ART & GENDER – Leslie Tate

I’m lying on my side in a darkened studio with lights and a camera pointed at my bare back. Christoffer is taking the pictures, directed by Andreas and Dagmara. The studio is in Aarhus, Denmark, I’m naked, and the film, called ‘Landscapes’, puts together close-up images of seven LGBTQI people over 60.

It’s a four-hour shoot, first across my back then tight on my chest, moving to my hand and finally to my upper body and face. While the camera pans through smoke effects and I’m in the picture, the film crew are exclaiming how beautiful it looks. Dagmara calls the session ‘funky’. It’s as if they’re sightseers in a gallery being constantly surprised and astonished by the artwork they see there. Continue reading ART & GENDER – Leslie Tate


Jackie Thomas

I interviewed Jackie Thomas about her  handmade books that tell complex stories about science in pictures.

Jackie says: “Some books are about specific scientists, for example the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. Others are concerned with a particular aspect of science, for example the ‘Discovery of Electricity’. Some aim to take the simplest overview of a complex subject, for instance ‘Arabic Science East to West’, which is a visual narrative of Arabic science in the 8th Century.” Continue reading TRANSFORMING SCIENCE INTO ARTBOOKS


Debby Gies

I interviewed Debby Gies about her memoirs written under the pen name D G Kaye, her book and travel blogs, and her work with online groups.

Debby, who is a prolific author and blogger, says about herself: ‘I’m a nonfiction memoir writer who writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. My intent is to inspire others by sharing my stories about events I encountered, and the lessons that come along with them.

I love to laugh, and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor. When I’m not writing intimate memoirs, you’ll find me writing with humor in some of my other works and blog posts.’ Continue reading WRITING: THE WHOLE TRUTH


Penny Jones – Road sign changed from men to women by adding a triangle of masking tape

In Part Two of her interview, innovative Welsh artist Penny Jones talks about collaborating with visually-impaired people for her ‘feeling voice’ exhibition, as well as working with the ‘Boatshed Artists’ and the group ‘Rhôd’.

In this section, the illustrations include some examples of Penny’s more recent work.

Leslie: Can you describe, please, the idea of your ‘feeling voice’ exhibition. Continue reading AN ARTIST’S JOURNEY, Part 2


I interviewed prolific Welsh artist Penny Jones about her struggles to become a professional artist, her journey from landscape painting to abstraction and her courageous performance art.

In Part One, Penny talks about working and bringing up children while studying to be a full-time artist. She also describes her artistic influences and her ‘Washing’ and ‘Nappies’ performance art.
Continue reading AN ARTIST’S JOURNEY, Part 1


January Gray’s Book Lamp Reading Room

I interviewed book and lifestyle blogger January Gray about her distinctive online reviews, her historical research and her use of meditation and chakras to deal with Graves’ Disease.

Leslie: Can you describe, please, your own approach to your book reviews and to your ‘Lipstick Zombie Beauty and Brains’ blog?

January: I think what makes my blog different from others is I review a large variety of genres. Continue reading BEAUTY, BRAINS AND BOOKS


Zaberjad Iftikhar

Librarian Zaberjad Iftikhar talks to Leslie Tate about her views on UK multi-culturalism. Zaberjad is a young, British-born woman, coming from a Pakistani family living in Burnley, Lancashire. As a librarian, she is widely read with a keen interest in culture, diversity and education. Zaberjad describes her younger self as, ‘split into multiple pieces so that I could fit in’ – but goes on to say how she’s come to feel, with age, ‘it’s OK to be different’.

Leslie: As a British woman with Pakistani parents (and possibly bi-cultural?), can you tell the story of the cultural stereotypes you’ve been subject to? Continue reading IT’S OK TO BE DIFFERENT


Snowdrops – Mandy Burton

In part two of her interview, artist and environmentalist Mandy Burton talks about what she’s learned from working with young people, her writing, and how she’s overcome personal setbacks.

Leslie: What have you learned from your work to engage young people?

Mandy: I do hope to connect with young people through my writing. Engaging young people through community art is tough, you have to please the funders, the managers and users of the venue where the work will be sited, and inspire and teach the group. All whilst keeping to deadlines and within budget. After moving South, I didn’t have the energy to establish myself as an artist here. Continue reading COMMUNITY ART, CARING FOR THE PLANET, Part 2


Mandy Burton teaching children to make Landfill Gulls

Mixed-media artist Mandy Burton specialises in working with environmental themes, using salvaged materials in her commissioned and personal work. I interviewed Mandy in two parts about her assemblage & installations, her creative work with young people, and her graphic story book for young children. Mandy, who was inspired by the early pioneers of Permaculture, has a passionate concern for sustainability and the environment.

In part one of the interview Mandy concentrates on her upbringing and community art projects.

Leslie: Can you tell the story, please, of how you became an environmental artist and what has gone into some of your most representative projects. Continue reading COMMUNITY ART, CARING FOR THE PLANET, Part 1

Author and Poet