Tricia Harrison, sculptor and painter

IMG_3008_edited-1When you step into Tricia Harrison’s studio you could be forgiven for thinking you were in gallery instead of her workplace.

It’s not because it’s too tidy (although she is pretty well organised) it’s because the walls and shelves house a fascinating collection of her work in a variety of styles and media from watercolour and ink wash to ceramic sculptures and collage-based urban landscapes.

It seems she is a woman of many talents and she’s not afraid to experiment as she says it is the only way to learn.

“Art is my passion. I’m constantly observing and absorbing,” she says. “I don’t worry about discarding work that disappoints. It’s only a piece of paper or clay.

“I read a lot, watch people in the street, think about conversations I have and consider the gestures people use, the colours they wear and the shadows on their face.”

Tricia, who lives in a beautiful converted barn on the edge of Kirk Langley, has her own purpose-designed light and airy studio, which she says allows her to paint and sculpt in parallel.

She also has room to share her desire to create and she teaches one day a week. The artists signing up for her courses are likely to be getting good value because teaching is one of Tricia’s other skills and was her job for many years.

Unlike many other artists her subject wasn’t art or drama. She was a scientist and qualified as a biochemist at Newcastle University.

“Many people find it strange that a scientist can be artistic but I can’t understand why. I was head of science at a large prep school near Guildford and I never had any time for my art but I used it constantly to explain and display the sciences.”

However when Tricia and her husband moved to Derbyshire in 2005 she found she had time for her art once more and she took up sculpture at Lichfield Art College – a subject she had first studied at evening classes many years before.

“There is an amazing group of very talented people at Lichfield and we inspire each other. I am fascinated by figurative sculpture but have also recently concentrated on portraiture.”

The artist has also been experimenting with Ashraf Hanna professional clay, which can be heated to extremely high temperatures, and she has used it to create figurative sculptures of female torsos, horses heads and more recently dogs.

The fascinating results of her labours adorn the walls of her studio. They appear extremely delicate but Tricia assures me as she hands me a torso to study that they are extremely tough and difficult to break.

“It took me a while to get these right but I was pleased with the way they turned out,” she said. “If I have a good idea I stick to it, even if it is long and demanding. I try not to guess what people might like. It never works. Artwork tells a different story to each person that observes it.”

Tricia will be exhibiting at Ingleby Gallery near Melbourne from June 21 to July 5.

She opened up her studio for the Derbyshire Open Arts event last year but as the event is not being held this year she will be independently opening up her studio 3 Hillside Court, Ashbourne Road, Kirk Langley on September 26 and 27 from 11am-4pm.
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