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Creating Boudicca for Art on a Postcard

Creating Boudicca for Art on a Postcard

Creating the "Boudicca" series for the Art on a Postcard International Women's Day 2024 event was a deeply personal journey. My fascination with powerful, historical female figures has long been a driving force in my work, and coincidentally, Boudicca was already a character I was exploring when I was invited to participate in this year's event.

This year, I had the unique opportunity to not only create the four postcards for the charity auction but also participate in a group show titled "The Spirit of Boudica" at the Crypt Gallery in Norwich. This exhibition allowed me to display some of my larger pieces, further exploring the themes of female empowerment and resilience.  

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Inspiration and Process

Boudicca, the indomitable Celtic queen of ancient Britain, has always captivated my imagination. She is celebrated as a national heroine and a symbol of resistance and justice. Her story of leading the Iceni tribe against Roman rule resonates with the themes of female empowerment and resilience that I strive to capture in my art.

I always begin my creative process with extensive research. For "Boudicca," this involved delving into historical texts, illustrations, and artefacts to fully understand her legacy and the cultural context of her time. This research is crucial in ensuring that my representation is both respectful and evocative.

For this series, I utilised my signature method of hand-cut collages to construct the initial composition. Using photographic portraiture, natural elements, and scientific illustrations, I created a complex collage that served as the foundation for the cyanotype negative. The intricate details and layered textures are designed to reflect the multifaceted nature of Boudicca's story. Horses, a significant element in Boudicca's rebellion, were prominently featured, symbolising her strength and leadership.

Once the collage was complete, I prepared the cyanotype by coating handmade paper sheets with light-sensitive chemistry and allowing them to dry in a dark room. I created large-scale negatives, including those for the individual 3-D elements. These negatives were contact printed onto the paper by exposing them to daylight (UV rays). The prints were processed by washing in water to remove any unexposed solution, revealing the iconic Prussian blue colour.

I painstakingly hand-cut the 3-D pieces and incorporated them into the prints, creating multi-layered cyanotypes. Additionally, I incorporated gold leaf into some of the pieces to add a touch of radiance and complexity.

"The Spirit of Boudicca" Group Show

This year's Art on a Postcard event was particularly special, as it included an exhibition at the Norwich Cathedral’s Crypt Gallery, titled "The Spirit of Boudicca." Curated by Lee Sharrock, the exhibition celebrated Boudicca and featured artworks inspired by her legacy. The location was chosen because Boudicca lived in the area, which added historical significance and resonance to the theme. This thematic alignment with my work made the event even more meaningful.

ArtPlugged previewed the show, highlighting curator Lee Sharrock's artist brief: "Depicting women from history or modern-day warrior women who continue the fight for gender equality, independence and freedom, or women who have made a contribution to society in a public way, or in a more personal way on a family or friend level. It’s been so inspiring to see how each artist has interpreted the theme, some in abstract and some in more figurative ways." Read more on ArtPlugged.

I exhibited two larger pieces at the Crypt Gallery. You can view all my works inspired by Boudicca below:

Art on a Postcard Auction 2024

Art on a Postcard is known for its unique format, auctioning postcard-sized artworks to raise funds for The Hepatitis C Trust. This year, the auction also supported Dawn’s New Horizon, a Norwich-based charity helping victims of domestic abuse. My contributions to the auction included four original cyanotypes, all of which were successfully sold, contributing to these important causes.

Prior to the auction, there was an exhibition at The Fitzrovia Gallery in London, held in celebration of International Women’s Day. This setting, celebrating women's achievements and empowerment, resonated deeply with me and complemented the themes of my work. Participating in Art on a Postcard has been a fulfilling experience, not only allowing me to contribute to a charitable cause but also connecting my work with a broader audience. The auction's international reach and its focus on female artists perfectly match my artistic ethos.

This was my third time participating in the Art on a Postcard auction for International Women's Day. I have covered previous events on my blog, see and read about my submissions for 2023.

' Creating "Boudicca" for this event was a testament to the enduring power of historical narratives and their relevance today. It was an honour to bring Boudicca’s spirit to life and to see my work contribute to such a significant cause. '

' In the flames of adversity, a warrior's spirit rises, unyielding and fierce. '
Queen Boudicca

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