VARC Residency update

I entered this week long residency with some ideas of what I wanted to create, what I wanted to research, and to  certain extent what I wanted to create, but I really had no idea of the journey that the residency would take me on.

Having the time and the space to really focus on my work without any worries, knowing also that my son was with me, taken care of by my mum, and that they were also getting a break from the everyday, in the most beautiful place, really a cream came true. I will be forever thankful for he opportunity.


I started by exploring some of the local area, as I wanted to looking into the history of the folklore of Northumberland, and especially those tales based around the immediate vicinity.

You can see some of the work that I produced here.

But the my own work started to speak to me, more than it ever has in my time practicing, late evenings in the studio, with utter silence, and just my work talking to me. Speaking to me the tales of womanhood, of motherhood, of domesticity, of generations of family of tales and stories, the imaginings passed down through the years, through the centuries. The oral story telling traditions of this part of the world, of all the parts of the world.

And this is what my work has become, more feminine than I could have ever imagined, more motherly, more domestic, I hadn’t stopped to see, I hadn’t stopped before to allow what it really meant.

The paintings and subsequent imprints made from it, each a different version of the same story, folktales and family tales.

I’m still spending time to figure out what all this means for my practice, and where I want to take the work, but right now I feels like the work found its way to where it should be, where it has always been heading. The residency seemed to allow for many threads of my practice – from many years to finally pull together and really become coherent.

With thanks to VARC (Visual Arts in Rural Communities) and The Auxiliary for the opportunity.


Instagram; DIANNE BOWELL (@dianneartist) | Instagram