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WOMEN | ART | FOOD

As a former Leeds student and resident (and food fanatic) I was honoured to be invited to exhibit some of my illustration work as part of the Leeds Indie Food Festival 2016.

The exhibition, WOMEN | ART | FOOD, is taking place in the Gallery at Munro House in Leeds, celebrating – yep, you guessed it – women, food and art; with a showcase of work from some of the most talented female designers, artists and illustrators in Yorkshire. The requirements were pretty open – any work in any medium so long as it was in some way related to food, however tenuous that may be. I took this as an opportunity to showcase a variety of my passions in illustration, and indeed, in the realm of cuisine.

First up were my hand-pulled screenprints, featuring hand-drawn illustrations. One of which was a mushroom zentangle – an assortment of structured patterns within a confined space – an illustration style I particularly admire and often practice purely for its relaxing, mind-focusing benefits. The other, ‘Fruit Salad’, was screenprinted over random splats of vibrant watercolour to create an intentional juxtaposition of confined lines against a chaotic burst of colour.

In my digital prints I wanted to reflect more ordered design. I chose to represent a selection of my favourite foods as icons – another style I have recently enjoyed trying to master. There’s something inherently rewarding in the challenge of constructing recognisable images purely using geometric shapes, particularly when you succeed! This was then balanced with slightly off-set colour shapes (from a limited and much-considered palette) to bring the foods to life. The ‘A Mad Tea Party’ digital print, directly refers to the chapter in Alice in Wonderland of the same name and interestingly fuses handmade elements, such as the etched teapot and pocket watch, with digitally created components. The composition stemmed from another project that marked the 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland last year, to re-illustrate the book in a way that was more contemporary whilst still capturing its heritage. (See the project here.)

The relationship between handmade and digital is something I have always been fascinated by in our ever-advancing technical world, and even became the subject of my dissertation in my final year at the University of Leeds. As a result, I enjoy experimenting in both mediums and creating hybrids such as the Mad Tea Party print itself.

Last week I was delighted to finally get up to Leeds to see the show for myself! There was an incredible array of work on display, from intricate hand-drawn illustrations to outstandingly detailed woodcuts and beautifully styled food photography. Such an impressive variety of styles and mediums considering the simple subject of ‘food’. Also lovely to see such a mix of professional practicing artists and recent graduates, like myself. The exhibition is running in the Gallery until the 25th May – with only 3 days left to go, I would highly recommend a visit! Check out the official event page here.

For those unfamiliar with the Gallery, the space is very accessible and open for all (not just the pretentious artsy types) – you can even, topically, sit back and observe the show with a delicious coffee and homemade snack as the gallery feeds through from a welcoming cafe.

The event has been such a fantastic opportunity, and I’m honoured to exhibit alongside some of the most creative women in Yorkshire. A big thanks to Ellie for organising and to all the other artists for letting me share the space!

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