While at the Royal Derby Hospital ‘Impressions’ exhibition launch at the end of January I met the lovely and talented Jackie Ward, the artist behind ‘Tree Huggery’. I had heard of Jackie’s wonderful creations previously and so was thrilled to get the opportunity to see meet her and see her work first hand. Jackie very kindly agreed to be featured, here is what she has to tell us …
Please tell us a bit about yourself
Where are you based?
I work from home, which is Brinsley in Nottinghamshire.
Do you run your business full time?
What first inspired you to upcycle?
It was a complete serendipity moment…. I was supposed to be in the Lake District with my husband who was doing a 50 mile fell race (Yes he really does run that far!) but at the very last minute, I decided it was too hot to take our dog, Little Moo, so I stayed at home with her and went to the car boot sale on the village playing field… Whilst there, I stumbled upon some beautiful vintage bus tickets…and being a collager I just had to have them… For a couple of days I didn’t know what to do with them, but my mantra has always been “let the materials speak” so the bus tickets became my “Tickets Please” collection featuring caricatures of people waiting at bus stops.
Did you attend college/university or are you self taught?
I started studying textiles at University, but dropped out when I became more and more interested in found materials, and the requirements of my course felt less and less relevant to me.
Please tell us about your work
What do you create?
I use vintage bus tickets to create caricatures waiting at bus stops (the Tickets Please Collection), old tax discs to create cyclists for the Taxing Rides collection (I like the irony that cyclists are often criticised for being on the road but not paying “road tax” and walkers and runners out of old maps (the Feet and Miles collection).
What methods do you use?
Mainly collage, but I tend to use pastels to create sketchy backgrounds. I’m really fortunate that so many people know how I work, and so I it’s quite common for me to receive envelopes through the post stuffed full of old tax discs – which is lovely!
Which is your most popular creation?
My Taxing Rides cyclists – I’ve seen people looking at them at a gallery launch, and just burst out laughing when they realised that they were made out of tax discs.
Can you tell us about the first piece you created?
The first piece was a woman and her dog created from vintage bus tickets…. The way I create my pieces has gradually evolved, so it’s interesting looking back at how I used to create them.
Are you working on any new lines?
I’m currently working on “Snail Pace” a collection of vintage caravans from old envelopes, which just like tax discs and bus tickets are slowly disappearing from our daily lives. The caravans use the properties of the window envelopes, and just like “snail mail” they don’t travel quickly.
Do your undertake commissions?
Yes, I love it working to create pieces that are really special and include personal references. I’m really pleased to say that there are commissioned pieces are in places as far away as New Zealand and Canada
Other notable achievements?
My work has been shown a few publications including North East Life, Lancashire Life and Great British Life.
Why do you think there has been an increase in the upcycling trend?
I think the recession kick started a lot of people into thinking more creatively about how they could approach things and achieve things without spending lots of money.
Do you have any advice/tips for aspiring artists?
Don’t be afraid to take risks with your work….most of my “break through” moments have come through, what I call “happy accidents”, where the thing that I’ve been trying to achieve, hasn’t quite worked, but I’ve created something quite unexpected, with possibilities for developing further.
Where can your work be seen and purchased?
My work is currently on exhibition as part of a group exhibition “impressions” at Derby City Hospital, and is in several independent galleries across the East Midlands…including Studio 61 in Derbyshire and The Bonnington Gallery in Sutton Bonnington. I also sell through my website www.treehuggery.co.uk and my workshop is open by appointment.