Meet one of our Artists

Lucy Rockliffe is an Artist at organicARTS, she helps facilitate many creative projects we do and has a large hand in running the clay workshop we have on site.

We chatted to Lucy over email during the lock-down period to find out more about her artwork and why she enjoys working with organicARTS.

How did you first become involved with organicARTS?

Lucy: I first became aware of organicARTS over 10 years ago when OA was exhibiting for 9 days of Art Open Studios at West Town Farm. Something chimed for me, the connection between art, creativity and the farm, land and nature. Being a clay enthusiast and finding out from Christine Duff there was clay on the farm, I really wanted to get involved with organicARTS; to find out more about digging up and processing clay and possibly running art workshops connecting to the land. Also the idea of finding new sustainable ways of working with clay and working with natural resources for art and community workshops was very attractive.

What role do you play within the organicARTS community?

Lucy: I began by helping organicARTS converting the main grain barn to a workshop pottery space 2010. That was the year we created ‘1000 cows’  A Field For You with the help of visitors, school groups, volunteers and workers on the farm made from West Town Farm clay which launched the pottery workshop space. With the help of Vodafone ‘ The World of Difference’ grant I helped get the ‘wet’ workshop space up and running with access to a kiln in 2012.

Its been quite a journey for myself with organicARTS developing new ways of working with different groups of people and making that connection with nature and farm. Sculpture and clay work is my main thread in my practice which links to all the workshops I run for different community art groups including organicARTS. Being part of OA and having the use of the pottery workshop has helped me further this practice allowing me to run Raku workshops with groups and running drop-in clay workshops. Raku is one of my passions and I have been making Raku objects for over 25 years. Its a fascinating ceramic process involving quick firing, smoke and transformation in ceramics. 

Why do you enjoy being a part of organicARTS?

Lucy: The value of the health benefits of creativity and connecting to nature I think is very important, and it has been great to first develop the Farm Creative Walks with Deggie and Christine for health and wellbeing.

It’s a privilege to work with so many different groups and with all the OA team and work collaboratively with other artists. I am missing the farm and everyone, and especially the Wednesday soup cooked by the volunteers.

Tell us about your artwork

Lucy: My relationship to making has changed being much more exploratory and playful although I still enjoy hand building sculpture, and pot making. I am learning to work with different natural resources and processes. It has been great working with earth colours found on the farm, learning about willow, leaf printing, weaving with natural materials, responding to the open studio ‘books’ exhibition with paper clay/decay, making bark print artworks, leaf printing,  and more. 

At the moment I am readjusting to lockdown life, working on a website for uploading creative activities for groups I have been working with, gardening and chopping wood, doing all those things I should have got round to years ago, etc. I’m still in my workshop in the garden but much less than I expected. One of my ‘mini’ projects started earlier this year is making very small finger pots from handfuls of clay found on the banks of local devon lanes located with what/three/words app on my walks. I am doing this on my daily coronavirus walks albeit very slowly!  The art work will end up as a ’collection’ echoing museum collections of ancient pots but with 3 words printed into them. 

Lucy is always a joy to work with, she has many practical skills that are a great benefit to the clay workshop and organicARTS. But her creative skills and her talent for working with all people, giving them the skills to achieve beyond sessions run on site, is why we cherish Lucy being a part of our team.

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