Catherine is the third person to receive the annual award, which was set up by Devon Artist Network in memory of Heather Jansch, to recognise the contribution to Devon Open Studios by one artist or venue.
Heather was a renowned sculptor who specialised in sculptures of horses created in driftwood and bronze. Her life-size sculptures are held in collections around the world.
The Award is a sculpture by Heather Jansch – a small bronze horse head which was donated by Heather’s family and will be kept by Catherine for one year before passing on to the next awardee.
The theme of the award varies from year to year to acknowledge the contribution of a variety of artists, including emerging and established, individual and groups, as well as a variety of artforms. This year, the award recognises the artist’s connection with the community.
Catherine uses art to inspire, support and encourage people at vulnerable life moments. She is the founder and director of Significant Seams, an organisation which runs workshops and makes artwork with communities. Inspired by the natural world, Catherine runs creative community workshops working with techniques including sewing, natural dying and flower printing. She works with groups to tackle loneliness, make connections and improve wellbeing.
During Devon Open Studios, Catherine is exhibiting her work with a group of other artists and welcoming visitors to her studio and gardens near Crediton. She will be offering taster activities to visitors including bundle dyeing from plants, sun prints, botanical drawing, and flower pounding. All ages are welcome (weather dependent)
Catherine West said:
“In being awarded this honour, I feel connected to a community of people deeply committed to a creative life. It’s really exciting. I encounter so many incredibly talented people in my practice. We all make art in very individual ways, and the array is inspiring. Artmaking is an important and very human way of communicating. It’s a privilege to share my skills and experience with others, and to hear and support them in sharing theirs. This recognition of my way of being an artist makes me feel very proud. I’m extremely grateful to Heather Jansch’s family for sharing her work in this way, and to Devon Artist Network for connecting creative Devon ever more dynamically.”
Devon Open Studios Co-ordinator Sarah Chapman said:
“We’re delighted to present this beautiful sculpture to Catherine West this year in recognition of her work with the community. Sharing skills with others is an important element of Devon Open Studios. Visitors have the opportunity to learn how to create something in glass, try painting, stitching, drawing and all sorts of different creative techniques which we hope will inspire them to be more creative in the future.”
More than 350 artists are taking part in this year’s Devon Open Studios, the flagship event of Devon Artist Network. Artists will be demonstrating and showcasing their work in creative spaces across the county, including gardens, galleries, sheds, attics, a yurt and a historic mill. Many of the artists have taken their inspiration from the natural world – flora and fauna, coast and countryside. Others have been inspired by difficult topics such as mental health.
Local people and visitors to the county will be able to see art and craft including painting, photography, sculpture, textiles, prints, ceramics and furniture.
Devon Open Studios runs until Sunday 24 September. Information about venues is available on the Devon Open Studios website. Catherine West’s studio is open tomorrow 16 September plus 22 and 23 September.