This issue’s Featured Friend – Sue Brophy

Sue Brophy by her work in the Friends Summer Exhibition 2019

Q: Sue, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for art:
A: I was educated in Thirlmere, Keswick, Penrith and Carlisle and went to Art College in 1960. I chose a four year National Diploma in Design, my subjects were printed and woven textiles. This course included a thorough grounding in observational drawing. On leaving college I lived in Finland where I taught English to a family of 4 children. I absorbed the Finn’s love of design and simple glasswork.

I married in 1966, had 2 sons, worked in a preschool and then for over 20 years, as a teaching auxiliary in paediatric wards of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Gateshead. The teacher and I worked at the bedside, wards and in the classroom. I worked in all sorts of crafts, with sick children (to 16), their parents. A job I loved, of reassurance and encouragement through play.

In my early 50s I became a cutter and polisher in Jane Charles’ Studio Glass, working with industrial machine processes, I sold her work at trade fairs and also made my own hot glass work twice a year. Whilst working for with Jane, I started my own hand painted silks and kiln formed glass jewellery designs selling in the UK Japan and Australia.

Eventually retiring, I found a huge pleasure in drawing of all sorts, in many media – I’ve never thought of drawing as just line – more an expression of ideas. Pastel, lino= drawing with a sharp tool, felting= drawing with wools, printing, especially monoprinting= drawing with inks — a special favourite.

Q: Can you tell us more about the artwork featured on the title page?
A: The pictures in the exhibition are “Dove Crag” and “Fairy Well”, in Harbottle woods, an area walked many times and loved for the geology. They’re worked on coloured paper, with water colour wash as a base, then pastels and pencils. I never use a white base except for printing occasionally.

Q: What are you currently working on/planning to work on?
A: At the moment I’m working on a number of lino cuts of Northumberland, printed in black and white, and larger felt and stitched pieces for an exhibition next year.

Q: Are there any events/exhibitions that you’re excited about?
A: At the moment, Halima Cassell, a ceramicist, has an exhibition in Manchester called “Virtues of Unity”. Geometric designs in unglazed clay – some clays sent to her from all over the world.

And in Edinburgh an exhibition of great interest “Cut and Paste” 400 years of collage!

Q: Who is your favourite artist or favourite art movement?
A: I do not have a favourite artist but find myself more and more drawn to work, of any medium that depicts the seasons and texture of light, uplands and open spaces.

Q: When did you become a Friend of the Hatton Gallery and why? What is your favourite part of being a Friend of the Hatton Gallery?
A: Joining FotH about 10 years ago was a revelation. Really interesting and often challenging lectures and rewarding, helpful practical Saturday schools.