencing their significance as transitional objects or memory placeholders and placing the self back in the recollected sense of the seascape.

Presented as a sculptural ‘map’, the piece unfolds revealing and obscuring fragmented imagery that continuously shifts as the viewer moves through it, much in the way that both the physical seascape is in constant flux and time folds in on itself within the mind’s eye, creating new touchpoints and an ever-changing temporal space. Creating a transitional space where past, present and future can co-exist, the ‘map’ does not unfold to flatten and reveal the contours of the landscape or enable the viewer to find their way – images are deliberately untitled in their assembled format, without borders, frames, numbered pages or text to orientate the viewer –  but instead enables a glimpse into the evolving mindscape, where it is impossible to ground yourself and where time loses its linear perspective, enabling the viewer to immerse themselves, not in the sea itself, but in the memory of the seascape.

EBB/FLOW: A dialogue with between land and sea

Exploring the thresholds, traces and liminal states of littoral space alongside personal connection to, and place within, the seascape, Ebb/Flow is a handmade book that metaphorically considers the transitions and sense of self associated with the seascape.

Focusing on the dialogue between land and sea and the liminal state of the foreshore as it is reclaimed by the sea and relinquished to the shoreline with the ebb and flow of the tide, the images consider the the sense of timelessness and constancy of the sea, juxtaposed against its state of flux: a discourse on the ‘traigh’(Gaelic for both ebb and beach) – permanence and impermanence, inextricably intertwining this littoral space that is sometimes water, sometimes land, experienced through the layers of human perception. Enduring beyond human observation or presence, unconstrained by, and indifferent to, the manmade construct of time.

Introducing seawater into the development process embeds the sea itself in the images, the salt crystallising on the negatives and leaving its mark in the final image; while seaweed developed images of artefacts collected along the strandline and photographed in the studio signify traces of the shore, devoid of colour, infused and ‘brought back to life’ with seaweed itself – printed onto tracing paper to overlay images of the shoreline itself.

Seawater, seasalt, seaweed and cyanotypes of strandline artefacts are embedded in the fibres of the handmade book cover alongside tactile seaweed imprints.

The layers of memories and knowledge in our subconscious as part of our place identity are signified with maps, nautical charts, tide timetables and polaroids on acetate and tracing paper overlays, illustrating how memories shift and fade and transfer, the indefinitive nature of cartographic and geographic boundaries that shift with the tide, and our perceptual experience.

Inserted into the book is a small concertina pull out examining the threshold of crossing the North York Moors at the point at which the sea can be glimpsed, including pinhole imagery taken between spring and neap tides on the Moors and on the coastline.

The book can be viewed both forwards as Ebb and backwards as Flow, deliberately using the vernacular rather than technical terms, beginning with the lowest ebb of the tide and working towards its highest flow and vice versa.

LIES A CALM ALONG THE DEEP| New exhibition at Dalby Forest, North Yorkshire

An installation of my latest work exploring the vast empty space of the seascape as a place of solace and solitude is on show at Dalby Forest.

Lies A Calm Along The Deep is a multi-media visual installation encompassing stills and moving imagery, soundscape and sculptural photography considering the seascape and the act of immersion as a means of reconnecting with the ‘out there’ beyond the confines of our physical bodies.

An immersive reflection on being in, connecting with, and recollection of the sea, the installation is open to the public in Dalby Forest Courtyard from Thursday 24th November until Wednesday 30th November 10am-4pm.

What is a documentary family photography session really like?|Why a documentary family photo session is the easiest photo session you’ll ever do and captures the real you |A North Yorkshire documentary family photographer takes you behind the scenes.

Ever wondered what a documentary family photography session is really like? Curious about what a documentary family photography session even is? How is a documentary session different from a normal family phoography session? Are you worried that your family isn’t ‘interesting’ enough or you wouldn’t be sparkling enough as a family to make interesting images on a day in the life family photography session in your own home? Or concerned that your home is just too small or too messy or too dark or too ‘not-yet-finished’ to have an in-home session with family photographer?

Well I can not only tell you that every family is interesting enough and special enough just doing the regular stuff you do as a family for amazing documentary-style family photographs – that just being you is enough to capture all the connection and interactions that tell your family story and that no home is too small, too dingy or too cluttered – but I can show you as well! 

This little film will show you behind the scenes on a recent documentary family photography session. Filmed in South London, although I’m now based in Malton, in North Yorkshire, you’ll see washing hanging in the tiny bathroom, kids jumping about on beds, bursting in with nerf guns and piling toys into the bath, rolling about on beds and sofas and making ‘music’. Just all the ordinary stuff families get up to on an average day together. Nothing special. Nothing planned. No poses or awkward grins. Just natural personal personalities, interactions and connections captured on camera as they happen – documentary-style beautiful natural family photos.

You’ll also see me doing what I do – chatting to the people I’m photographing, creeping into bathrooms to capture professional candid photos of children giggling and up to mischief, choosing the interesting angle or composition to preserve the memory. And you’ll see some of the end images that I took during the in-home session and I hope you’ll agree that an in-home documentary family photo session – unscripted and organic – produces gorgeous images that your family will treasure for years to come.

With the hint of spring in the air and summer just over the hill, my books are starting to fill up for family photo sessions – especially for families wanting to take advantage of warmer weather and book an outdoor session. If you’re considering a family photo session this year in Yorkshire to update your family album with natural, relaxed and real photos of you and your family, do get in touch soon to avoid disappointment.

candid portrait of a young girl playing with a puzzle toy with window light on her face North Yorkshire
Two children sucking their thumbs natural family photography North Yorkshire
two children play fighting in their bedroom natural documentary style family photography Yorkshire
mother holding her young daughter who is sucking her thumb natural family portrait Yorkshire

Exploring deep seated memories of landscape with watercolour artist Ione Harrison | North Yorkshire branding photographer & filmmaker

Kirbymoorside watercolour artist portrait in her studio

I first met Ione through the fabulous and inaugural Ryedale Open Studios in 2021 – me newly moved to the area and keen to meet other artists in the area. I fell in love with her stunning paintings over Instagram – a true example fo the power of social media to connect and to reveal art that really speaks to you.

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Coast to Coast | November | North Yorkshire Artist & Photographer

Twelve months ago I had this idea, after a year of challenge, to bring together different perspectives around the globe with a uniting theme of the sea. Starting on 31st December 2020 after what can only be described as a challenging year for everyone, the sea and the horizon was a beacon of hope as we inched into 2021. 2021 by no means brought the return to normal that we’d hoped for and we’re ending the year with yet another new variant on the horizon.

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Coast to Coast | October | North Yorkshire photographic artist

As my project on The Strandline has evolved, I’ve been doing a lot of research into other artists and creatives who are drawn to the sea but also to wild places as well as looking at how our connection to place is informed by our memories and associations with a place. These layers all overlap to give us a unique perspective on places that mean something to us.

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