All posts by Leslie Tate

A WILLOW ARTIST SPEAKS

Hazel Godfrey at work, Christmas showcase

Interview with willow artist Hazel Godfrey, who says about her work: ” I am inspired by nature and love working with natural materials. I grow willow locally in North Herts and this provides for the mainstay of my weaving. I also use other natural materials such as cane, bark, leaves and found items, and have recently added beeswax to my repertoire – an interesting sculptural material to explore.”

Leslie: Looking back, what’s the story of how you came to be a willow artist? Continue reading A WILLOW ARTIST SPEAKS

INCLUSIVE SHAKESPEARE WITH 1623 THEATRE

Ben Spiller

I interviewed Ben Spiller Artistic director of 1623 Theatre Company who are: ‘marginalised people working creatively for social justice with you and Shakespeare’.  Ben talks about adapting Shakespeare’s works to reflect the experiences of People of Colour, LGBTQIA individuals, people who are disabled as well as people with mental health conditions. Ben’s interview ‘holds up a mirror’ to the remarkable characters Ben works with – and how they challenge negative and restrictive stereotypes.

Leslie: Can you tell us about what you do as Artistic Director of 1623 Theatre Company, please. What have you learned from carrying out this role? Continue reading INCLUSIVE SHAKESPEARE WITH 1623 THEATRE

TELLING THE STORY BEHIND ANTIQUE TEXTILES

I interviewed embroiderer, book artist and printmaker Annwyn Dean about how she uses antique textiles, “… to draw the viewer into the piece to consider the history of the designer, maker and wearer of the textile.” Annwyn‘s exceptional Collagraph-printed books also make the connection, “… between the viewer, myself the artist and the original fabric, so encouraging consideration of the original textile and its history.” Continue reading TELLING THE STORY BEHIND ANTIQUE TEXTILES

A BANK THAT IS ETHICAL, SUSTAINABLE & TRANSPARENT

Neil Sellers

To find out about sustainable banking I talked to Neil Sellers, Head of Credit Risk at Triodos Bank UK. Neil offers his views on how we can change banking in line with the 5th report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and what personal experiences have led him to be a part of Triodos.

Leslie: You work as Credit Lead for Triodos Bank UK. Can you briefly introduce the bank and your job, please? Continue reading A BANK THAT IS ETHICAL, SUSTAINABLE & TRANSPARENT

A SENSE OF PLACE IN ART

Debbie Lyddon, studio shot

I interviewed mixed-media artist Debbie Lyddon who uses all her senses to create artworks informed by memory, close observation and the rhythms of nature. Other themes in Debbie‘s extraordinary work are remoteness, impermanence and the effects of sound, stillness and silence.  As well as cloth, Debbie’s materials include salt, bitumen, wax and varnish – all drawn from her coastal surroundings at Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk. Continue reading A SENSE OF PLACE IN ART

EMMA PURSHOUSE – POETRY SLAMS & REMARKABLE LIVES

Performance poet Emma Purshouse, winner of poetry slams and the Rubery Book Award,  is also a novelist and voice for the working class.  Emma talked to me about her stage shows, her performances for children and her community projects. Emma says about herself: “I love the Black Country, it is part of me and I’m part of it, and therefore it’s always at the heart of the things I write.”

Continue reading EMMA PURSHOUSE – POETRY SLAMS & REMARKABLE LIVES

SLOWSTITCH, TEXTILE SCULPTURES AND PAST LIVES

Maria Walker – Masculinity Femininity. Maria’s artistic explorations of EMBODIMENT – how we experience the world through our bodily senses – have led her to explore the inside of our bodies from synapses to neurons as well as our bodily relationship with the landscape, pain and dreaming.

I interviewed Maria Walker whose stitched work and sculptures tell stories about working class people and the secrets of the human body. The materials she uses can range from embroidering fine silks onto linen napkins, to stitching car tyres with thick rope and copper piping. These process-led techniques, together with academic research, underpin Maria‘s large-scale, abstract sculptural work and her organic looping structures.

Leslie: What’s unusual and original about your stitched work and sculptures, please?

Maria: I’d like to think that all my work is original, as my inspiration comes from my research and how I react the world on a personal level. I have my own artistic language, which I use to create my art and this is like my handwriting. However the truth is, there will be other artists who have similar interests to me, they may have read the same books and may be doing similar things with similar materials, so perhaps nothing is entirely unique. Continue reading SLOWSTITCH, TEXTILE SCULPTURES AND PAST LIVES

IS HISTORICAL FICTION FACTUAL OR SPECULATIVE?

Leslie Tate reading at a Milton Keynes Foodbank Event, photo by Ashra Burnham

When I started Love’s Register, although the book covers 100 years of family relationships, it didn’t occur to me that I was writing a historical novel. So why didn’t I see what I was doing? Partly because I took it for granted that stories in past tense come from memory, and partly because characterisation (together with language) is my starting point. As a Modernist author I’m less driven by story, more interested in individual and group psychology. In fact, my characters often know more about what will happen next than I do. So to keep my creative freedom, I set out to write social history, avoiding known events or famous people. Continue reading IS HISTORICAL FICTION FACTUAL OR SPECULATIVE?