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With dahlia tubers dripping from their hands
I was on the allotment yesterday, putting the dahlias to bed for the winter and thinking about all that they’d given us through this growing season. It was only a few years ago that we bought our first tubers, but since that point we have gradually acquired and propagated more varieties.
Originally from Central America and Mexico, they give a kind of unabashed exuberance and playfulness to the plot. They’re not exactly subtle in their form, structure and colour and, especially as the days get shorter and other plants slow down, these pops of pom-poms, cactus and starfish shapes are really welcome.
Now that we’ve had our first touches of frost here in the UK, the tender tubers need protecting, otherwise the water-content would freeze and rot over the wet winter. Traditionally, the tubers are dug-up, dried and stored before planting out again next spring, but given the increasing mildness of the temperatures here, we’ve taken to leaving them in the ground in a protective bed of their leaves and stems and layers of straw. Hopefully, come April, they’ll start to shoot back up out of the ground for another year’s show.
I spent a bit of time this summer making quick, rough and ready oil pastel drawings of the flowers on the plants, picked in buckets or displayed in vases around the house. These are some snippets of those.
Yorkshire Artspace Open Studios
Each year we open the doors to our studio (I share a space with my partner, Lianne Mellor) alongside lots of other artists & makers based in Yorkshire Artspace. There are 2 buildings; Persistence Works & Exchange Place. We’re in the latter, on the 5th floor. There are also exhibitions in both buildings, Autumn Almanac in Persistence Works and Celebrating Printmaking in Exchange Place which both feature some work of mine.
When: Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th November
Where: Exchange Place Studios & Persistence Works, Sheffield
More info: On the website
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