Sarah Burgess - 48a

Location: Matlock / Genre: Print / stitched textiles

Artist Statement

My work is influenced both consciously and subconsciously by my environment. I live and work in a wooded valley with a fast flowing stream coming straight off the moors through a series of old ponds, ruined mill workings and waterfalls. My studio looks out over a dense thicket of trees and tangled undergrowth in a silted-up mill pond.

Living in an environment heavily affected by early industrial processes is a constant reminder of our influence on the land and the traces we leave behind; the worn step, the carved graffiti, the residue of our presence.


Working with the valley stream to mitigate the build-up of silt which clogs the ponds heightens my awareness of the power of water to sculpt the land; washing away earth in one place to reform the sediment as an island where the water slows down. I live a long way from the sea but the urgency of our increasingly unpredictable climate is undeniable. Over the last few years I have attempted to find ways of making some of the threats of the climate emergency visible through my work. Risk and disruption are important elements; the risks to the earth’s environment, the disruption to humanity of our failure to act to prevent this crisis and protect vulnerable communities, as well as the risk of allowing unpredictable things to disrupt my work.


Drawing has always been an important part of my work and I use mono type drawing as another way of adding an element of chance. Each mono-type print will vary every time; the temperature, the amount of ink, the pressure of the drawn line, pre-existing marks on the inked surface and the type of paper or fabric will all alter the finished print and add their own character to the story of the print. I work with paper as often as fabric; I enjoy the feeling of commitment when I stitch into paper; the sounds of the needle making the hole and the rasp of the thread against the edges of the hole are very satisfying. I also use semi-transparent materials to build layers of print and stitch creating a sense of depth; building ideas about time, worn surfaces and fleeting shadows.


I travel regularly across the Peak District through both the Dark Peak and the White Peak with their strongly contrasting landscapes. The differing geology of the two landscapes, the forms of hills, the colour of rock, the absence or presence of water and the differing plants on acid and alkaline soils resonates within my sense of design. I look for contrast within my design work; differing weights of materials, thickness of thread, areas of dark and light, the placing of drawn marks and lines and the importance of the space between. I usually work in series; there may be multiple elements within a piece of work which indicate time passing or movement using repeated imagery which gradually changes across the sequence.

Venue Information

Ivy Cottage, Upper Lumsdale

Leaving Matlock on A632 Chesterfield Rd, pass the Duke of Wellington pub on left, continue on and take the first turning on the right into Upper Lumsdale. Park in the layby opposite Highfields School. Ivy Cottage is on the left.

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