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Owler / Holloways and Hideaways

Owler is a hand sewn calico cloak painted with foreshore mud and punctuated with stitched holes plugged with found sheep’s wool. It is approximately 154 cm x 170 cm extended. It was shown at OSR Projects alongside five of my clay smugglers talismans and work by Tom Sewell, Marcia Teusink, Dean Coates, Tracy Hill, and Nastassja Kimensky, as part of Od Arts Festival 2023. Alongside the exhibited work, I collaborated with Simon Lee Dicker on "Something to Hold Onto", where clay talismans inspired by mine were made by local schoolchildren and given to participants on "Holloways and Hideaways", two walks I was commissioned to research and lead over the Od Arts Festival period.

I was nominated for Od Arts Festival by EOP at Eastside Projects, Birmingham. An earlier iteration of the Owler cloak was shown in "On Gossip and the Glamour" curated by Kate Knight at Touchbase, Folkestone, 2022.

Owling was a historical term for the smuggling of sheep or wool, and Owlers were so named because they operated at night. English fleeces were highly prized on the continent but between 1614 and 1825 the export of wool was forbidden. On beaches adjacent to sheep fields , smugglers loading goods at night would wear fleeces: if excise men came, the smugglers crouched down and pretended, in the dark, to be sheep and blend in with the flock. 

The Owlers cloak represents a poor man’s fleece, made from pieces of sheep wool found in fields adjacent to the sea. My photos also include one showing trying to learn from a flock how to look sheepish. 

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